Faithlife
Faithlife

Worship for Life

Encounter: A Life of Worship for a God of Wonder  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We worship God as the Author and Redeemer of all life.

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

2 fundamental truths about worship:
Everyone worships
Worship lasts forever

Worship is an encounter with God that leaves us changed.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
Remember that song? Is it true?
ILLUST - the value of life
Caleigh’s school thought experiments:
You’re on a boat it will sink unless someone goes overboard - there is a very sick person on board - do you throw him overboard?
You’re hiding from Nazis with others. A baby with you starts crying - if the baby doesn’t stop you’ll all be found. Do you smother the baby?
CIA Approach to Bible study:
Context, Insights about God, Application
Exodus 30:11–16 ESV
The Lord said to Moses, “When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the Lord when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord’s offering. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the Lord’s offering to make atonement for your lives. You shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the Lord, so as to make atonement for your lives.”
Exodus
We worship God as the Author and Redeemer of all life.
‘The foundation of the worship of Israel was redemption. The dwelling-place of the Lord their God was founded on atonement. All the boards of incorruptible wood and precious gold stood upon the redemption price, and the curtains of fine linen, and the veil of matchless workmanship, and the whole structure rested on nothing else but the solid mass of silver which had been paid as the redemption money of the people’
Opening Up Exodus Atonement Money (30:11–16)

‘The foundation of the worship of Israel was redemption. The dwelling-place of the Lord their God was founded on atonement. All the boards of incorruptible wood and precious gold stood upon the redemption price, and the curtains of fine linen, and the veil of matchless workmanship, and the whole structure rested on nothing else but the solid mass of silver which had been paid as the redemption money of the people’

C H Spurgeon

God is the Author of all life.

Genesis 2:7 ESV
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Acts 17:24–25 ESV
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
God is the Author of all life.
In other words, there is no life that God is not intimately involved in it’s creation and care.
That was the truth at the dawn of time and it is true now.
It was true as the people of Israel were beaten as slaves in Egypt.
It was a life that God made that was beaten as a slave in Egypt.
It was a life that God made that was sacrificed to idols by the Canaanites.
It was the breath that God gave that was sucked out of men, women, and children in German concentration camps.
The hands that God made were the hands that were chained as African men, women, and children were forced into slavery at our nation’s beginning and it was the ears that God made through which African-Americans heard and still hear the stupid words of racism.
It is the more than 58 Million groups of cells that God uniquely forms and that have been aborted since the early 70’s.
God started the heartbeat of every child born with a special need.
God is the Author of all life.
This is why the sanctity of life is so serious to God. And this is why the sanctity must be serious to us as well.
‘The foundation of the worship of Israel was redemption. The dwelling-place of the Lord their God was founded on atonement. All the boards of incorruptible wood and precious gold stood upon the redemption price, and the curtains of fine linen, and the veil of matchless workmanship, and the whole structure rested on nothing else but the solid mass of silver which had been paid as the redemption money of the people’
C H Spurgeon

Your life is not your own. (12)

(All life belongs to God)
1 Chronicles 21:1–3 ESV
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?”
1 Chronicles 21:7–8 ESV
But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”
1 Chronicles 21:1–5a ESV
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword.
1 Chron 21:7
1 Chron 21:
1 Chronicles 21:14 ESV
So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell.
1 Chron 21:14
V12 - The reason for the tax was not so God could get rich or fill the heavenly coffers - It was a “ransom” in order to avoid a plague.
According to what we see in 1 Chronicles, the census David commanded was a sin. What could possibly be wrong about counting the people?
It was typical in ANE for kings to take a census and count the people mainly for taxation or military purposes.
It was done to know how much provision or power the king had - it was a matter of pride.
V12 - The reason for the tax was not so God could get rich or fill the heavenly coffers - It was a “ransom” in order to avoid a plague that would be a punishment for pride - for seeking power or provision apart from and only from God.
“Half-shekel” - while we are not sure exactly how much money it was, we know it was not a large amount of money. This shows the tax was mainly symbolic.
“Half-shekel” - while we are not sure exactly how much money it was, we know it was not a large amount of money.
God doesn’t need the money. God doesn’t need to count the people - he knows the hairs on their head - the half-shekel tax was a physical act for the people of Israel to have an encounter with God that would leave them changed from the ways they lived their lives before.

Your life is made for action. (14)

Those numbered were 20yrs and up 
This was typical of a nation to find the strength of its army
Israel did follow this proscription and number themselves - they wrote a book about it - Numbers
God did not make your life so you could be served.
This act of worship came with the expectation of action. 

Your life is not worth more or less than another’s. (15)

ILLUST - I posed a moral dilemma to a coworker once - a car is on fire and a dog and a child are inside. You only have time to save one - which one do you save? I was shocked when he struggled to answer.
In - different sacrifices were offered based on what could be afforded -
That passage showed cost of sin - this shows equality of life
All are equal in worth
All are equal in need
All are equal in redemption
When we attempt to alter the value of a human life, we are attempting to tinker with God’s economy - we don’t set the value - God does. 
Devaluing a human life is the first step toward the destruction of human life. 
Equality of all human life must be displayed among the people of God or it will be displayed nowhere else 
Do you truly believe ALL life is sacred and of equal value?
TEST: would you go to the same lengths to save a person no matter their:
Age
gender
Race
Sexual orientation
Wealth
fame
ILLUST - I posed a moral dilemma to a coworker once - a car is on fire and a dog and a child are inside. You only have time to save one - which one do you save? I was shocked when he struggled to answer.

