Faithlife Sermons

Worship Part 4 - The quality and beauty of our worship

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Quality and Beauty in worship!

Jesus and a vile of Nard
Mark 14:3-9, 1 Cor 3:11-15, 1 Chronicles 21:18-28, Lev 1:10, Psalm 19:1,
God is worthy of our very best, the first fruits of our life, the first of us from our hearts.
Father we come to you this morning alive in Jesus. Looking to you for who you are. You are worthy, the creator of all things, our rock and our fortress and our stronghold and the Horn of our salvation. You are mighty and all powerful. Your are eternal in power, holy, divine, loving, just and merciful in nature. You sent you son Jesus as the exact representation of your character and nature and the radiance of your glory to be the means by which all people could be saved from your just wrath and reconciled, redeemed, recovered and restored back in to a right relationship with you. HE has the name above all names that one day every tongue will confess He is Lord. There will be a day when all creation sings to you who sit on the throne and to the lamb be blessing and honor and glory and dominion for ever and ever. Until that day conform our worship to you and you alone.
Father as we open your word I pray that you will Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight today Father. I pray all of this In the mighty and holy and abundant Name of Jesus.  - and all God’s children said?
If I have not had a chance to meet you;
 My name is Scott and I am a follower of Jesus and have the privilege of serving Him as the Lead Pastor among the people of Stonewater Fellowship. 
If you have a copy of the Bible in either electronic version or the actual book kind -
Open it to  Mark 14 vs 3-9 today as we continue in our Teaching series Called Worship!  Our prayer over this series had been THAT WE WOULD BEGIN TO WORSHIP GOD FOR WHO GOD IS AND NOT FOR WHAT HE GIVES US. That the loftiness of God would return to our hearts and that the awe and wonder of who God is would take over us and over run us and in that we would worship in spirit and in truth with all of who we are
SPEAK and WELCOME UNBELIEVERS – NON FOLLOWERS And THOSE who struggle in their faith –
You may have never been to a worship gathering or you haven’t been in a really long time either because you believe God is angry and looking to knock you out at the slightest wrong turn, or punish you, or sitting up stairs waiting to strike you with a lightning bolt because you can not meet His standard. And this fear of God has pushed you away from God- Let me just say how glad we are that you are connecting this morning and that our hope FOR you is that you will get to know God as the one who loves you and is calling you to lean in to a beautiful relationship with Him through faith in the person and work of His son Jesus. because when you come to God in faith that Jesus and only Jesus had done what is necessary to make the relationship with God possible, then you will discover what God did with all the lightning bolt that used to be for you and for me.
Engagement –
In the 10th grade when I was in school, that was the year that you went to the “high school campus” so the 9th graders were still at the Junior High campus, I think that's called middle school today) and the Sophomores and up were at the “high school campus”
One of the FEW academic classes that I enjoyed was History. and in the 10th grade we were studying was world history. and it was like world history from before the beginning of time to like 1860 the civil war or the beginning of the industrial revolution or some such time frame - I really cant remember it was so long ago, but what I do remember was that is was a boring time frame of history. You have to remember that there has been more innovation and invention since the industrial evolution till today than all of the rest of human history. So the reality was not much excitement, development and basically a significant amount of fighting. So I was board with it.
My History teacher was Coach Shoemake. Coach Shoemake was the varsity baseball coach. Now I didn't play baseball in high school I was into music by then.
But coach Shoemaker was my history teacher, and I remember clearly as clear as it was yesterday the first paper I turned into coach Shoemake. I don't remember what the subject was, I don't remember what time frame of history,. I don't even remember how long the paper was. Here is all i remember and I remember this as clear as it was yesterday. Coach Shoemake, had his desk in the back of the room so the front of the room was clear for him to do chalk board work as he spoke. He also could keep his eyes on us as our backs were to him.
When the day came to get the first grade of my high school experience from my history class Coach shoemake called each student by name to come to His desk and receive their papers with their grades. I heard each one. A, Great job. B+ decent. C- try harder next time and do this to fix it or do this better next time. and on and on he went - Through all 30 student and in no particular order. Now I am used to being towards the end of the list as my last name begins with R but this time I was the very last student. and by this time i was rather nervous as to why I was last. I would soon learn my fate. Coach Shoemake called my name “Richerson” as a coach he always used everyone’s last name. So I got up our of my chair and proceeded to coach shoemaks desk and this is what he said to me as I looked and saw the biggest red F i had ever seen on any paper before. “Richerson - if that's all the effort your going to put in to my class, stop waiting my time and yours and drop my class. That paper or what ever you call it was a waist of my time to read it and obviously a waist of your time throwing it together. So if that's all the effort your gonna put in then drop out and stop wasting other peoples time.”
1st of all I was crushed to say the least and I was embarrassed in front of everyone, but here is the truth, coach was right, I had not done the work, I sloppily through something together last minuet and said to my self “it will have to do” its Good enough” I might get a low grade but it will be adequate and I will squeak by
The reality that we will find in the scriptures is there is a direct correlation between the type, frequency, intensity and depth of worship and the quality of our relationship with God both in the old testament and the new.
