Having A Heart Like Jesus In Worship, Part 1
Having a Heart like Jesus in Worship
I don’t like cheap stuff or fake stuff.
Now, I’m not saying that everything I buy has to be the top of the line, but there are certain things that I just won’t allow in my life.
Let me give you some examples:
I don’t like diet drinks…those are just nasty and I’ve been told they’re not good for you (like any soft drink is good for you!).
I don’t like Bibles with bonded leather. If you actually read them more than once, the leather begins to crack and it starts to look cheap.
Without exception I never again eat low-fat salad dressing. I’d rather just have a plate of grass.
But of all the cheap and fake stuff that fills our life, nothing is worse than the cheap counterfeit worship.
I hope you are at a point in your spiritual life where you desire true spiritual worship. I’m not talking about some strange esoteric experience that causes you act weird and I’m not talking about becoming “odd for God.”
I’m talking developing a heart for Jesus in genuine worship. I’m talking about your worship of your Savior being the heartbeat of your life.
If we’re going to have a heart like Jesus, it must start with genuine worship.
A. W. Tozer said, “God is trying to call us back to that for which He created us, to worship Him and to enjoy Him forever.”
The definition of worship
Worship is the human response of love and adoration to a gracious God.
Worship is more than coming to a worship service. You can be here every time the doors open and never worship God. At the same time, you can never step foot in a church and still worship God. That is because worship is not about a place, it is about a person. It is not about a time or a location.
In John 4, Jesus is talking with a woman at the town well he has pretty much told her everything she’s done. She does her best to shift the conversation away from her sexual immorality and she asks Jesus about where the Jews ought to worship: on a mountain or in Jerusalem. Jesus says, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”
He goes on to say…
…the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
Jesus’ point is that the thing that matters most is not the place of worship but the heart of worship. Worship is about yielding yourself completely out of a heart of love to Jesus. Genuine worship that pleases Jesus is that which is in Spirit and in truth.
The motive of worship
In God’s economy, why you do something is more important than what you do. Man looks on the outward appearance of things, God looks at the heart.
He is concerned not just with the what, but with the why?
Why do you worship God? Why do you come to Him?
The highest and best reason to worship God is to bring glory to Him.
To the unbeliever, worship makes no sense. Worship is often viewed by lost people as something they would never do. I’ve heard some atheists say that they would never bow in worship to some authoritarian God who gets His kicks out of seeing His creation bowing and scraping before Him. They would never bow before Him to get Him to do something for them. We’ll they may not bow here, but they will someday bow.
The fact is they misunderstand two things: the nature of God and the nature of worship.
We don’t worship God under force or because of what He might do for us; we worship God because of who He is and because of what He has done for us. He is worthy of our worship because of His character and His conduct.
We don’t worship for what we get out of it. God is not our servant. The elements of worship are not “a cheap formula for selfish gratification.”
We worship God because He is deserving of all praise and glory and honor. Read Revelation 5 and witness the greatest worship service heaven has ever seen.
The 24 elders, the 4 living creatures, all who are in Heavenly realms fall before the throne and worship, and all because He is worthy!! We worship God for one reason: He is worthy!
How important is your motive this morning?
It has been said that “Worshiping God with a wrong motive can be as deadening as worshiping the wrong God with a sincere motive.”
You may have noticed that we have made some small changes to our approach to worship over the past couple of months. Let me explain them and why we did it.
#1. We no longer read a list of announcements from the pulpit or even put them on video.
*Our goal is to us the maximum time available for worship purposes. We don’t want to take one moment away from that focus. We can all read our bulletins, most of us can visit the church website, and the announcements scroll before and after each service on the screens.
#2. We no longer print an order of service in the bulletin.
*We want the attention to be on what the Spirit of the Lord is doing among us and not a prescribed order of activities. Worship is an experience with God, not a checklist of rituals. It is not that an order of service is inherently sinful. Those of us who lead worship have prayerfully planned our worship time, and our goal is to focus on Him not an order of worship.
