Sermon St Cuthbert’s 6th October 2002, The Evening Service.
What is the Church? A Worshipping Community
Exodus 19:1-6, Ephesians 3:14-21
<< The church gathers for worship so we can help each other to open our eyes to God’s glory. Once we glimpse this glory we cannot help but fall on our knees before him. >>
Welcome to the new evening service.
What is church? What does the Bible tell us that church should be like?
Of course in some ways the church is v different…
Essential things. Make church church.
Tonight aspect – worship.
Appropriate - different style.
What is important about the way we worship together?
(1) What is worship?
Testimony + Sharing
(2) What does it mean to be a worshipping community.
! WHAT IS WORSHIP?
Over the summer – Alps
Friend’s house, the most fantastic scenery.
Huge valley, dropping away. Mountain towering up.
Stream torrent. steep ravine.
Sometimes sun at right angle.
NOT ‘rather well constructed bit of scenery. I must make myself feel amazed’
Worship is about the “wow”
“Make something happen”
Ps 46v10 “Be still and know that I am God”
MOST NATURAL THING IN THE WORLD
Rev 22v17 “The Spirit and the bride say “Come!” …Whoever is thirsty let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Sometimes didn’t notice. Busy with other things.
Eyes weren’t open.
Then I’d remember where I was. Wow!
Worship is the most natural thing in the world.
But we’re often busy.
Distracted / knocked back.
Walk around with our eyes closed.
Church opening our eyes.
! Reading Ephesians 3:14-21
Book of Ephesians letter Paul wrote to a number of churches.
Seems distracted, forgotten what God was really like.
Paul wrote to open their eyes to how amazing God is:-
- Intimate v16 ‘in your inner being’, “dwell in your hearts’
v18-19 “that you may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp ho wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…”
“… and to know this love that surpassed knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.”
When we glimpse God’s glory our lives are changed.
Once we’ve opened our eyes we can’t help but fall on our knees before God.
What might we feel:-
- Holy, Perfect. Scared sorry
- Love, Jesus. Longing, joy, hope
- Powerful, plan. Submission. Lay our lives before him.
Can’t conjure up these feelings on our own.
trying to laugh at a joke before you’ve heard the punch line.
Opening our eyes is the important thing.
Worship is about falling in love with God. Been there all the time but “How could I have not had my eyes open.”
! EXPLAIN TESTIMONY.
something tonight or recently that has opened your eyes to God.
share with the rest of Church.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE CHURCH TO BE A WORSHIPPING COMMUNITY?
If worship is the most natural thing, opening our eyes.
What does that mean for us?
(1) Come expecting our eyes to be opened.
- Confession – Allowing God to remove barriers.
- Songs. remind us of who God is / we speak to God.
- Bible. Not really a rule book. There to open our eyes to who God is.
- Sermon – Not a lecture. if I’m not opening your eyes to God I’m not doing my job properly.
- Communion – meet Jesus together in a very special way.
no point just for the sake of it. But open our eyes.
(2) We should all be helping to open each other’s eyes.
- Way we act one of the main things that opens my eyes to God.
- Things we say What God is doing in our lives.
- Our prayers. When we come into church – pray for the people around you.
(3) Everything we do as the church should be a natural response to God.
- Visiting team. God cares for people who are ill. So should we.
- Mission – because we’re excited about what God has done for us and so we want to share it.
Imagine walking through a crowded street.
Someone looking up into the sky.
Hot air balloon.
What happens – crowd looking up and pointing.