Some of us and sadly in an alarming increasing rate what we see across our western church culture is we approach worship, the from one of two directions 1 - only the professional need to do this or “its good enough “it will have to do” “this will be adequate” This morning I want to look into the scriptures and discover what God’s desire is and what He regards in the aspect of Quality in our worship and the offerings of worship that we give to him be that actual singing and music, our giving financially to His kingdom, our service to others, or the development of our gifts to build His kingdom and bring Him glory.
Let me begin by setting the focal point. Its all about the priority that God has in our life and heart.
Mark 14:3–9 NASB95
3 While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. 4 But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? 5 “For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. 7 “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. 8 “She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. 9 “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
Here we have Jesus reclining at the table of a man named Simon the Leper - Jesus is on His way back to Jerusalem for the last time for passover on his way to the cross. - 1st thing we must observe in this text is that we have a Jewish man Jesus reclining at the table with a Leaper - A major no no. Leapers were not to be associated with they were UNCLEAN.
Wile Jesus was at the Table the Text say “there came a woman” Luke Gospel will describe this woman as “A Sinner” Now that’s not all that specific to us today but in the first century when you were labeled a Sinner - it meant you mad really bad choices - you made so many bad choices that you were out cast form your culture. Back in those days one of the most prolific ways that a woman got this reputation was being involved in the sex trade, a prostitute.
This was the woman who comes in with an alabaster of pur nard - She takes it and breaks it and pours it over Jesus’s head.
You know the simplicity of the rest of the story - Some of the people around - were indignant of this and were of the opinion that this valuable of an item could have been put to better use like feeding the poor.
Jesus said “not quite gentlemen what this woman ha done is GOOD - This is not a waist of money because the poor will always be with you.
Jesus is drawing the difference that the best thing you can do is honor God with the most valuable things, the things of highest quality.
Here is why Jesus said this is because this woman heart was loving Jesus - She was completely aware of her own sinfulness and the redemption that was in front of her. We see this played out in the other Gospels of this story when the add the detail of this woman washing Jesus feet with here tears and wiping His feet with his hair.
How expensive was this - This was a years wages worth and she spent it all in a moment worshiping Jesus. This was the highest quality perfume money could buy and she spent it worshiping Jesus and preparing His body for burial.
We don't know if this was all she had - if this gifts was a small portion of her holdings or if it was everything she had - Odds are it was everything she had. People who usual make moral bad choices also make poor money choices as well and this was more than likely all she had and she spent it in a moment -
This brings a up question: Does God set some biblical principle that he ask or requires such valuable worship, worship that comes form the very best that we have? Does God place some measurement of the heart based on the expense to us, or the quality and Beauty when it comes to worship?
Before we get off base here. Let me also say that Gods measurement is never in the comparison to others or about a competitive environment to others, God’s measurement is ALWAYS relational interns of our love for Him, a measurement of the heart. AND IT MATTERS
It always has Mattered to God what we worship Him with as a reflection of our hearts towards HIM.
In the Beginning When God was establishing His people, He set out to place in their minds and hearts what it looks like to love the Lord, with all you heart mind soul and strength. What does it look like to worship God as He is worthy to be worshiped. God was Setting them aside to Himself, After He had removed them from the slavery of Pharaoh.
Here is the what HE established - and we see this reflected even before He had moses write this down.
Leviticus 1:10 NASB95
10 ‘But if his offering is from the flock, of the sheep or of the goats, for a burnt offering, he shall offer it a male without defect.
In Leviticus, in the Law, God set the standard of quality that His people were to use to bring a sacrifice of worship to Him. For the offering that was to be a burnt offering, it as to be without blemish - A perfect animal in its physical condition. An animal that was of the highest quality an animal that took time to find among the flock, an animal that was beautiful.
Here is the deal, God desires our hearts to be towards Him that He want our sacrifice to have weight, to have value to us as a reflection of His value in our lives, how much we value HIM. And so this requirement of animals that were without blemish was costly. The most beautiful and perfect animals made the best livestock holdings. God said, that is the supply from which you worship me, Not the leftovers, but the ones you value the most.
David, King David, a person who was a depraved sinner, but labeled in the Bible as a man after gods own heart, Give is a CLEAR example of this in 1 Chron 21:18-28 when He makes a purchase that will ultimately become the site where Solomon would build the Temple.
1 Chronicles 21:18–26 NASB95
18 Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at the word of Gad, which he spoke in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan turned back and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. And Ornan was threshing wheat. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out from the threshing floor and prostrated himself before David with his face to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of this threshing floor, that I may build on it an altar to the Lord; for the full price you shall give it to me, that the plague may be restrained from the people.” 23 Ornan said to David, “Take it for yourself; and let my lord the king do what is good in his sight. See, I will give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for wood and the wheat for the grain offering; I will give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing.” 25 So David gave Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 Then David built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called to the Lord and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.
