Created for God's Pleasure: the purpose of Worship
Dallas Baptist Church
40 Days of Purpose
Week 2: Created for God’s Pleasure…first purpose: Worship
Rick Warren tells of a true story that was reported by Mike Royco in the Chicago Tribune. The story goes like this:
There was man whose name was Bill Mallory.
Mallory traveled to India to discover the purpose of life.
But he didn’t find the answer there.
So after returning to the United States, he noticed a sign at Chevron gas station that simply said, “As you travel, ask us.”
So every time he pulled into a Chevron station, he would look to the sign and say, “I’m a traveler. I’d like to ask you a question.
What is the purpose life?”
These were some of the real answers he got.
One attendant said, “Sorry. I’m new here.”
Another said, “I don’t remember anything in the manual about that.”
Another attendant said, “I’m not much for church myself, sir.”
One fellow even gave him a leering look and a wink, whatever that meant.
But most of the people just gave him a blank stare, cleaned his windshield, filled his tank, and took his money;
But Mallory persisted and kept asking that same question at all the Chevron stations.
Several weeks later, Mallory got a phone call from Chevron Customer Relations.
The person said, “We understand you’ve been asking our dealer questions and getting unsatisfactory answers.”
The man asked Mallory to write out his question and send it to Chevron Corporate with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
So Mallory wrote, “What is the purpose of life?” and sent it to Chevron Gas Company.
Several weeks later, the envelope was returned.
The only thing in it was an application for a credit card!
If you want to know the purpose of life, you’re not going to find it in a gas station.
You won’t find it in a credit card application.
You’re not going to find it in a self-help book.
You’re not going to find it at some seminar.
If you want to know the purpose of life,
you have to talk to the Creator, God Himself, Who made you,
or you’ve got to look in the owner’s manual,
the Bible, the Written, Inspired, Inerrant Word of God.
You were made by God and you were made for God.
And until you understand that, life doesn’t make any sense.
Today in our journey through the 40 Days of Purpose,
we’re going to look at the first of
God’s five (5) purposes for your life.
Together…Let’s read Revelation 4:12 from the Screen.
SLIDE 1 Revelation 4:11
“You (God) created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.”
I want you to please Notice two things…
FIRST…God…God is the ONE Who CREATED.
And, Second…see the phrase “for your pleasure.”
You were created for GOD’s pleasure!
How many of you are parents? Do you enjoy watching your kids?
Probably MOST of the time, but maybe not all the time,
especially when they’re making mistakes!
Well as we explore the first purpose of life today,
consider that just maybe,
God is probably the same when it comes to us as His kids.
Last week we talked about how you were created to be loved by God.
But this week we’re looking at the other side of the coin.
We’re going to look at the first purpose of your life, which is this:
God wants you to love Him back.
We can learn a lot from a fellow that Jesus was talking to one day, because it gives us the answer to what is our first purpose.
Again, Would you read this with me from the screen?
In Matthew 22, verses 37-38, Jesus said,
It’s there in your outline. He said, “Love the Lord your God.
This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Jesus calls this The “first” and the “greatest.”
Is there a message there?
YES…God is telling us that IF we don’t get anything else,
we need to GET this…
You and I are supposed to learn to love GOD back,
because HE made us to love us, and God is saying,
and I want you to know Me, and I want you to love me back.
Now…as many of you know…there’s a word we use for this.
That word is the word “worship.”
Worship is literally knowing and loving God back.
WHEN you or I say the word “worship,” what do you think of?
(Let people answer)
Some of you may think of prayer.
Others may think of singing.
Since we’re celebrating the Lord’s Supper today,
some of you may think of ritual or communion.
And some people think of going to church,
or doing something in church when they hear the word, ‘worship.’
All of those things may be a PART of worship,
but Worship is really a LOT more than all those things.
So what is Worship?
The Word of God defines Worship as:
“To love the Lord, Your God with all your heart and all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Would you take your outline, and write this down in your outline.
Slide: 3: MY FIRST PURPOSE is to WORSHIP GOD
My first purpose in life is to worship God.
Folks…that means that Worship is supposed to be
your TOP priority.
It is your number one purpose in life.
But there’s a real problem with this word, worship.
That’s because worship is so misunderstood
and so wrongly defined by most church people.
What does worship look like to most people?
