Today we are continuing our series looking at worship through the lens of grace
- Everyone was made to Worship…
- Our website says… WORSHIP LIFE CALVARY is a community of faith, hope and love under the Lordship of Jesus Christ who desire to know God through His WORD, love God through our WORSHIP and reflect God through our WITNESS.
- Our desire is to be a church who worships the Lord
- By way of introduction, let’s look at some definitions for worship.
WHAT IS WORSHIP?
Most of the teaching that I see and hear about worship focuses on the musical aspect of worship, but worship is so much bigger than what we do at church or at Bible studies. Worship encompasses all of life.
William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1940’s said…
To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.
Graham Kendrick, the founder of March For Jesus said…
Everybody worships. Whether it is a hero, possessions, success, pleasure, a political cause, a carved idol or oneself, the way we live and behave makes evident the things we love and give ourselves to. It is in our very nature to worship, and that inner drive is God-given; the disaster is that as part of a fallen race, we have replaced the object of our worship. To be converted to faith in Jesus Christ is to return to the worship of the true God, and to dethrone all rivals to His authority. The very heart of worship is the giving, not only of our talents and goods, but of our very selves.
There is something of self that is offered in worship.
- In fact, all the words for worship in the Bible are verbs that describe some action on the part of the worshippers.
- Allow me to highlight just a few of them…
HEBREW WORDS FOR PRAISE
- 8416.תְּהִלָּה tehillah (239d); To sing spontaneously from your heart directly to GOD
- 1288.בָּרַךְ barak (138c); To kneel in adoration
- 1984b.הָלַל halal (237d); to be boastful, to praise, to shine, To wildly boast or rave about GOD
- 8426.תּוֹדָה todah (392d); To thank GOD with an attitude of adoration with hands lifted up
GREEK WORDS FOR PRAISE
- 4352. προσκυνέω prŏskunĕō, pros-koo-neh´-o; To turn towards to kiss
- 4576. σέβομαι sĕbŏmai, seb´-om-ahee; To adore, to revere
- 3000. λατρεύω latrĕuō, lat-ryoo´-o; to minister (to God), To serve, to do acts of service demonstrating your allegiance to the Lord
- 2151. εὐσεβέω ĕusĕbĕō, yoo-seb-eh´-o; To act in a pious (reverent or devotional) manner, to show respect to God.
All of these words describe actions that are the overflow of a heart that is in love with God.
- Worship is a full contact sport… not a spectator sport
- Worship is something you attend, it’s something you do
It is from this place of love and adoration that Paul writes…
Romans 12:1–2 (NKJV)
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
As we look at our text tonight we are going to discover four characteristics about living a life of worship…
- Worship reminds us of our need for God
- Worship authenticates our faith
- Worship confronts our desire to conform
- Worship transforms our view of reality
Worship reminds us of our need for God
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by or because of the mercies of God"
- Paul begins by saying… I beseech you… which means to come near.
- This is important to Paul – it’s personal.
- He’s saying come near and listen to me. Let me tell you what it means to live a life of worship to God… it begins with the mercy of God.
- So often we focus on the part of the verse that says… present your bodies as a living sacrifice.
- We love to major on that. It’s about sacrifice. It’s about laying down your lives. Surrendering to God.
This statement by Paul implies 2 realities:
- There was a point in your life that you came to the realization that you needed God’s mercy and that realization brought you to God
- You still need God’s mercy
We forget that our desire to surrender is a direct result of God’s mercy in our lives.
Paul writes to Titus
Titus 3:5–6 (NKJV)
"not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,"
Isn’t that true for you? Isn’t that why you’re here? Because God demonstrated His mercy towards you? Forgave you of your sins? Made you family? Gave you a future and a hope?
1 John 4:19 (NKJV)
"We love Him because He first loved us."
Worship reminds me of my need for God.
Worship authenticates our faith
Vs. 1 - that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Paul says that to present our bodies a living sacrifice is our reasonable service.
- This pertains to being genuine, true to the real and essential nature of something… in other words, worship is the authentic expression of a life that is in love with Jesus.
- A life that is not characterized by worship is not authentically His
There are three living sacrifices mentioned in the Bible…
- Issac (Gen. 22): Issac willingly put himself of the altar and would have died in obedience to God’s will, but the Lord sent a Ram to die in Issac’s place. When Issac got off the altar – he became a living sacrifice.
- Jesus Christ: Jesus willingly surrendered Himself to the cross, died as a sacrifice – and rose again from the dead – thus Jesus is a living sacrifice.
- Believers: We are to willingly present our bodies as a living sacrifice.