David was purchasing land and a location to build an alter to the Lord to bring a sacrafice of praise and worship to God, a burnt offering to God and David knew that it would not be a reflection of Davids heart towards God is it did not cost David. if it was not Expensive.
It is interesting to know that this property that David demanded to paid for, that David knew must cost Him or it would have no value to God in the offering of worship and the sacrifice of praise, was called Mt Moriah. This would be the location that Davids son Solomon would use to build the Lords dwelling place, The temple of God that would contain the Holy of Holies where God would dwell among His people. The Temple of Solomon would be the most beautiful and amazing structure ever built to worship God in.
God calls us to bring the best we can to Him, the highest quality that we have in our possessions, the things that we would classify as first things in our possessions because it is a true indicator to Him where He is in the priority of our life.
These are the things that we consider the most valuable, the most beautiful. God is worshiped by things that are beautiful. In the Old Testament, animals without blemish and temples of Gold and presious stones.
God set this up in creation - Everything in Creation worships Him, and we, as imperfect people are crated to see the things that worship God in creation as beautiful.
Every Single Day that we go through, every one of us look to the sky. We see a Sun Rise or a Sun Set. We see a Clear Blue Sky or Clouds or a huge thunder head. At night we see the Stars, and if in the right place. Lots of Stars and even the milky way. Every Single person that God has brought into this world perceives one or all of those things as beautiful. WHY? WHY do we look at the elements of the Skies above us and perceive them As Beautiful? This is a Universal thing among all people. WHY?
Becasue all of creation is worshiping God and it is beautiful. All of creation is telling of the Invisible attributes, the eternal power and the devine nature of God and it is beautiful. The Psalmest says in Psalm 19:1
Psalm 19:1 NASB95
1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Yea but we live under grace not the Law some will say, and so we can bring to God, to His worship, To the building of His kingdom, what ever we want.
Well not so fast. You can do that but the apostle Paul will tell you that there are eternal consequences, The GOd will be Testing the Heart issues of what you bring to Him and He will test them with Fire.
1 Corinthians 3:11–15 NASB95
11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Here is what Paul is saying: There is going to be a test of our live in what we brought to God in everything. This test is going to be a test of fire. What we brought to use to be the builders of God’s kingdom on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Our offerings of praise, our offerings of time, our offerings of money, our offerings of our skills and talents and spiritual gifting, our offerings of the possessions He has blessed us with. It will ALL be tested with fire, a test of quality!
Here is the amazing thing about this testing Fire. It will not be a comparison Test of the offerings of praise of others. It will be a internal test, a Heart Test.
The questions that God will be asking in this quality test is Did we bring to Him the things in our lives that were to US GOLD, SILVER and PRECIOUS Stones or did we bring him the wood hay and stubble of our lives. Did we bring to God for the building of His kingdom the very best the WE had, the things most valuable to us the first fruits or did we bring the things less valuable? Did our worship and offerings of praise cost us like the threshing floor of Ornan cost King David or do we attempt to worship the king of kings and lord of lords with thing that don't really have any value to us.
We know that this Fire is a test of our hearts because of the story in the Gospels of the widow who brought to the Lord an offering of two mites. A mere smidgen of what others were bringing. And Jesus said that she Gave more that all the rest because is was from her heart, Sacrificially the widow was giving everything she Had, her very best, that was costly to her, because God had given His very best in His son Jesus.
So my prayer is that we would hear these words from God’s word and it would allow us and motivate us, knowing there are eternal consequences involved with the test of quality of each mans work, that we would bring our best to God, our first fruits to Him. Our best ad first in terms of time, money and the use of our gifts and skills to all be used in the building of His kingdom all for the Glory of His name.
One of the things I have quickly come to admire about Robert is how he lifts up his wife Melissa. Know that if you hear Melissa voice and think “wow she can sing” know that she is in constant practice and developing her Gift of music so she can offer the highest quality SHE can to God for the building of HIS kingdom and for the praise of HIS name.
For me personally, it means not only bringing the first fruits of money, but also time and gifting. I use the gifts God has given me for His glory and I am in training constantly to improve those gifts all for His glory. I study constantly on how to preach better, and I study His word so I can have a deeper understanding of Him and interact with that understanding with the people that are far away form God.
What does it mean for you? What gifting that God has given you that you can bring to the building of His kingdom? What gifting that you currently use that you can grow in? Let us bring the best we have to God so He can use us as His instruments to build His kingdom all for the Glory of HIS name.
Why does God Test the offering four life and heart with Fire? Because Just like the people of Isreal that HE set free from the bondage of slavery to pharoah, God has sent Jesus, His very best, the spotless lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, or be His sacrifice of praise, to save us and set us free from the bondage of Sin and Death. The Gospel -
Every time the Church is Together no matter what size, in our house churches or in the large collective of a Sunday Morning worship gathering. We want to Explicitly declare the Gospel in the clearest way so all who hear can understand and respond.
Here is the Gospel.
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