Sunday, May 20, 2018 - The Seriousness of Worship
Pastor Roger Marcos
May 20, 2018
Worship, the highest occupation of His people.
There's a story about a man who, leaving church one Sunday, complained about the music. "I didn't like the hymns you chose today," he said. The pastor simply replied, "That's OK; we weren't singing them for you."
The pastor may have been too blunt, but he made a good point. In our consumer-oriented world, we sometimes think church services are just for us; but we aren't spectators attending a show-we're participants in the greatest and most uplifting enterprise in the universe-worshiping God.
Though we are blessed in doing it, our worship is not for ourselves, but for Him. We are praising God for His power, His glory, His majesty, His wisdom, His holiness, His goodness and His grace.
The late William Temple, archbishop of Canterbury, put it well in his oft-quoted definition of worship: "To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God." (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 8-12-05)
One fine day Jesus has an incredibly deep conversation with a woman beside a well. The conversation starts with talking about water - they are at a well, after all.
Then it ranges through the woman’s own personal moral history before closing with something that is truly profound.
Text: But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:23-24
We find Jesus teaching that to worship God properly, it MUST be in Spirit and in Truth. This passage points to the importance of worshipping God according to His pattern. Such has ALWAYS been the case from Genesis 4, where He accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s, to the exactness of His details for both the tabernacle and the temple. Similarly, in the New Testament we are given clear instructions as to what God wants and expects.
The Lord Commanded His People to:
Sing, Pray, Preach, Partake the Lord Supper, Give as we prosper.
I am firmly convinced that as members of this congregation we understand these things. But what I want to address this morning is the seriousness of worship. I am afraid that when it comes to a proper attitude, many trivialize the worship service so today we want to talk about the seriousness of worship.
1. Who Are We Worshipping? For whom is worship? "For God, of course," comes the answer. "Worship is our response to God's grace. In worship, we give God the praise and honor he deserves. True, we may receive something in worship, we may be edified, but that is a very minor and secondary part of worship. Worship is theocentric."
Worship is different from Prayer and Praise. Here’s the example Lord save my soul “Is Prayer; Lord thank for saving my soul “Is Praise”; Thank you Lord, for what thou Art “Is WORSHIP.” The first mention of worship in the Bible is in
Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder to worship and we will come back to you.
A. What Is the Meaning of Worship?
Worship is: Sacred - a holy act. A way to draw near to God A way to give back to God Deliberate
The primary word for “worship” in the New Testament is from a compound Greek word that means, “To kiss the hand to (toward) one in a token of reverence.” (Thayer)
“To prostrate oneself before someone as an act of reverence, fear or supplication.”
We should be striving for TRUE WORSHIP toward God in which we have both a proper attitude and we are following His pattern. John 4:24 instructs us to do this, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
True Worshipers.There is so much packed into those two sentences. But I want to focus in on one thing - what God expects of our worship. Jesus says that to truly worship God, we have to do it in “spirit” and in “truth”. He said that we’re now in the time when the bar will be set there for truly worshipping God
The word worship like grace and “love” Is indefinable. Means to do reverence or homage to a superior being- so man ought to worship God. Amen!
Notice the two parts to that worship: spirit and truth.
If that’s the standard to measure the quality of our worship, then perhaps it is important that we look at both sides of that equation. It will tell us what true worship looks like. Then we can see how our own worship measures up to the standard Jesus laid out.
Keep in mind that Jesus said, “those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” What we’re talking about here is not an optional thing. We must have both parts in our worship.
So let’s look at these two components.
Worship in Truth
In order to be in true worship we must be in truth. The Bible explicitly states a number of times that God’s Word is truth. Here’s an example in the Old Testament:
The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. - Psalm 119:160
B. We Are Worshipping God. At this point we understand that worship belong to God...and it is our eternal duty, obligation being saved. The song I LOOK INTO YOUR HOLINESS- Chorus: I worship you I worship, the reason I live is to worship you
When we come together do we really take into account why we are here? Do we really consider WHO we are worshipping? Do we know WHY we are worshipping as we do?
We must never forget that we are worshipping God. We are not just worshipping A god among many, but THE God of the universe.
Hebrews 11:6 - Without faith we cannot please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is.
Joel 2:27, “Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.”
He Demands Our Reverence.
What Is Reverence?
“To show respect to a person on the basis of his high status.”
“Profound respect and esteem mingled with fear and affection, as for a holy being or place.” (Webster Revised Unabridged, 1913
Passages that address Reverence - fear, reverence, devotion
Fear of God; the greatest visible evidence of the fear of God is Obedience..Ecc. 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Psalm 89:7 - “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to held in reverence by all those around Him.”
Hebrews 12:28 - We are to serve God with reverence and godly fear.
Revelation 5:9-14 - read this. Notice the respect of those who stood before the throne of God. Note vs. 14, they fell down and worshipped Him.
Considering WHO we are worshipping and WHAT we are doing when we come together it ought to affect our attitude.
Are We As Serious As We Ought to Be?
A. The heart HAS to be behind our worship or it is vain.
- Proper attitude is where worship begins. You can go through the motions and still not be pleasing to God. John 4:24
- Jesus mentioned vain worship in Matthew 15:8-9 - their worship was vain because their heart was far from God which led to their corrupting God’s instructions.
B. He Demands Our Best.
- Jesus Must be first in all We Do - Matthew 6:33
- Malachi 1:6-8 - Israel was condemned for giving God leftovers.
6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord's table may be despised. 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.
It is because of these things that we need to consider our attitude, appearance and habits where worshipping God is concerned. It is my hope that this sermon we have seen the seriousness of worshipping God.
But I urge each of us to honestly ask ourselves if we are taking this occasion to worship God as seriously and with as much reverence as we ought to. Are we truly giving God your best? Think about it.
True Worship Needs Both
Jesus said we must have both spirit and truth in our worship. It’s not optional. When we leave out one or the other, according to Jesus, we are not “true worshippers”. Unbalanced worship doesn’t please God.
We need both spirit and truth in our worship. That’s when we see God’s power and presence manifest among us in a way that’s not weird or nutty.
And that’s the kind of worship God is looking for today.