What on Earth are we Here for? Worship!
As we have looked at the reasons for why we are here on earth, we have seen very clearly that we are here to give a full testimony to the power and grace of God. We have seen that we are here to be stewards of Gods gifts for the purpose of making the Kingdom of God known. And as Jason Shared last week – we are here to be Disciples and disciple makers of the Lord Jesus. So, as we continue today in this series asking the question “What on Earth Are we Here for?” – we are going to see that we are here to worship.
Worship. That is what we are here for.
So let me ask you a question – what if our ideas, or our beliefs about what true biblical worship is; is only partly correct?
We need to get this:
You and I have a Father in heaven who has done all that was ever needed to not only stand before us face to face, but to do so much more and to penetrate our very hearts so that He and He alone could be our King, our Lord, and our Savior.
And because He has done these things, He demands our worship to build the relationship with Him.
Hear what Paul told the church in Corinth, and at Pleasant Hill, about true worship when he said
“For Christs love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” ().
So, I ask again - what if our understanding of worship – is not what the Bible teaches us about worship?
Let me share a few events with you from my personal past so that you can see my concern about our understanding of what True Biblical Worship is.
*I once was invited to be the guest speaker at a church service – and a man who has pastored for 30 years, a man I respect, stood before the congregation and said to them “leave all your worries and all your troubles “out there” (pointing outside) and come in, and worship.
*And time and again I have heard pastors and church leaders speak of the time of singing as the “time of worship” but never hear of worship spoken about any other time.
*I once taught Bible classes at the local Christian school, and I asked the 9th thru 12th grades – how many of you when you go to church on Sunday feel like you have messed up to many times to be able to worship? Almost every hand went up. (is that not guilt and condemnation that prevents true worship?).
*And the most troubling, and most common, of all my personal experiences is the many times that I have had discussions with people who haven’t been to a Sunday service for a period of time, and when I ask them if there is a particular reason for their absence, they something that goes kinda like this:
“Pastor, I can’t go to church right now because I have some things going on. I have some issues in my life that I need to work out, and some problems that I need to attend to. And after that – when things are better – I will try and make it to church then. . . “ In other words – my life is to messy to be in worship right now.
So to address the real purpose or the real meaning of what Biblical worship is, I am going to use several passages of Scripture and we will not have time to turn to all of them – so I ask you to take the handout today, and use it in your study time this week and see that Biblical worship is much more than what many of us believe it to be.
Because our worship, or our lack of worship, tells us and the world, what it is that we really think about God.
Open your Bibles if you will to Genesis chapter 22.
As you turn there, I want to share with you the definition of worship.
Merriam Webster defines worship as:
“An act of paying reverence or honor to a Divine being or supernatural power.”
“To express reverence, or admiration, or devotion to.”
In other words, worship is the act of coming before an authority or higher power and acknowledging who, or what they are, by presenting your stuff or yourself before them. And in the Christian faith, that One Higher power is God. Yahweh. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh who paid the penalty for our sins and now reigns at the right hand of the Father in heaven, and in our hearts by way of the Holy Spirit.
Would you agree with that?
Listen carefully and hear and see what I did not hear for the first 42 years of my life, with 10 of them as a student of God’s Word.
You know the event. Abraham is an old man. He has his son Isaac and he is on his way to sacrifice him as a burnt offering to the Lord.
For 3 days and 40 miles Abraham has played it over and over in his mind that his son, the one he loves, is getting ever closer to being killed, dissected, arranged on the altar, and sacrificed!
And in v 5 Abraham tells his servant “Stay here with the donkey; because me and the boy are going over there, in those mountains, and we are going to wordship God!
I remember the day I was in my office and those words hit me in my heart.
And I remember that as I began to cry, sitting at my desk, asking the Lord to help me understand what I had just read, and I heard the Lord speak to me and take me to Job chapter 1.
Turn in your Bibles to Job Chapter 1 with me.
You know the event.
The devil has been wandering around the earth and he tells God “You know Your servant Job is only faithful because You gave him all his stuff.”
So, God tells the devil, “You can do anything you want to all that Job has” and we learn in the following versus that a servant comes and tells Job “All of your oxen and all of your donkeys were taken by the Sabeans and all your servants were killed.”
While Job is listening to this man another walks in and says, “The fire of God has fallen from the sky and all of your sheep and all of your servants were burned up.” And while he is still speaking, another comes in and tells Job that “The Chaldeans have come and stolen all of your camels and killed your servants. And still another walks in and says to Job, “Job, a great wind has blown down your oldest sons house and every one of your 10 children are dead!”
Job has lost 10 kids – 7000 sheep – 3000 camels – 1000 ox – 500 donkeys – and many, many, servants.
And vs 20 tells us - Job fell to the ground in Worship.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Do you hear what has taken place in the life of Abraham and Job?
