Faithlife Sermons

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Acts 2:41-47
Stephen Caswell © 2001
God Is Critic
Most people think of the church as a drama, Dr. James Kennedy said, with the minister as the chief actor, God as the prompter, and the laity as the critic.
What is actually the case is that the congregation is the chief actor, the minister is the prompter, and God is the critic.
/What is Worship?/
Some people believe it is a very mystical experience.
Others feel that worship is an emotional experience.
Some people believe that one must jump up and down and become physically involved to worship God.
/Yet, what is the meaning of the word worship?/
The English word */worship/* is a shortened version of the word */worthship./*
/It means to give God what He is worth.
In the Bible this involves reverence and is often represented by the act of one bowing low to the ground or prostrating one's self on the ground.
The worshipper would do this when they presented their offering or sacrifice.
When God appeared to people in the Old Testament they usually fell on their faces before Him.
This is still very appropriate when we worship God.
In the New Testament worship conveys the idea of a priestly service to God.
This is right since all believers are priests.
True worship involves giving God what He is worth.
Here is a description that I found regarding worship.
Definitions Of Worship
The worship of the Church, then, consists of individual, corporate, public, and private service for God which is generated by a reverence for and submission to Him who is totally worthy.
The Westminster Catechism says that /the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
We will look at the subject of worship under three categories.
/Firstly, *Worship Reveals Devotion To God,* Secondly, *Worship Requires A Daily Experience With God,* Thirdly, *Corporate Worship Unites Us In Exaltation To God*/
/Firstly  /    Worship Reveals Devotion To God
The first thing we must realize that true worship is not centered on physical things.
It involves our devotion to the Lord.
True worship takes place when we acknowledge God's greatness and allow Him to have His rightful place in our lives.
This kind of devotion doesn't need a particular place to show its expression.
It requires the right attitude of heart and commitment of the will.
Jesus taught the woman of Samaria this important lesson.
*John 4:19-20, 23-24* /The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.
But Jesus said 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./
In Spirit/
*Not Physical* - The first thing that Jesus emphasized was that true worship /is spiritual not physical/.
Too much attention is placed on physical things for worship.
Many highlight buildings and places, special robes, crosses and censers, circumcision or sprinkling.
They concentrate on what they can see, touch or smell.
The early Church didn't have buildings like we do today.
They met together in the woods or at the riverside.
They met together in homes and sometimes at the temple.
The place wasn't the important thing.
The important thing was that they worshipped in spirit because God is Spirit.
*Philippians 3:2-3* /Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,    /
*Not A Ritual* - By emphasizing the spiritual Christ was denying rituals.
People so easily become obsessed with rituals.
Some make the sign of the cross or say the rosary.
Some people follow a code of rules for their conduct.
Others pray a liturgy so often that they don't need their minds anymore when they pray.
But Jesus said not to worship this way.
He wants worship that is individual, reverent and thoughtful.
God is pleased when we do things differently.
He doesn't want robots that worship Him by remote control.
That kind of worship requires no thought or preparation.
It is cold and lifeless and God hates it.
*Not Impersonal - *True worship is person to person.
The individual is very much involved in true worship.
God doesn't want one or two to worship while the rest watch on as spectators.
He wants us all to be involved.
He wants us to meditate on what is said; To say amen when we agree.
To pray throughout the services.
To sing with our hearts and voices.
Worship in the spirit is very personal.
God hates worship that becomes a spectator event.
In Truth/
*God's Word Is Final -* The second element of worship is truth.
We must worship God according to the truth.
He is not pleased if we worship Him in the wrong way.
Nadab and Abihu lost their lives for not reverencing God when they served in the tabernacle.
God has revealed Himself to us through the word.
When Christians don't follow His will for exercising spiritual gifts God is displeased.
He has ordained that things be done decently and in order.
The Lord is not pleased when we worship Him differently to the manner He has prescribed.
*God Hates Pretense - *This means that the character of true worship must be genuine and without pretense.
God hates insincere worship.
When we sing praises to God do we really mean them.
*Mark 7:6-7*/ Jesus answered and said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me./ Vain worship is giving lip service only to God.
God has called us to serve Him and when we don't our worship is vain.
/When we stand up and sing take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee, do we mean it?
Do we follow through with our commitment?
Do we use all that we have for God's service?
Or do we forget about it after we step outside the Church building?/
God hates pretense.
He wants us to worship Him in truth.
God knows if our commitment to Him is strong or weak.
If God is worthy of our worship do we honor Him with our gifts and offerings.
God hates it when we give Him the leftovers.
*Malachi 1:7-11* /You offer defiled food on My altar.
But say, In what way have we defiled You?
By saying, The table of the Lord is contemptible.
And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil?
And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil?
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