Summary: God more concerned with how we worship outside the sanctuary than we are.
Worship is a Verb
Rev. Brian Bill
There are a lot of hot topics to choose from today. Last week we focused on “Lessons from a Lockdown” as a result of what happened at PTHS and this week Dwight Township High School was evacuated because of a bomb scare. A day later there was a serious school bus accident in our county. These incidents all involved students and parents who attend PBC. The threat of violence and tragedy is very real in small-town America. Immigration, Iraq, the environment and the upcoming election are hot topics in our culture today. And with the anniversary of 9/11 in just two days, our country will once again be on high alert.
In the church today, there may be no topic hotter than worship. Some churches break out into worship wars while others try to avoid the topic altogether. I want to propose to you that our worship of God is of supreme importance because worship matters to the Almighty. We know from John 4:23 that the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. If that’s the kind of people He is looking for, then that’s who we better be, right?
My aim in this series is to not only help us understand what worship is all about but for us to be all about worship. If in the process I stir you up a little bit, that’s fine. If we’re all stretched a bit, that’s great. If I make you mad, I think I can handle it…though that remains to be seen. It is my prayer however; that we don’t allow what is so important to God to divide God’s people. If that were to happen, Satan would have the victory.
Let’s just put it out on the table and admit that we all have some pretty strong preferences when it comes to how we praise God. We’re going to talk more about this next week in a message called, “The Place of Music in Worship” and in two weeks our topic will be “The Real Worship Wars.” I am so impressed with how this church has always responded to biblical teaching and so I’m going to ask you to listen attentively, to study the Scriptures yourself, and then to ultimately ask yourself this question: Am I worshipping God with all that I have in response to all that He is?
--> Skit. [Transition from Jessica by taking piece of wood from her hand]
This skit reminds me of what Abraham said to his servants in Genesis 22:5 as he and his son Isaac made their way to the mountain where he was asked to make the ultimate sacrifice. This is the first mention of the word “worship” in the Bible: “We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Right from the very beginning, worship is connected with obedience to God and the offering of a life to Him.
Our text for today is just one verse. Let me make two preliminary comments. First, it is very popular and well-known. Because of that you may be tempted to say, “I know that verse” and just check out. Second, while this verse is popular it is extremely profound. Because of that I want us to look at it phrase-by-phrase. Romans 12:1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” I see five ways to worship from this verse.
1. Allow your behaviors to flow from your beliefs. Whenever you see the word “therefore” in the Bible you should always ask what it’s there for. When we come to chapter 12 of Romans, Paul is making a shift from doctrine to duty, from creed to conduct, from principles to practice, from the indicative to the imperative and from beliefs to behavior. We spent many months roaming through the first eight chapters of Romans. While the study was good we must not simply embrace it. As one pastor put it, “the truth we believe must at some point embrace us.” Have you heard people say that it doesn’t really matter what you believe? It does matter because what we believe ultimately determines how we behave.
Paul follows a similar pattern in the books of Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians when he establishes doctrine in the first part of the letter and then moves to application in the second half. Theology is never meant to be cold and lifeless. It must always have a practical application. It’s as if he’s saying, “Based on everything that I’ve just said, this is what you now need to put into practice.” Incidentally, the first two letters of “doctrine” form the word “do.”