Faithlife Sermons

Bow Your Knee

Come to Worship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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We are in advent series entitled “Come to Worship”. The series is all about ways that we worship God. The theme verse is from the story of the wise men who came to worship Jesus.
Matthew 2:10–11 CSB
10 When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:2 CSB
2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.”
In this message series, we have looked at three different postures for worship. The first week we looked at where the Bible teaches us to lift our hands. The second week we talked about bringing our gifts to God. Last week Pastor Felipe talked about pouring out our hearts to God. Today, we are going to talk about bowing our knees. The Bible speaks often about kneeling before God as an act of surrender and worship. Before I go into this message, I want to have a disclaimer. I know, for some, physically bowing your knees is either impossible or very hard. I don’t want you to feel as if you are doing something wrong if you physically can’t bow your knees in worship. I think for the majority of us, this is not the case, but for others, you will need to do something different as you come to worship. The main point is to come to God in humility. Humble yourself before the Lord.
Open your Bible to . We are going to be looking at the story of the wise men.
Matthew 2:10–11 CSB
10 When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
The wise men saw the star and they were overwhelmed with what? They were overwhelmed with joy! For literally centuries, magi had been looking for the promised one. They came from the land of Persia and I wonder if it wasn’t Daniel’s witness that preserved the idea of the coming Messiah in the land of Persia. They were looking for him. They knew one day God would send the Messiah, the Savior of the world. The wise men saw the star which indicated the Messiah’s arrival and they were overjoyed!
Then, they entered the home and they saw Mary with Jesus and what did they do? They fell to their knees in worship. They bowed down and worshiped Jesus. Before we move too quickly from what is going on here, consider what is happening. I don’t know what pictures come to your head, but probably something like this...
<show picture>
I think we visualize the wise men kneeling down before little baby Jesus. Just about every picture you see is of the wise men kneeling down to a tiny little baby. Most nativity scenes even include wise men at the manger; however, this is very likely to be completely inaccurate. The vast majority of scholars think that Jesus was not a baby when the wise men arrived to worship him. Likely, Jesus was a toddler when the wise men arrived; maybe about 2 years old or so. Remember, they would have had to travel for several months to get to Israel. They would have had to make preparations for their travel. Also, when Herod gave the order to slaughter all the boys in and around Bethlehem, the age was 2 years old and under. So, when the wise men arrived Jesus would have not been an infant. He would have likely been between 1-2 years old.
Now this changes the picture in my mind just a little bit. How many of you have children who are two years old? How many of you have raised a two year old child or been around two year old children? Before I had children, I was pretty hard on parents of infants. I would totally judge you. We would be in a restaurant and some parents were desperately trying to control their demon spawn, but the kid was just having none of it. He was banging on the table, throwing food, and acting like the mere presence of anyone around him was an international act of terrorism. Then, the parent tried to pick the child up and he just goes limp. They tried to get him to walk out the door, but his legs turned to noodles and he just dropped to the floor. I was looking at this scene, thinking to myself, “When Karen and I are parents, we are going to be so much better than those people.”
Then the day came and we had two of them. Everything changed. I remember the first couple of times we went out to eat with them. I think I promised them everything. I was like, “What do you want? I will give you whatever you want, please just be quiet!” Do you want candy? Fine, here’s candy. Do you want toys? Fine, here is all the toys. Do you a pony? Fine, I’ll get you a pony. Just please let us eat in peace! Finally, Karen and I swore we would not go out to eat with them until they were old enough to not put crackers up their nose.
If you have been around small children, then you know how unpredictable they can be. A 2 year old will look you in the eyes, never break eye contact, stare you down, and they do something completely unexpected. They will run from you and they are faster than you think they are. You tell them it is bed time and you would think they just downed a whole can of Red Bull. You never think is going to happen to you, until you are trying to potty train your child and he figures out how to get the door to the house open. There he is running down the street. No bottoms. Just running down the street in all his glory. Yeah that happened.
Back to our story, so the wise men are bowing down to a toddler. Changes the way you see the story or maybe that is just me. Jesus was a toddler doing all the toddler things. Anyway, today we are going to talk about kneeling in the presence of God. Guys, how many times have you kneeled in your life? Maybe twice? Maybe you got down on your knees when you were proposing to your wife and maybe for a sports picture where you are on the front row? Ladies, how often have you kneeled? I don’t even know on what occasions girls would kneel. Culturally speaking, we don’t kneel very much. I mean, we are a nation of rebels. We bow before no man, am I right? We don’t bow to our presidents or congress people. They aren’t special and we don’t bow. We have no king.
Yet, when you come to the Scriptures, we see over and over the concept of coming before God in humble submission and getting on our knees before God. The Bible speaks about kneeling before the awesomeness and splendor of God.
Psalm 95:6–7 CSB
6 Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep under his care. Today, if you hear his voice:
The Hebrews word for worship is the word shachah. The word is used about 170 in the Bible. The word means:

Shachah - worship - “bow down low, to kneel

The word is a word of physical posture. We are told, and really commanded, to physically kneel before God in worship. Perhaps we don’t kneel before God in worship as often as we should because we don’t comprehend the holiness of God. If we understood how holy God is, then we would naturally bow low before him in worship. God is so holy, so perfect, that mortal man cannot look upon him and live.
Perhaps you will recall the story of Moses in . Moses wanted to see God, but God said, you can’t handle my full essence and being. He told Moses that he would pass by, but Moses would only get to see the aftereffects of God’s presence. In fact, in the sacrificial system in Israel, no one was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies in the Temple except the high priest once a year. They couldn’t go in because that was the place where God’s glory was on display. When the high priest went in, they would tie a rope to his leg. If they stopped hearing the jingling on the bells on the high priest’s garment, they would use the rope to pull him out.
God is so holy that mortal man cannot look on him and live. When you begin to understand who God is and are impacted by his holiness, kneeling before him just seems like the right thing to do.
Psalm 95:6–7 CSB
6 Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep under his care. Today, if you hear his voice:
As we are in the last week before Christmas and are thinking about the birth of Jesus, let us be confronted with the expectation that we need to bow before him in worship. Jesus came, not born in a palace, but in a cave. He came in the meekest and lowest way. He left the riches and grandeur of heaven to be born of the virgin. He is our king and it is the only reasonable response to bow before him in worship. This morning, I am going to give you three different reasons why you need to bow before him in worship.
Turn over to .
In , there is the story of a person who is identified as being rich and young. He had everything, but he thought he was missing something.
Mark 10:17 CSB
17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
I don’t know if I ever took notice before, but notice the man’s posture. I have focused on the question, but not the posture. The rich young man knelt before Jesus. He had everything, but he felt he was missing something. He wanted an answer to what he was missing and so he fell on his knees before Jesus.

We kneel to seek God.

Some of you are at a place in your life where you are not a committed follower of Jesus and you know it. You may believe in God, but you aren’t seeking God. You aren’t fully devoted. You have to surrender to God and you are going to have to kneel. I know, we say things like, “I can kneel on the inside”; however it really isn’t the same and you know it. You have to humble yourself to seek God.
James 4:8 CSB
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
When you draw near to God, he draws near to you. We kneel to draw near to God to get the answers we need. The interesting thing to me is that this rich young ruler took the physical posture of kneeling to get the answer he needed; however, he was completely unwilling to do the next part. He was unwilling to repent and obey what Jesus told him.

We kneel in repentance.

Sometimes we do things that hurt people and hurt God. We end up hurting ourselves because of what we have done. I have said it before, but the holiday season is like a magnifier. It makes the good times better and the hard times harder. Some of you look like everything is okay, but really it isn’t. You’re hurting and you are hurting others.
Look at . Peter has been fishing all day long, but it wasn’t a day for catching. He hadn’t caught anything except a bad attitude. Jesus approached his boat and said, “Peter, throw your net on the other side of the boat.” I am not sure what was in Peter’s head, but if he was anything like me, I would be like, “Well, I don’t see you out here catching fish, so what do you know?” There is nothing more annoying than people who don’t know anything about what you do, telling you what to do. They say, “Well, the reason you aren’t catching fish is because you are using the wrong bait.” I am like, “Ya’ think? How many did you catch today?” Again, I can’t be sure, but I can see Peter rolling his eyes.
Anyway, Peter, perhaps thinking, “Well, I got nothing to lose anyway.” and he throws the net on the other side. Suddenly, there are so many fish in his net that the net is breaking. Look at how Peter responded to what happened. He didn’t say, “Well, you got lucky.” No, what did he do.
Luke 5:8 CSB
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’s knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!”
Luke 5:
He repented. Peter realized what he was and who Jesus is. He realized the only proper thing to do in this situation was to fall on his knees in worship and repentance. This is beautiful because Jesus accepts a person who humbly repents of sin. Jesus accepts the one who comes to him in repentance. What did Jesus tell Peter?
Luke 5:9–10 CSB
9 For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people.”
Luke 5:10 CSB
10 and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people.”
You are going to be a fisher of men. Doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done, when you come to Jesus, repenting of your sin and accepting him as your Lord and Savior, he changes you from the inside out. When you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Kneel to seek God. Kneel in repentance. Kneel in submission.

We kneel in submission to God.