God is the only Redeemer of life. (12, 15, 16)

The fact they needed atonement revealed there was a problem.
There were not many options for atonement - only one. Money didn’t matter, status didn’t matter, nationality didn’t matter, family background didn’t matter - everyone needed atonement and redemption cost the same.
The only thing that mattered was that they came to God alone for salvation - recognizing the need and the cost of their redemption so they could have life.
These words given to the people of Israel through Moses were meant to lead the people to a knowledge and encounter of God, their need for the life only he can give, and their trust in him as the only Redeemer.
** Listen - This was only a shadow of a reality that was to come later through Jesus.
You are hearing these words today - and you know you need to hear them - because you need to have an encounter with God - Maybe you’ve been running from it, avoiding it, maybe you’ve not even been thinking about it, but now you know you need it.
Hear me:
Yours is a life that God created. Created for a reason. You are not an accident, a freak, a mistake - You are carefully made, truly known, and deeply loved by God.
You need redemption. You were born into a world of sin, with a humanity tainted with sin, and, if you’re honest, you’ve lived a life based on your direction and desires instead of the direction of the One who made you.
The price is too high for you to pay. The price for your rebellion is the same as for everyone and is much higher than the half-shekel - rebellion against an eternal and holy God demands an eternal and holy price - an eternity in separation from God is the price.
Your church attendance can’t pay the price, your religious background can’t pay the price, the good deeds you do will only slightly ease your conscience, but they can never pay the price for your rebellion.
The good news.
The price has been paid. Jesus paid for your life with his life.
The only right response is worship. If this is your first time leave your previous attempts at making your life count and receive Jesus as the Redeemer of your life.
Respond now. Life is not guaranteed. Redemption of your life can be. But it requires a response - not a “I’ll think about it, or I’m not quite ready.” We don’t respond in worship for three reasons: we don’t know, we don’t care, or we fear.
It is because we believe God is the Author and Redeemer of all life that. . .

Remembering life is your act of worship. (16)

We will stand for life at Granger MC not just in words, but in action.
We will stand with, walk with, support, and care for the:
Unborn children
Abused and abandoned children
The marginalized
Widows
Sick and hurting
homeless
God is a God of justice who ACTS on behalf of the marginalized and hurting. We, as the people of God can do no less.
ILLUST - There are 437,000 children in the U.S. who will not sleep tonight in their own bed but find themselves in some out-of-home placement
There are approximately 9,294 children in foster care in Indiana, and many of them are waiting for adoptive families
67% of babies in America diagnosed prenatally with Down Syndrome will never be held by a mother. In Iceland, that statistic is almost 100%.
Every day, 125,000 boys and girls will never hear their mother’s voice on the outside of the womb. That’s nearly a quarter of all pregnancies.
For the Church to sit idly by and either not actively care or simply expect government agencies to do the work of God for people God has created is a SIN OF OMISSION against the Author of Life and fails to mirror the God of justice whom we claim to proclaim.
We will stand for life at Granger MC not just in words, but in action.
We will stand with, walk with, support, and care for the:
Unborn children
Abused and abandoned children
The marginalized
Widows
Sick and hurting
homeless
Believe me, it will cost you - but the price for disobedience is far greater - not just for you, but also for those waiting for justice.
We will seek out and partner with groups and organizations that directly care for . . .
Life Groups are where real faith meets real life. Each LG will have not only a component of time around the gospel and community, but also on mission. Maybe your LG will be called to care for the single moms in your neighborhood, etc.
We don’t do this out of duty or guilt - THIS IS WORSHIP!! It points us and the world back to God
The church today cannot

Conclusion

I was quite struck by a story recently. In this true story, a woman recounted how God had called her and her family to an act of worship that seemed far beyond what she or her family had been prepared for.
She recounts how, through a series of events, the Author of her life had stripped her of her own plans for her life and given her a burden and call to act on behalf of some of the most vulnerable and abused lives she had ever seen when she and her husband were called to foster several children. She talks about her fears of the unknown, of the risks, of the cost. She talks about the struggles and the lack of heroics. She talks about the little she and her family had and the much God made of it.
Later, she and her husband were struck by the fact that God was the Redeemer of all life and there were many who
What struck me the most about the story besides the fact that this was my wife’s story, was the simplicity of the formula of how each next step happened.
God called - and she simply answered. There was no extreme gifting given prior to the call, there was no written promise of personal safety or lack of risk. No years of training prior to the action. This was an act of worship. There was an encounter with God that left her changed and she responded in action.
There was a call by the Author of Life to walk with those needing a redemption of life.
I won’t ask if you will answer, - we don’t have a choice but to worship - instead i’ll simply ask - in what way will you answer?
PRAY
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