Summary: Worship is the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional response to who God is and what God does. God is the focus of worship.
Worship: What A Way To Live!
Acts 17:16 – 23
Last week we looked at Discipleship. It was defined as the lifelong process of learning and following Jesus, going where He would go, doing what He would do, and saying what He would say. How did you do this past week?
Where did you go that everybody else ignored, but you knew Jesus would go? What act of love, extension of mercy, offering of forgiveness, lavishing of grace, came from you this past week? After all, that’s what Jesus would do.
How was your speech, did you speak peace to the storms, set demons to flight, brought healing to a hurting co-worker, spoke to a crying soul this past week? Jesus spoke to those issues and more. The challenge is the same for this coming week, live as a disciple; it is the way to live.
Now, I would like to tackle another subject again. And that is the subject of worship. I have preached and taught on it before so consider this a refresher if you will, a reminder, a compass, a thermometer to check your worship temperature.
Don’t tune me ought because you believe you know it or are regularly practicing it, but anticipate what the Holy Spirit is prepared to speak to you today afresh.
Worship is the furnace of the spiritual life. Many of our fore parents never threw in the towel when the going got tough. Why? Because many of them had what we don’t have, a worshiping lifestyle.
Why address worship when so many churches and Christians seem to be flying off the charts with praise and worship? Because I believe today that for many people worship is still a distant concept, but also it is foundational to the Christian’s life.
Listen; let me connect last week with this week. You can’t be a follower of Jesus Christ (discipleship) without developing a lifestyle of worship.
You have heard in the news of parents who are so engrossed in what they are doing from trying to get to work on time to unloading a car full of groceries only to discover that they left something behind – the child in the car seat.
And such are some of us, we are so engrossed in what we are doing from running hear to running there only to discover that we have left something behind --- the worship of God in the car seat.
After attending church one Sunday morning, a little boy knelt at his bedside that night and prayed, "Dear God, we had a good worship service at church today--but I wish you had been there!"
Let me spell out for you a definition of worship and then let’s move into the text for the morning. I have defined worship to be the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional response to who God is and what God does. God is the focus of worship.
Worship is the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional response to who God is and what God does. God is the focus of worship.
I want to first talk about the People of Worship, then the Choice to Worship then I will conclude with the God of Worship.
I. The People of Worship
16. Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols;
22. Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;
23. "for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to the unknown God.
Paul’s issue wasn’t that these Athenians worshiped but what and to whom they were worshipping. And he related their worship to being religious or superstitious. Paul was irritated and angry because of all the idols he saw. The writer of this history said that the city was given over to idols. That is, it was overrun with idols everywhere.
He connected their worship with religion and not relationship (verse 22). Did the Scripture speak? You can worship religiously and not relationally. That is, they were doing what they were doing not from the advantage point of relating to God but to avoid punishment or not to missing any blessings.
That’s why they had all of those idols --- they either didn’t want to make a god mad or they didn’t want to miss out on a blessing that might be theirs.
Remember, religion is for people in search of God. These Greeks had all these idols and altars, up in search of a god because they didn’t know that there was one God over all.
Not only did Paul connect their worship with religion, but he also connected it with ignorance. Look at verse 23 again…