And do you see where we find them?
Now, I believe that there are people who will hear this message and they will console themselves and remain in their excuses of being separated from worship, or avoiding worshipping the Lord, because they look at the life of Job, or the life of Abraham, and they say “Preacher, you don’t understand. Job didn’t do anything wrong! Abraham didn’t fail like I have failed! And so, I have to get myself and my act together before I can come to worship or be in worship.
Well, let’s look at David’s life in 2 Samuel chapter 12. You know the event – David has slept with Bathsheba and murdered her husband to protect himself when she became pregnant. And in vs 14 we read where the prophet Nathan delivers God’s judgement
14Nevertheless, because by this deed you have treated the LORD with utter contempt,b the son born to you will surely die.”
The child soon dies – because of David’s ill doings – but look at what happens in vs 20
“Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped.”
Let me ask with great concern - how do we who remove ourselves from worship, because of our failures, justify ourselves now?
Now as I pondered these things I got to thinking about the people of the New Testament; Because I want to justify my feelings for keeping from worship when I fail. And I tell myself that the Old Testament men don’t matter – not because I believe that – but because I find that I need for my excuses / my feelings to be valid.
And since you and I are an awful lot alike – I wondered what did the people did that met Jesus face to face? How did they approach Him, and under what circumstances?
Let me tell you about the Greek word Proskuneo.
The word Pros means to “move towards” or to “interface with”; the literal meaning is “to move towards a goal or destination.”
The word Kon-eh means to “fall to the ground prostate, to kiss the ground before a superior in worship.”
So this word means to worship or to revere, or to pay homage to a greater authority by bowing down prostate.
And this is what it looks like:
(Get down on knees, put forehead on ground reaching outward)
In the King James the word Proskuneo is translated “worshipped.”
In the NIV the word is translated “Knelt”.
So knowing what we know - I want you to see what True Biblical worship looks like by seeing how those in Scripture come to Jesus.
Turn with me to Matthew Chapter 9.
In v 18 we learn of a ruler; a man of high position and stature in his community. In other words, he is a somebody and his reputation is on the line - and look at what he does. Look at where we find him when his life gets hard.
He kneels down, he worships, Jesus and he pleads with Jesus. “My daughter is dying. She is dead. Come and touch her because I know you will give her life!
This man of position pleads with all his heart – my child, the one I love, is lost in darkness – she has no life – please come and touch her!
He is weeping tears of heart water and He is worshipping Jesus by asking Him to come and do something that no one else can do for him!
We must understand this in light of what worship – True Biblical worship really is –
Jarius worships Jesus in the darkest moments of his life! When his heart is broken and he is falling apart; he worships Jesus! And he doesn’t who is watching!
Now look at and v 47. You know the event.
This woman hasn’t known the kind touch of another human being for much of her life! For 12 years she has been bleeding and she has spent all that she has on doctors and potions.
She has nothing left! But the Jewish Law says that if she touches anyone then she can be stoned to death, and the books of the Jewish leaders suggest that this woman should “go out and sit on a rock until she is dead.”
But she finds hope in Jesus Christ and breaks all the rules to simply touch the hem of His garment. And when Jesus wants to know who touched Him, she falls at His feet trembling.
Her life is a mess and she is found in a position of worship! Her problems are greater than most can even imagine – and yet, here she is. . . . at the feet of Jesus!
In 14 we find a father comes to Jesus and KNEELS, - only KNEELS – before Jesus because his son is demon possessed. – Get this word picture cause we are going somewhere with this –
This father’s life is a mess and his own son is full of demons, and we are told of the seizures, and the need to be diligent because the boy is thrown into the fire and into water. Do you see the turmoil that this entire family is in?
Now when you look at the Canaanite mother in v22 – you see that she is a total outcast and her daughter is demon possessed – we know that her life is in an absolute wreck – her kid has gone mad and her neighbors refer to her as “a dog.” – (read it for yourself). And where do we find her?
In proskuneo – she is worshipping at the feet of Jesus!
We learn of a man who is covered with leprosy and he is in a position of worship before the feet of Jesus.
Listen – we know from other studies that if you were a leper then you must have done something wrong and that is why you are a leper. This is the picture of how your sins are taking your life!
But here we find the leper – a sinner – whose life is a mess, and he in a position of worship before Jesus! And Jesus touches the unclean sinner!
Do you see a pattern in the lives of the people who are found in worship of Christ?
Not one of those mentioned today has any reason to believe there is any hope for a better day tomorrow!
They’re very lives are an absolute mess and sin is expected in every one of them!
See this! THIS IS WORSHIP!
It isn’t just coming to sit together, pray a prayer, and sing a song when life is treating you well!
