Faithlife Sermons

Oct 1 06

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Sermon Notes for Sunday, October 1, 2006.

First Things First

Exodus 20:22-25


You may think that this is a strange text for a Communion Sunday.  And it one sense it is.  But there is something fundamental, I think, here.  The passage has to do with building an altar to the Lord.  There is in verse 25 this strange command: If you make me an altar of stone, you must not build it of stones shaped with tools.  Most commentators remain a little puzzled about what that means and wonder how worked stones defile the altar.

          It could be that decorative altars were too much like the altars of the Egyptians or some other culture in the area.  That is the best idea that they have come up with.  I think that there is something there.  The idea that working the stones would detract from the primary purpose of the altar and that purpose is _____________.

          We say that we want new people in the church to help do the work, but first, before any work gets done we need to help the new people and the long term people to be first and foremost ___________________.

          It is true that we have work to do.  The calling of the church is to be the body of Christ for the world.  We are to be his hands and feet.  But that work becomes dull, boring, and leads to burnout and leads to people dropping out if it does not stem from the worship of the church.

          It is getting very common place to have cars and trucks that will still be running well after 100,000 or even 200,000 miles.  To get a truck to last 200,000 miles means that a lot of preventative maintenance has had to be done.  A lot of oil changes, many hundreds of trips for fuel.

          Worship is the fuel that enables us to work.  Worship is that ‘tanking up’ exercise that powers us for the ministry that God calls us to both as a congregation and as individuals.

          How is your ‘tank’?  Is it ‘full’ or is it nearing ‘E’?

Devotional Guide.  Monday, October 2, 2006.  Worship may be hard to define, ‘bending the knee’, ‘falling down before God’, etc; but we know it when we see it or experience it.  The Bible doesn’t tell us how to worship it just tells us to do so.  Jesus tells us to do it ‘spirit and truth’ (John 4:23) and the Psalter tells us to do it in ‘holy attire’ (or, the beauty of holiness, KJV) (PS 29:2).  As you reflect on the John 4 passage and the many instances of worship in the Psalms, what does worship mean to you?

Tuesday, October 3, 2006.  Worship is an act of remembrance.  Israel was to remember that God had brought them out of Egypt and that was one of the reasons they were to worship (2 Kings 17:36-39).  When you remember what God has done for you, what specific action do you remember?  Does that remembrance cause you to worship God?

Wednesday, October 4, 2006.  The English word for worship comes from an Old English word worshipe and the Middle English word weorthscipe both of which mean that something is ‘worth’ something, or has value, to you.  Worth is something we all understand.  If an item is ‘worth’ something to you that means it has value and importance.  Israel worshipped because of God faithfulness in the Exodus, the early Christians worshipped because of the cross and resurrection.  Psalm 5:7.  How do you describe God’s ‘worth’?

Thursday, October 5, 2006.  It has been said that God should be worshipped even God has never done anything for you.  But how would we know that God was worthy of worship without something benchmark to guide us?  The refrain in Psalm 136 gives us that benchmark.  His love endures forever.  The Psalm recounts Israel’s history.  Take the Psalm and put in your history with the refrain and let that be your worship today.

Friday, October 6, 2006.  Worship is our response to God.  Listen to Isaiah 1:11-19.  Worship is a response.  Worship has a response.  It’s not just saying “thank you” to God, even though that is an important part; it is also being obedient to God.  Part of worship is obedience.  How does obedience figure in our worship?

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