In other words, what is the picture that comes to mind
when you think of someone worshipping?
Is it like this? – [Pastor demonstrates comically holding hands up and mouth wide open]
Okay? Now, that may be one legitimate form of worship...But worship is far more than – [Pastor demonstrates again].
In fact, there are lots of ways to worship God.
But what does God say?
Probably one of the best verses that defines worship,
which again is OUR very first purpose, is this-
SLIDE: 4 Romans 12, verse 1.
“Because of God’s great mercy to us… offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.” “This is the true worship that you should offer.”
What do we see here?
There are THREE important words here…
First, is the word “because,”
then there’s the word “offer,”
and last there’s the word “offer” again.
Because…tells us WHY we are to worship and WHAT we are to do.
So…First, worship is my response to God’s love.
My RESPONSE to God’s Love.
In other words, Worship is how I respond, to God when He loves me.
We worship “because,”…. “ because of God’s great mercy,”
Another way of saying that is Because of God’s great love
(and if great mercy isn’t an outpouring of love,
I don’t know what is)
God’s great mercy towards us, we worship Him back.
But look at this…this is so neat!
God takes the initiative.
God never asks you or me to make the first move.
And He created us.
He saves us. He forgives us.
He blesses us. He protects us.
And then because of all these things that HE has done for us,
we then, worship.
Ok…so what we do ???-
To ‘offer’ is the word that describes worship.
So, Worship then is the giving back to God.
Worship is giving back to God.
God gives to us, and we give back to Him.
And that brings pleasure to God.
Now, here’s the question…
when it says, “offer” –
WHAT is the WHAT that am I supposed to offer?
What do you give to a God who has everything?
The good news is that there’s ONLY one thing He desires…
We only need to give Him our love.
So, HOW do we do that?
Well, God is very specific about how to give our love back to Him.
In Mark chapter 12, v. 30, the Bible tells us,
Look at the next slide…
Slide 7 Mark 12:30
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”
In fact, this is our memory verse for this week in our 40 days campaign.
So, let’s repeat it again.
So, what’s this verse say?
This verse tells us that there are distinct THREE ways,
that God wants you to love Him:
SLIDE 8 “God wants me to love HIM”
First, God wants you and me to love Him thoughtfully. THOUGHTFULLY
“love Him with your mind.”
In other words, we don’t just going through some ‘mindless’ routine…
God wants you to worship Him thoughtfully. With all our mind.
Slide 9: Passionately
Second, God wants us to love him passionately.
Again, look at our verse…
God says, “with all your heart and all your soul.”
God wants us to you to love Him Passionately,
because HE passionately loves us.
SLIDE 10: PRACTICALLY
And Third, God says, we’re to love Him Practically. Practically.
“love Me with all your strength”, that means with ALL your ability.
Folks…you know, God doesn’t have your attention UNLESS
you give it to Him.
That’s loving God with your mind.
So, God doesn’t have your affection, unless you give it to Him.
That’s the heart and soul part.
And God doesn’t have your ability, unless you give it to Him.
That’s loving God with your strength.
Whenever you take the things God has given to you and you give them back to God, that, friends, is the heart of worship.
We’re going to look at it today after this song.
song “Heart of Worship.”
[Song: “Heart of Worship”]
SLIDE 12: WORSHIP IS…
So, worship is focusing my attention on God.
It is focusing my mind, my thoughts, my attention on God.
If you study most religions, the idea of worship is to
put your mind into neutral, and sort of
lose your mind to the universe.
But the truth is, God wants us to worship Him thoughtfully.
And you know something? Worship takes energy.
Worship takes getting our mind focused on God.
It is never just going through the motions,
but instead, it is really, really thinking about what we’re doing.
That’s just not always easy.
So, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to give justice to our worship IF
we try to do it on autopilot or on cruise control.
How many of you have ever zoned out in church?
I know you never do when I’m preaching, right?
Worship takes energy and attention
if we’re really going to focus on God.
But God deserves that kind of worship.
And God wants that kind of focus
because He is focused on you and me.
SLIDE 13 Psalm 139:1-3
Look at Psalm 139 verses 1 through 3. for a moment
“You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and You know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working”
Would you read this last part with me --
n “You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.”
God has focused his attention on you.
That means that God pays constant attention to you and me.
He never stops thinking about you and me.