No, it is bringing all the worst in your life, and all the best in your life, and everything in between - and trusting in Jesus to touch you; to touch your spouse; to touch your children;
- when it seems there is no reason in the world why He should!
You have a past – and Jesus has a future for you!
You have done and seen things unspeakable – so I ask you – are you worshipping Jesus with all the junk in your life – or are you content to sing a few songs and keep on carrying your burdens because you don’t think God is big enough to handle them?
Are you laying everything at the feet of Jesus – or are you only giving Him the nice things in life – because you believe He is too disappointed to have ALL of you?
Understand the mindset of many in the church today . . . . Somehow, in the years since the crucifixion, we got this idea that when we get nice clothes and a nice job, and our lives are cleaned up and our reputations are untarnished; THEN we are worthy to go join a bunch of other GOOD people in worship!
It is when life has you at your worst that you ought to be in worship, and telling your Father in heaven what holds you down and burdens your heart!
THAT is Biblical worship!
*****Now hold on to all that we have witnessed up to this point today.*****
And turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 10.
The New Testament tells us at least three times that what happened in the Old Testament was recorded for us, so that we would learn from the mistakes of Gods people. (; ;)
In reference to the Israelites and the scattering of their bodies across the desert. We are told in
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”
Paul goes on to speak of grumbling, revelry, and acts of sexual immorality.
So you may be wondering what any of that has to do with a message concerning worship.
Understand this – do not miss this –
The Bible clearly teaches that we were made to worship.
And if we do not worship God – we will worship something!
In verse 7, before Paul lists these acts of grumbling and revelry and immorality – he says:
“Do not be idolaters as some of them were. . . .”
Do you remember all the times that the people of Israel committed acts of idolatry.
Why did they do it?
Because they needed someone or something to take care of them when things were not going the way they thought they should be going!
When life got hard – when things appeared to be in a mess – when it looked like they were loosing battles and wars – the Israelites would worship the gods of Baal and Chemosh!
They offered up offerings in the high places to seek the favor of the (g)ods, little “g,” to have things their way, and to find rest from their struggles and burdens.
In fact, they wanted relief from hard times so much that there were times they even offered their children up as sacrifices – by throwing them into furnaces and pitching them off of walls - so that they could have relief from the hard times!
So get this.
We all, take all our stuff somewhere, to find relief.
We will because we were made to – it is in our DNA.
Every culture of every age has offered worship to something or someone to appease a god for the purpose of receiving favor and relief.
Even atheist worship - they just call it by other names.
In fact – the grumbling Paul speaks of in points to the worship of self and the belief of a lie that says:
if you can be your own god, and have your own way, you will be happy. Thereby grumbling is a form of rebellion against the incompetence of God. (Jon Bloom – Desiring God, article Aug 2, 2013).
So let me bring this into today’s language.
There are things we do that break the heart of God. There are things we do that may seem small and irrelevant to the idea of worship – especially in a church culture, that in its ignorance, believes that worship is the singing of songs on Sunday morning.
Listen, and hear the love of God for your souls – a heart that is broken by idolatry and hates the very act of such a sinful thing.
We all, take all of our stuff somewhere, to find relief.
Some worship beer for the relief of their troubles.
Some worship drugs to find relief from their problems.
Some worship entertainment to find relief from their burdens.
Some worship the god of money to get their material needs met, and others worship their job to get victory over the enemy who tells them they have no value.
Some worship sports so they can be relieved of the mental burdens they have when they don’t have their face planted in the distractions of their phone or T.V.
Turn with me to Matthew chapter 4 as we close. See what we learn about worship from Jesus.
In Matthew chapter 4 the devil has come, and twice the devil tempts Jesus – first to use His strength to feed himself, and secondly to test the power of God.
Then the devil takes Jesus to a very high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and its splendor and Satan tells Jesus – if you only will worship -proskuneo -me – I will give you all of this.
Satan tried to sell Jesus a lie that if Jesus would only bow down and worship – Proskuneo – then he could have all that was before Him.
But look at what Jesus teaches us as He confronts the father of all lies – and Jesus says to the devil-
Away from me satan! For it is written: Worship – proskuneo - the Lord your God, and serve / Him /only!
We are here on earth to worship – and what we worship – WE / WILL / SERVE!
We must never take our stuff – any of it – in anyway - to anyone - but Jesus, in worship.
To do so is a terrible act of faithlessness – and the writer of Hebrews is clear when he tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.
We will serve, and work for, and be beholding, to anything we use to give us rest from life - if it is not Jesus.
And I know this to be true because we are told these words that should encourage us to take everything we have and lay it before the Lord of heaven and earth in .
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, f Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
What we worship for relief in our troubled times, says everything we think about God.
May you know His mercy and grace – and serve Your King. And no one and nothing else.
We are here on this earth to show the majesty and faithfulness of God – as we worship!
END SERMON HERE