#3. The choir sometimes comes down to sit in the pews during Robert’s prayer.
*The goal is to be as inconspicuous as possible so that the attention can remain on God and not on us.
The choir doesn’t want to come down at a time when our attention can be more easily diverted. If we are focused on God in our prayer, we will never even notice them.
One of the things many of us need to work on the most during worship is focus. Let me give you an example: As the preacher I can obviously see everyone’s faces. Its funny how many people seem to think, “Well, I’m in a large crowd; he’ll never notice me.” I see everyone. And I can tell you that one of the most challenging things to do as a preacher is to keep everyone’s attention when someone gets up during the message. It can be an adult or it can be a child and everyone will follow that person from their seat to the door, like they have never seen a person walk in their life! Its like “Wow, how do they do that?!” And satan knows what he’s doing too because it will always happen at a time in the sermon that I want people to listen the most.
Let’s do this: if you need to leave the service (and I know it will happen from time to time), do so as quietly and discreetly as possible. If you have children that may have to use the bathroom 18 times during a service, sit toward the back. If you see someone getting up and you are tempted to stare at them the whole time they are walking, stare at me. Do it for me, because when you follow them the whole way, I have to figure out how to get your attention back before you miss the next point.
Having said all that, I can tell you this…the motive of this staff in planning a worship experience is never, ever, ever, to entertain. We are not here to show off or be seen; we are here to worship the Lord. Robert’s and Joy’s desire is not for you to leave thinking that they are great. My desire is not for you to leave thinking that I am great. Matt’s desire is not for you to leave thinking that he is great. Our choir’s desire and the desire of the praise teams, I trust and pray, is not for you to leave thinking they are great. Our great desire is that you leave HBC thinking that Jesus is great. I can assure you that everything that is planned, from start to finish, has the glory of God as our goal.
His glory should be the goal of every person who worships Him.
Let’s consider two other aspects of worship quickly:
The avenues of worship
Real worship is balanced. It involves the mind, the emotions, and the will.
As I hinted to earlier, there are those who would lead you to believe that to truly worship you need some altered state of consciousness. You have to have some almost “out of body” experience. What happens many times in these situations is that the worshipper will worship the experience rather than Jesus. The experiences become like a high from a drug. The person needs something better each time to maintain the high.
The Bible never requires that in worship. While the scripture does talk of being “in the Spirit,” (and that could lead to falling down before the Lord) as far as I can tell the Bible doesn’t require you to flop like a fish or bark like a dog.
In fact, those types of manifestations of behavior in the scripture are typically evidence of demonic influence or possession.
The fact is that we are to worship God with all of ourselves including our mind, emotions, and will.
None of these three should be left out of the worship equation. True worship stimulates my mind to think more highly and more knowledgably about God.
True worship leads my emotions to experience more feelings of awe, wonder, and humility toward God.
True worship leads my will to be more obedient in a desire to bring more glory to God.
Worship is most passionate when it involves all three parts of the worshipper.
The elements of worship
I’ve found the elements of worship to fall into one of four categories:
#1. Preaching- Proclaiming the Word. Making the truth of God known. Everywhere Jesus went, He preached the truth of the Gospel. There is no worship apart from the Gospel. As we’ll discover next week in Part 2, even in individual worship there is the proclamation of God’s truth.
#2. Prayer- As we hear God’s Word, we respond to His Spirit by voicing our heart to Him in prayer. We yield ourselves to Him as we verbalize our love for Him and our willingness to do His will.
#3. Praise- God has given all His children the privilege and command to praise Him. The Bible has so much to say about praise. I could do two sermons on that subject alone, and maybe I will at some point. Just know this morning that it is to be done continually.
Psalm 35:28 say, “Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.”
#4. Service- We serve Him because we love Him. We give because we love Him. We take the Lord’s supper, because we love Him. We baptize because we love Him.