What does it mean to present our bodies?
"To approach, to place ourselves in close proximity, to make yourself available to God."
Romans 6:19 (NKJV)
"For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness."
Do you remember when you used to work for the other guy?
- You worked hard to sin. You had no problem sinning. You would stay out all night partying it up if you had to. You didn’t complain.
- Now you work for someone who loves you, who adores you, who has given everything for you, who forgives you, who restores you, who has adopted you into His family and given you a name that is above every other name.
And this is what he says about you…
- You are Holy – special, set apart for God
- Not because of what you do
- But because of what’s been done for you
- Your sins are forgiven, made clean by the blood of the Lamb
- You are acceptable – God sees you as attractive, pleasant, beautiful, satisfying, that you bring joy to God’s heart
- Not because you’re so perfect
- But because Jesus the perfect One lives in You
- When God looks on your life He sees Jesus
- When we live form that place that we are fully His, set apart for Him, acceptable to Him… it brings us to that place of authentic worship from a heart that is genuinely in love with Jesus.
*Worship confronts our desire to conform
"And do not be conformed to this world,
The root of the word for conformed is the same word that we derive the term schematic from.
- Schematic - a template that is used to mass produce printed circuit boards or integrated circuit chips.
The word for world speaks of the age or times in which we live.
- Paul refers to this age that we live in as - this present evil age. This age is characterized by evil and is at odds with God.
- This age seeks to conform us into it's image - to conform to the culture.
- It seeks to fashion or make us fit our dreams and desires into it's ideas, it's values, it's methods for success.
- The world simply wants to imprint it's design on you like a integrated computer chip
But Paul says… do not be conformed to this world
- We represent a different age - the kingdom age where God reigns as King
- I think it's okay that the music of the church sounds different than the music of the world – it should be better.
- I think it's okay that we have our own words and our own language
- I think it's okay that we act differently - that you can tell the difference.
- It's about time that Christians come out of the closet and be salt and light in their homes, on the job and in their communities
- We’ve been so focused on being seeker sensitive that we’re no longer sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit
- Like Lot we’re more concerned about our position in society than we are our position in Christ
- But every time we declare that God is our God, that we are His people… it confronts the desire in us to conform to this world
Worship transforms our view of reality
"but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,"
Transformed is an interesting word
- from the Greek word for transformed we get the word metamorphosis. It's the process that happens by which a larvae is changed into a butterfly.
- Let me ask you a question - when is the last time you've ever witnessed a larvae struggling to become a butterfly?
- How many support groups do you see advertised for larvae who are stuck in their growth process.
Interesting fact about the words for conformed and transformed
- Conforming is a choice – you choose, you make decisions to allow yourself to be molded and shaped by the world
- Transformation is a natural process – it’s something that’s done to you, it’s the result of God’s Spirit at work in your life
- We enter the cocoon a worm and we come out a butterfly
How are we transformed? By the renewing of our mind. How are our minds renewed? By God’s Word…
Psalm 1:2–3 (NKJV)
/"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper."/
Our minds are renewed as we meditate, ponder, think about or declare God’s Word.
- That’s what is implied in the word meditate.
- A transformation takes place and our view of reality changes… we begin to see God as He truly is
- Isaiah said… I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up and He was instantly confronted with reality… He says, Woe is me for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King.
Have you seen the King? Have you seen the King?
- The One who is high and exalted
- The One who has defeated the power of sin and death
- The One who heals the sick and saves the lost
- The One who delivers us out of captivity
- The One who loves us with an everlasting love
- Have you seen the King?
When you see the King…
- You begin to understand the height, the depth, the width the breadth of His love for you
- You begin to see yourself differently
- You begin to see others differently
- Your view of reality changes
- Worship transforms our view of reality
And here’s the benefit…
"Vs. 2 - that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
There’s a show called myth busters that sets out to prove whether or not certain things are true by trying to duplicate the myth first hand…
- Prove - to try to learn the genuineness of something by examination and testing, often through actual use
- You learn to recognize God’s will through actual use… you experience it first hand, you see things from God’s perspective and it makes sense. It’s good, acceptable, perfect.
Warren Wiersbe writes…
True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don't have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship:
For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose -- and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.
- Worship reminds us of our need for God… I come to worship because I need God and I don’t care what the band sounds like
- Worship authenticates our faith… I come to worship because I believe and because I believe I’m going to worship with all that’s in me
- Worship confronts our desire to conform… I come to worship because I don’t care what the world says. I want Jesus
- Worship transforms our view of reality… I come to worship because I’ve seen the King and He is real and living