Do you remember the first time you fell in love?
You probably couldn’t get that person off your mind, could you?
You thought about them when you woke up in the morning.
You thought about them all through recess.
But over time, that infatuation sometimes wears off for us.
But for God -- the Bible tells us His love for us is forever.
God is ALWAYS focused on us.
And God wants us to focus our hearts on Him all the time too.
But, in all honesty, that’s difficult sometimes.
In fact, the easiest thing to do in life for us as human beings…
is to lose our focus.
We’re not like an auto-focus camera, that all you have to do is point it at something, push halfway down on the release button and it automatically focuses.
You and I have to decide to focus.
In other words, we much make a choice.
We have to choose to focus on things.
The question is HOW?
First of all, we must realize that we are very easily distracted.
And there are two things that distract us from focusing our attention on God.
First, we are self-centered by nature.
And the second thing is, we live in a self-centered culture.
Look at the next two verses in your outline and on the screen:
SLIDE 14 Romans 8:7
Romans 8:7says, “Focusing on yourself is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, and ends up thinking more about self than God.”
So we have to decide to focus on Him.
SLIDE 15: Romans 12:2
And then on the back of your outline, our culture -- would you read this verse with me, Romans 12:2, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.”
We must choose --choose to stop focusing on some things and start Focusing on God.
So, how do you do that?
First, you start by just establishing a daily time with God.
Start with a few minutes during the day.
It doesn’t matter when you do it – the beginning of the day, the middle of the day, or the end of the day.
Talk to Him, and read His Word.
SLIDE 16: Matt 6:6
The Bible talks about this in Matthew chapter 6, verse 6,
Here it says this, “Find a quiet secluded place, so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.”
You’ve got to find a place to do this.
In the Old Testament, there was only one place where you could worship God.
It was the Temple.
That is not true anymore. You can worship God anywhere.
You just find a place -- Someplace in your backyard, or a corner of your living room where you can focus on God.
Come “simply” Before Him
Come “honestly.” Just be yourself.
Just be there with Him honestly, establish a time with God.
SLIDE 17: Psalm 105:4
The Bible tells us in Psalm 105, verse 4, that we’re to “Worship him continually.”
You have to decide to do that.
Maybe you’ll even pray the first couple of minutes as you get into your car as you’re going somewhere.
The main thing, is to focus on God throughout the day.
Focus on Him in whatever you do.
And what’s the BENEFIT?
We all like ‘benes’…well, when we start living lives that are intentionally focused on God, something wonderful happens…
SLIDE 18: Isa26:3
The Bible tells us in Isaiah 26, verse 3, “you will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on You!”
When you focus on yourself, the results are thoughts of worry, insecurity, anxiety, guilt, fear, discouragement.
But when your focus shifts from YOU to God, you begin to sense hope and confidence and love.
SLIDE 19: Worship is: “Expressing my affection to God”
So worship is both focusing my attention on God, and it’s also expressing my affection to God.
Expressing affection TOWARD God.
This is what loving God with your heart and soul is all about.
Look at this next verse, the Bible says,
SLIDE: 20: 1 John 4:9
“We love Him, because He first loved us.”
In many religions, God is some angry tyrant, and you have to appease that God and you really want to try to avoid that kind of God and you work real hard to run from such a God…no wonder people are afraid of God. But that’s not THE real God.
The TRUE Living God sent His Son to pay the price for our sins for us, before we even accepted Him…
And the Bible says God wants to be loved.
The next verse says, in Hosea 6,
SLIDE 21: Hos 6:6
And this is God who says, “I don’t want your sacrifices -- I want your love! I don’t want your offerings -- I want you to know me!”
Look at those two words, “love” and the word “know,”
That, friends, is the first purpose of your life -- to know and love God.
When and IF you choose to get that done,
you have accomplished the most important thing in life.
On the other hand, it doesn’t matter what you get done in a day,
and even if you knock off 24 things off your to-do list,
and even if you accomplish great things in life,
and you accomplish all your personal goals…
friends…if at the end of the day you don’t know God a little bit better and you don’t love Him a little bit more, then…
that day, friend, was wasted.
That day was a waste…because YOU WERE NOT put here on earth to check things off your to-do list.
God put you on earth to get to know Him and to love Him back.
That is the first primary goal of your life.
And you do that by focusing your attention on God, and by expressing your affection to God.
And when you say to the Lord, “God, I want to express my love to You,” and you say, Lord, “I give You my heart. I give You my soul. My soul is in Your hand. I want You to take my life.”…that’s the greatest expression of your love to God.
SLIDE 22 Rom 6:13
This says, “Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.”
Remember, it’s always a response. This is a choice.
God gave us physical life, then He gives new life in Jesus.
And He says I want you to give yourself completely back to Me.
What holds us back?
It is one word -- f-e-a-r.
We’re afraid to give our lives to God because “if we give our lives completely to God, then is He going to turn me into some kind of religious nutcase?”
NO…God doesn’t want to you turn into some nut or fanatic or some religious zealot. He wants you to be you.
In fact, you’re not fully you until you’ve got God in your life.
Until then, You’re just existing.
But it is fear that keeps us from giving ourselves completely to God.
I know what some of you are thinking, you’re saying, “This thing about loving God. You know, I just don’t love God enough.” That’s not your problem. You say, “I don’t love God enough.” That is not your problem! Your problem is you don’t realize how much God loves you. That’s your problem. If you really knew how much God loves and cares about every detail of your life, you’d throw yourself at Him, and go “Oh, how could I not love a God like that?” You just don’t know how much He loves you. Worship is always a response. It’s we love God because He first loved us. When you understand how much He loves you, loved you enough to even come to earth and die on a cross for you, then you say “Okay, God, I surrender myself to You, my soul is in Your hands.”
So, worship is focusing my attention on God.
It is expressing my affection to God, and it is also using my abilities for God.
Using my abilities for God.
This is the loving God with all my strength part of worship.
Notice this next verse, Colossians 3:23, read it with me. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.”
But, please listen to me…
You don’t have to join a monastery to worship more.
Some of you will go home from this thing saying, if my No. 1 purpose is to get to know and love God, then I should have a quiet time with God five hours a day.
No, you don’t need to do that.
Well, then I should come to church every day of the week.
No, you don’t need to do that either.
It is not about any of that.
You just change “who” you’re working for.
And when you change who you’re working for, your work becomes worship.
You see, so many people compartmentalize life by saying,
“Okay, here’s my worship hour. I do that when I go to church once a week.
Here’s my Bible study hour…I go to a small group once a week,
Here’s my quiet time…
So there, that’s my worship.
And then over here in the next compartment, I’ve got my job.
And over here in this compartment, I’ve got my social life.
And down here in this compartment, I’ve got my family life.
Folks…that’s NOT it.
God says I want you to invite me into every area of your life.
If you don’t get anything else from what you’ve heard this morning, I want you to get this one thing, because this it will completely change your life.
In life it’s not what you do that matters; it’s “Who you do it for.”
I’ll say it again…
It’s not what you do that matters; it’s Who you do it for.
When you give every aspect of your life to God, then everything, your work, your family life, your Bible Study, your weekly church gathering to worship time, your small group time…everything becomes worship.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick maker…You can do it for God.
It really doesn’t matter what you do. It’s Who you do it for.
God doesn’t care whether you’re a truck driver or an attorney or a doctor or nurse or a housemaker, or whatever.
“Are you doing it for Him?”
Slide 25 Romans 12:1
Notice this next verse…it says in Romans 12, “Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, your eating, your going to work, your walking-around life – and place it before God” – as a what? –as an – “Offering.”
There’s that word again.
To “offer” is the whole essence of worship.
Listen…this is where the rubber meets the road.
Real purpose-driven living doesn’t happen in a church.
It doesn’t even happen in a small group.
It doesn’t even happen in your personal time of quiet time with God every day, or your daily prayers or sitting down and reading the Bible.
Real purpose-living happens in the ordinary, in the routine, in the boring everyday things of real life where you go,
“God, I’m going to take out the garbage for You.”
God, I’m going to make the beds to the glory of You.
God, I’m going to milk the cows to the glory of You.
Everything can be turned into an act of worship.
Again…notice the verse, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,” putting your heart and soul in, as though you were working for the Lord.
How can you do this?
It starts this way…
Right now…What if you decided right now…today, and you said,
“God, tomorrow when I get up and I go back to work, and it is the same old work I’ve been at for 10 years or 20 years or however long, But today…I’m going to do something different for You…
Today, this time, I’m going back with a new Boss..capital “B:.
I’m working for you.”
That helps turn the mundane, trivial things that don’t seem to mean a whole lot into worship.
And honestly, that’s the kind of worship God loves.
I don’t want to bust any bubbles here today,
but God really isn’t into incense and candles and ritual.
He’s into this kind of worship that says
“God, whatever it is that I’m doing, I’m going to do it for You.”
That’s when your life becomes an act of worship.
Real worship is a lifestyle.
The truth is everybody worships something.
We were wired to worship by God.
He put it in your DNA.
Everybody worships something.
It might be your job, it might be your family, it might be your sports, it my be your hobby, it might be your home, your car, your hunting, your fishing, your computer, your creativeness, your whatever..
And IF you don’t worship God, believe me, you’re going to find a substitute real quick, even if it is just yourself.
One of the hit shows this year was the show called “American Idol.”
Folks, there are thousands of American idols that we worship all the time.
So let me ask you, what are you worshipping?
The Bible says you were planned for God’s pleasure. You were made to know and love God. So I challenge you to make as the No 1 goal of your life before everything else, getting to know and love God, because that brings Him pleasure. You make as your goal what Paul said in the last verse on your outline, he said, “So we make it our goal to please Him.” There’s not a better goal in life to have than that one right there.
Let’s bow our heads.
Father, what we have talked about today is no minor issue. It is the most important thing in life. Getting to know and love You. I realize that there are people here at all different stages in their spiritual journey, some here for the very first time. But help each of us to take the next step that we need to take.
Now, you pray. In your mind say something like this; you don’t have to say it aloud. “Dear God, I wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for you. Forgive me for all the times I think and act like You don’t matter. Today I’ve realized You made me to love me and that the first purpose of my life is to know and love You back. I’m amazed that You long for a relationship with me and I’m amazed You’re interested in the details of my life. But most of all, I’m amazed You would come to earth to die for me. I don’t understand it at all. But I say wow! Please forgive me, God, for not worshipping You. I want to learn how to focus my attention on You throughout my day. I want to turn my work into worship. I want to learn to love you with a love that You deserve, thoughtfully with my mind, passionately with my heart and soul and practically with my abilities. When I go back to work on Monday, I’m going to be working for You, doing my job as if You are the boss.”
If you have never opened up your life to Jesus Christ, why don’t you add this sentence, “Jesus, thank You for giving Your life for me. As much as I know how, I want to give my life back to You. In Your name I pray, Amen.”
PLANNED FOR GOD’S PLEASURE
The Purpose Driven Life – Part 2
Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif.
October 5-6, 2002
"You (God) created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created." Rev. 4:11b (NLT)
“Love the Lord your God... This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matt. 22:37-38 (NIV)
MY 1st purpose IN LIFE is to WORSHIP GOD.
“Because of God’s great mercy to us... Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him. This is the true worship that you should offer.” Rom. 12:1 (TEV)
1. WORSHIP is MY RESPONSE to God’s love.
2. WORSHIP is GIVING BACK to God.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12: 30 (NCV)
GOD WANTS ME TO LOVE HIM...
THOUGHTFULLY “with my mind”
PASSIONATELY “with my heart and soul”
PRACTICALLY “with my strength”
1. WORSHIP IS FOCUSING MY ATTENTION ON GOD.
“You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working...You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.” Ps. 139:1-3 (CEV)
“Focusing on yourself is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, and ends up thinking more about self than God.” Rom. 8:7 (Msg)
“Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.” Rom. 12:2a (Msg)
“Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.” Matt 6:6 (Msg)
“Worship Him continually.” Ps. 105:4 (TEV)
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!” Isa. 26:3 (NLT)
2. WORSHIP IS EXPRESSING MY AFFECTION TO GOD.
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (KJV)
“I don't want your sacrifices -- I want your love! I don't want your offerings --I want you to know Me!” Hosea 6:6 (LB)
“He is a God who is passionate about His relationship with you.” Ex. 34:14b (NLT)
“Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.” Rom. 6:13 (NLT)
3. WORSHIP IS USING MY ABILITIES FOR GOD.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” Col. 3:23 (TEV)
“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” Rom. 12:1a (Msg)
“So we make it our goal to please Him...” 2 Cor. 5:9 (NIV)