I am not a fan because of the brutality of the sport, but I have seen some UFC fights. They are brutal and for me, it is just not enjoyable to watch two people beat each other senseless. However, every once and a while, I happen to be somewhere and the fight in on the television. Sometimes, one of the fighters will get their opponent in a hold that can’t be broken out of quick enough. The fighter can’t get free and they can’t breathe or their limb is being controlled in such a way that they can’t continue. What do they do? Come on, I know someone here knows. What do they do? They tap out! They submit. They surrender. They give-up. They realize they can’t go on.
Some of you are here this morning and that is where you are. You are holding onto something in your life and you won’t tap out. You want it your way. God has been reaching out to you for years, but you won’t tap out. You won’t surrender to God. You won’t let God have control of your life. You need to surrender to God’s will.
Do you realize Jesus surrendered to the will of God? The same Jesus that was born of a virgin and laid in a manger, was born to die. Jesus knew what was coming. He never did anything wrong before God and he knew he would become sin for us. When he took upon himself the sin of the world, God turned away from him. He died without the presence of his Father which he had always enjoyed. Jesus knew what was coming and he struggled with it.
Luke 22:41–42 CSB
41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Jesus, the Son of God, knelt down, bowed his knees to the Father. He prayed a prayer of surrender. He said these powerful words that we all need to say, “Not my will, but yours, be done.” Say it with me. “Not my will, but yours, be done.” I surrender all. Jesus knew that kneeling before the Father in surrender would give him strength to stand. Kneeling in prayer gives us strength to stand.
Now, I am going to say something that might strike you as harsh. Are you ready? You can kneel now, or you can kneel later, but you will kneel before Jesus. Everyone will kneel to Jesus. You can kneel now as you seek him in repentance and surrender or you will kneel one day, but you will have no choice about it.
Philippians 2:8–11 CSB
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This morning, you are presented with a choice. Will you kneel? Will you bow you knees before your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? It really is that simple. It really is that straightforward. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to kneel. What will you do with the message of Christmas?
Father God, we thank you for who you are and what you have done for us. You have made a way when there was no way. For so many years people anticipated the birth of the Messiah. Now, we look back in celebration of Jesus coming into the world. We praise you for what was done for us. We glorify you today. Thank you for the amazing truth we find in your world. Thank you for Jesus who died so we could live. We worship you! In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.
During this time of reflection, I would ask that everyone remain with their heads bowed and eyes closed. Maybe you are here this morning and you recognize that it is time for you to bow in surrender before God. There is an area of life that you are trying to control, something you have been unwilling to give up, but this morning you realize that it needs to go. You are ready to say, “God, not my will, but yours be done.” How many of you would say, “There is something in my life and today, I am giving God control over it.” Raise your hands to God. Lift them up.
Let me pray for you. Father God, I ask you to empower these who raised their hands by the Holy Spirit. Work in us that there would be more of you and less of us. Just like Jesus in the Garden when he was struggling, we struggle too. He surrendered to your will. He knelt before you in prayer. Today, Father, we are going to kneel before you as well surrendering ourselves to you.
Please continue with your heads bowed and eyes closed. This morning, we have talked about other reasons for kneeling before God. Some of you have never bowed your knees before God. I recognize there might be physical reasons for not being able to physically kneel, but you have never knelt before God. You are still separated from God because of your sin. Don’t miss the power of Christmas. God recognized that we were separated from him by our sins and the only way that we could be forgiven is for Jesus, the Son of God, to die in our place. Jesus was born of a virgin. He didn’t have a sin nature and so he lived a perfect life before God. He died to save his people from their sins. He shed his blood and satisfied God’s righteous requirement.
Some of you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You have never bowed before him. You are still lord of your own life. You are doing life your own way, but this morning, you realize your need. You realize the way you are heading will lead to destruction. Today, you are ready to kneel before Jesus repenting of your sins and accepting him as your Savior. If that is you, pray with me:
Pray with me, “Heavenly Father, forgive me for my sins, make me new. I ask Jesus to be my Savior and to be the Lord of my life, first in every way. My life is not my own, I give it to you. Thank you for new life. In Jesus’ name, I pray.”
Our deacons will be coming forward to pray with you and for you. If you prayed to receive Jesus, please come and let us pray with you and celebrate your new life in Christ. Come and pray for those who need Jesus. If God is dealing in your heart and life right now, don’t let this moment pass.
As you stand and we sing together.
<after closing the time of invitation>
Perhaps you didn’t come forward for one reason or another, but you really do want to talk with us about what is going on in your life. Perhaps you need help, prayer, or you just want to know more about being a follower of Jesus. I would encourage you to do one of two things. After we are dismissed, just stay where you are. One of our deacons will come and talk with you and pray with you. The other thing you can do is check one of the boxes on the Connection Card. Put it in the offering plate as it passes. We will get in touch with you this week. You see, this church exists to minister to one another. We are here to support you in your walk with God.
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