Summary: An Expository Message From Psalm 100 On The Characteristics Of The Worship That Is A Delight To God. The Worship That God Wants. Part 1 of 2
Worship That God Wants - Psalm 100 Part 1
Pastor Larry Sarver
New Life in Christ
1633 SW 34th St. Palm City, FL 34990
Illustration: Early in our marriage I gave my wife a terrific anniversary gift: a rain gauge. At least I thought it was a great gift. Susan, after all, is a farmer’s daughter and keeps close watch on the weather. I envisioned her delight and nostalgia while tracking our back yard precipitation. I congratulated myself on my creativity.
Guess what? Susan was not impressed: "A rain gauge—for our anniversary?!" The rain gauge is now a family joke, a classic example of a gift enjoyed by the giver but not the receiver.
Are we doing the same in worship of God? Are we giving Him what He truly wants?
Citation: Marshall Shelley, Leadership (Spring 1999), p.3
Tonight I want to speak with you about the worship of God. It is very clear from the Bible that worship is very important to God. What is important to God is also important to God’s children-Christians. We all worship God when we gather but do we worship him in the way that he wants? Are we bringing the gift that God’s heart desires?
The Bible reveals that people’s worship of God can be unacceptable and can be misunderstood. For instance in the story of Cain and Able, God rejected Cain’s offering - his sacrifice of worship as unacceptable because it was given in a careless and thoughtless way. Cain brought an halfhearted offering of worship. Abel’s offering of worship was acceptable because he gave his very best, he gave the "fat portions from the firstborn of the flock." (Genesis 4: 3) Later in Leviticus chapter 10 we see that Nadab and Abihu were struck dead by God for offering tainted worship to God. Again in the book of Malachi God rejects the people’s offering of worship. He is in fact deeply offended saying that the people had shown contempt for him by giving him less than their best in worship. Their worship was so offensive to God that God said they were under a curse. Their finances, their crops, their families etc. were all impacted by unacceptable worship! Just a brief survey of the Bible shows us how important worship is to God, especially that we give him worship that is acceptable and that its pleasing, worship that he wants.
Even when people worship and in acceptable and a pleasing manner there are concerns because often those around them have misunderstood their worship. This was the case for King David who danced before the Lord with all his might. His own wife was offended by his worship and God was offended at her. The same thing was true when the women broke the expensive perfume and washed Jesus feet as an act of extravagant worship. Some people present accused her of going overboard and investing too much into worship, but Jesus was pleased with her. These stories show us how easily we can be ignorant of the kind of worship that God wants.
There are many other examples of worship either being unacceptable or misunderstood in the Bible, but these I have given are sufficient I hope to capture our attention and remind us of how important it is to understand true worship and to worship acceptably. At New Life in Christ I want to know that we are giving God the worship that he wants.
Tonight we will look at Psalm 100 which can help us to begin to understand worshipping God. This Psalm tells us, in part, how we are to worship God and why we are to worship God. In other words this Psalm tells us the kind of worship that God wants. As we go through this Psalm I want you to ask yourself, "Do I worship God for the right reasons and in the right way?", "Am I giving God the worship that he wants?"
Before we begin to look at the specifics of this Psalm I would mention that there are many ways we can worship God. We can worship in giving, obeying, serving others, and even in our hearts. The primary emphasis and way of worship in this Psalm and in most of the Bible is verbal worship or praise. The kind of worship that takes place as we gather together in church and sing to God and what should take place as a priority in our daily prayer life. The Bible refers to this verbal worship as "the fruit of our lips." As it says in Hebrews 13:15 "…let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of our lips that confess his name." I say this to remind you that it is not enough to worship God in our hearts or with our deeds alone. God desires, deserves, and demands the fruit of our lips, that is verbal praise. Does this mean that any verbal expression of song or word of praise to God is acceptable and pleasing to God? Is God receiving the worship that he wants just because we verbalized or sung the correct words? No! Worship that God wants must be accompanied with a right attitude and be done for the right reasons. Psalm 100 will tell us the right attitude to worship God with and the reasons we should worship God so that we can give God the worship that he wants and his pleased with.