Become – Worship – We need worship – Stephen Orr 26/09/21

Passage: John 4:19-26 & Romans 12:1-2

Mark 12:29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling

We need Worship

Is there a danger that we have labelled certain activities “worship” and therefore put worship in a box and that this has stopped us from seeing the splendour and wonder of living lives of true worship?

  • The Reality of Worship

Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘
Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The reality is that we all worship something; within and around us there is a worship war. Satan doesn’t want us to worship God but him; his desire is to distract us, turning our eyes away from God and away from responding to God with worship.

Timothy Keller – “You don’t get to decide to worship. Everyone worships something. The only choice you get is what to worship.”

Everyone has to live for something, and if that something is not God, then we are driven by that thing we live for – by overwork to achieve it, by inordinate fear if it is threatened, deep anger if it is being blocked, and inconsolable despair if it is lost.

So, the novelist David Foster Wallace, not long before his suicide, spoke these words to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College:
“Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship…is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough…Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you…Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is…they’re unconscious. They are default settings.”

Tim Keller, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 34

We all need to ask ourselves, What do you Worship?

Matthew 19 (The Rich Young Man) 16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, “ ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’’” 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

The young name worshipped his wealth. Note that he was able to do the ‘for others’ section of the commandment but sadly, because of his idol of wealth, he couldn’t put God first.

As we go to do anything we should ask ourselves the question, what am I worshipping?

These questions may help:

  • What am I chasing after?
  • What am I we falling down before?
  • Where are my thoughts mostly centred?
  • When things are difficult, do I run to distraction or to prayer and God?
  • When things are going well, do I tell others about what I have done or run to God and thank him?

If what we are doing is not pointing to God and glorifying him are we worshipping the right thing?

To worship is to focus on God. 

Yes, we are to praise God! Yes, we are to thank him for everything he has done for us. Yes, we are to ask him about every part of our lives. But we must not confuse praising God with worshipping God. There is a difference. Praise is about us – our response to what God has done for us. Worship is about God – all adoration, adulation, awe, devotion, homage, honour, reverence, and wonder for who God is and what he has done.  

Vernie Schorr Love, Sprirtual Disciplines for Children

As we seek to live as disciples everything will not fall into place until we have the worship element right.

We are here to be worshippers first and workers only second. We take that convert and immediately make a worker of him. God never meant it to be soon. He meant that a convert should learn to be a worshipper, and after that he can learn to be a worker. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it.

A. W. Tozer

Our Become series has been designed to help us put habits in place that will help us to become more like Jesus. Consider how the habits help us to be worshippers who love God and others.

Have we put worship into a box or allow it to be all of our lives?

For example, we worship God as we:

  • give
  • work
  • use our spiritual gifts
  • are fathers/mothers, husbands/wives, friends

We do this because we realise that God is within us, through the Holy Spirit, there is never a moment we are apart from him, therefore we worship him always.

May we seek to fulfil these verses:

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. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Apply

What have I found interesting? 

What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?

What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage

Why – Stephen Orr 12/08/21

Passage: Hebrew 10:19-25

Background

1 Peter 2 (The Living Stone and a Chosen People)
4 As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Why?

As a child, in our natural inquisitiveness, and innocence we simply wanted know why something happened, or why someone did something.

The why of something is important. 

Sadly, something happens as we grow up: we ask that question less. Either we think we know it all, or sadly we simply don’t care anymore. 

The why of church?
Why are we part of a church family?
Why do we come here?
Why this emphasis in our church family on spiritual habits and the challenge to show the fruit and use the gifts of the spirit?
Knowing the why keeps us focused.
Hebrews 10:19-25 is very helpful as we consider why we meet together.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing

Why we meet together and are the church is ‘because of Jesus’

As you read through Hebrews 10:19-21, consider how each of the points below point us to what Jesus has achieved for us:

  • we are family
  • we are confident in the presence of God

The importance to the people of God of the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle (the tent of God that was in the middle of the Israelite camp). 

Only the high priest could go in – and only once a year, on the day of atonement

The first High Priest was Aaron, Moses’ brother. He was from the tribe of Levi, from which all the priests would come. He made sacrifices for his own sins and the sins of the people (Lev.16:6,11-14). One of his most important roles was to enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat and before it (Lev.16). He would also symbolically place the people’s sins upon a goat and send it into the wilderness (the scapegoat). (Lev.16:20-22).

Through Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross, God did something new: the blood of Jesus means we can be forgiven through faith in him. 

The writer to the Hebrews wants to make it very clear to the people what Jesus achieved – so he continues… 

That curtain that separated the holy presence of God from the people was torn apart from top to bottom.

Mark 15:378 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life. His sacrifice on the cross opened the way, a new and living way, for us to come with confidence into the presence of God.

Jesus is our great high priest (v21) Consider this picture:

“It must have been a comfort for some of the youngsters, as they came of age and first began their priestly duty in the solemn courts of the temple, to have a high priest who have been used to it all and could show them just how to comport themselves in the Divine presence. Thank God, as we come into the lofty dwelling place of God, we have a great Priest to take us by the hand and present us at court, and tell us how to comport ourselves before the Majesty in the heavens.”

David Gooding, ‘An Unshakeable Kingdom

As we read on in Hebrews 10:22 we see that because of Jesus:

  • we can draw near to God
  • how are are to do this:
  1. with true hearts
  2. without guilt
  3. clean bodies

Hebrews 10:23-25

In this final section, we see that because of all of the above:

  • We are changed
  1. to hope in our profession
  2. to spur one another on toward love and good deeds
  3. to encourage one another

Here the writer urges us to meet together.

How does meeting together help us in each of these areas?
If we don’t meet together how will it affect our ability to be a changed people?

As a church, what steps can we take to ensure that during our times of gathering (in large or small groups) we seek to do these three things?

And yet, we wonder: What goes missing when your “church” experience is nothing more than a weekly livestream? For starters, you think less about your fellow members. They don’t come to mind. You don’t bump into them and have the quick conversations that lead to longer conversations over dinner. Beyond that, you remove yourself from the path of encouragement, accountability, and love.

Colin Hansen, Jonathan Leeman, Rediscover Church

In light of all we have considered how does this statement continue to challenge you?

“they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)

Apply

What have I found interesting? 

What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?

What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage