From Pastor Johnny

A Worship Definition

          Not long ago I went to a worship gathering.  As the music played, people stood and raised their hands in the air.  They sang along with the words.  At certain times they even shouted in response to the service.  As messages were shared over the sound system the crowd responded with heads nodding, shouts, and even hands clapping.  It was certainly an exciting worship service.  In fact, it was a very good football game.  

          Ladies and gentlemen, we will worship someone or something.  Our lives and attention will be used to worship.  It is critical that we understand the biblical definition and description of worship.  God defines and describes true worship for us in Romans 12:1. 

          In the Book of Romans Paul wrote to the church in Rome to inform them of his intent to travel there some day.  His plan was to spend time with the Roman Christians, then utilize that church as a support to launch the Gospel into what is modern day Spain but was controlled by Roman Empire at that time.   He wrote ahead to them to clarify the Gospel he preached. 

          His letter contained two major sections.  First, was laying out the Gospel and doctrine of salvation that he preached that covered Romans 1-11. Second, was making practical application 12-16. 

 LOOK  (I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God...) 

           The Apostle Paul begins Romans 12:1 by exhorting and passionately urging the believers to consider God’s mercies.  Some true believers may have had shortcomings in their worship, so his calling to Christians was to fix their worship by first viewing the full mercies of God.  Paul knew that seeing this full expression of God’s mercies for any believer would have a powerful impact. 

          There is something remarkable about looking truly into the mercies of a phenomenally merciful God.  When I look into something that is overwhelming, no one has to tell me to be overwhelmed.  When I see something that is awesome, no one has to tell me to be in awe.  The reason many Christians have trouble yielding their entire lives to God is that they have never really looked into how merciful He is.   

          One day Jesus was walking down the road with people all around him.  People were calling him, wanting him, and following him.  It was like a parade route as he walked down the street. 

          At one point, a wealthy, despised, short, tax collector named Zaccheus sought to see Jesus in person.   Because he was short, and had no one who liked him enough to let him into the parade route, he climbed up in a tree.  Zaccheus saw Jesus, and Jesus saw Zaccheus.  Jesus called Zaccheus down, and they went to Zaccheus’ house.  Somewhere along the way, Zaccheus was converted and became a follower of Jesus Christ.  

          His reaction to conversion and seeing Christ was dramatic, and he began giving money away and ministering to others in a remarkably generous way.  No one had to tell Zaccheus to be excited about being loved by the most popular man in town.   Nobody liked Zaccheus and everyone hated him.   Jesus loved him.  When Zaccheus got one look at this, he went nuts.  No one had to tell him to do that. 

          The drastic behavioral change for Zaccheus came out of his view into Christ’s mercies.  When Zaccheus saw fully God’s mercies, it changed everything. 

          Some might have a hard time having any real excitement about preaching, singing to God, or obeying God because they have seen all of God’s mercies.   Ask God to help you see all of God’s great mercies. 

What is Worship? Conclusion - "Reflecting Sanctification

By Reflecting Sanctification:

  “...that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

               As we grow in sanctification, then believers have the capability of testing and proving that which is the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  The more these good, acceptable, and perfect things enter our lives then the more we look, sound, and act like Christ, because he is controlling us.             

              There should be an increasing likeness to the image of Christ as we learn what to allow in and what NOT to allow in to our lives.  There should NOT be an increasing staleness, coldness, impatience or deadness to our faith the longer we are saved.  In fact, the opposite should be true.  If we are being renewed in our minds, then there will be an increasing level of kindness, patience, goodness, gentleness and meekness.  The Spirit of God will have permeated every part of your life and actions.

              My bride buys these little specialty candles.  She sets them on fire and they emit some of the sweetest smelling odor you will ever smell.  Not only that, but after the candle has been extinguished, I find that the sweet aroma lingers and stays in our house for days.  The more Elissa burns those candles then the more the aroma permeates our house.

              The longer a person lives as a child of God, then the more the life should prove the glory of God.  The longer a person walks in the Spirit of God, then the more his or her life should prove to people the reality of Him.  God’s purpose for being a worshiper is that – over time – a life and everything about it would emit a sweet, sweet savor to all those around.

 CONCLUSION

              God has a definite direction for His worshipers.  The purpose of worship is so that, as a person increasingly walks with God, we look more like Him.

       Super-Size Me is a 2004 documentary based on Morgan Spurlock’s adventure. From February 1, 2003 to March 2, 2003 he ate nothing but McDonalds food 3 times a day.  In that time He gained 24 pounds, increased his body fat by 13%, raised his cholesterol and experience severe mood swing.        

              It is like 2Cor. 3:18. “I have to do nothing to get a suntan other than bask in the sun. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Worship? Part 2 - "Renewing the Saint"

By Renewing the Saint

 “...and be transformed by the renewing of your mind...”

             The idea in this phrase is a mind that is continually being renewed and is consistently being a vehicle to spiritual transformation.  The word for transformation in this verse is translated “metamorphosis.”  The idea is being changed from one form to another.  Once we are born-again, God’s intention is to completely change us from who we are to who we will be.

            This plan of transformation is accomplished through the vehicle of our minds. The direction of worship for every born-again person involves a daily renewing of the mind leading to spiritual transformation.

            Worship, as a lifestyle, involves consistently allowing my mind to be washed with the Word of God.  The washing – or renewing – begins making my life increasingly reflect the character and conduct of Jesus Christ.        

            Rather than being pressed and conformed into the mold of the world and its intentions, Christians are to be changed by Christ from the inside out.  Being renewed by the Spirit of God from the inside out is part of God’s direction for worship.     

           In the 1950’s social psychologist Solomon Asch performed what is now a famous experiment on the social pressure of conformity people feel. Groups of 12 people were brought into a room, but 11 of them worked for his institute and 1 was an actual participant – thinking that everyone in the room was just like him.  These groups of 12 were asked a series of simple questions, to which there was almost no incorrect answers by the one.

            However, they were then shown four lines. One of those lines sat by itself, and the other 3 were varying lengths.  Out of the 3 lines, one only matched the length of the first.  The 11 members of the institute were told to answer incorrectly on this line question, but all answer the same. The one non-institute member in each group was then left with a dilemma.  

            They had to decide which two were the same length and publicly vote for their choice.  Person after person after person (11 in all) voted for the wrong line—because they had all been told to ahead of time. The one individual who was in the dark could not imagine how in the world all these seemingly normal people could all choose the wrong line.  When it was his turn to vote, he had to decide, “Do I go with what I know my senses are telling me, or do I go with the crowd?”  Over 30% of those tested caved in to group pressure and changed their vote to agree with their peers.                

            We will either be conformed by this world system or we will be transformed.  The world works from the outside and God works from the inside out.  When we are renewing our minds, we are in the best possible position to see God work inside out on us.  This is a direction of worship through us for our God.

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