Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sermon--Made to Worship w/ Baptism

I'm afraid the follow up to the Antogonizing post is going to have to wait a little longer. Here is the message from this past week.

Also, the picture is a man named Mark who was baptized as an infant but felt God's leadership to follow in believer's Baptism--this followed the message.

Here is the audio of this message:

Made to Worship

A few years ago the Chicago Tribune reported the story of a New Mexico woman who was frying tortillas when she noticed that the skillet burns on one of her tortillas resembled the face of Jesus. Excited, she showed it to her husband and neighbors, and they all agreed that there was a face etched on the tortilla and that it truly bore a resemblance to Jesus.

So the woman went to her priest to have the tortilla blessed. She testified that the tortilla had changed her life, and her husband agreed that she had been a more peaceful, happy, submissive wife since the tortilla had arrived. The priest, not accustomed to blessing tortillas, was somewhat reluctant but agreed to do it.

The woman took the tortilla home, put it in a glass case with piles of cotton to make it look like it was floating on clouds, built a special altar for it, and opened the little shrine to visitors. Within a few months, more than eight thousand people came to the shrine of the Jesus of The Tortilla, and all of them agreed that the face in the burn marks on the tortilla was the face of Jesus

Did the experience and actions of the woman in New Mexico and her tortilla qualify as worship? What makes for real worship? How do you know when it’s happened? How do you know when it hasn’t? How do you know when God is pleased with our worship? When can we say that God is not pleased with the way someone is worshiping? These are good questions.

Worship is something you and I are made for.

UBC’s Vision Statement-- To be a worshiping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing His person, and responding in obedience to His leadership

True Worship is Vital
• Cain’s Worship was Rejected because his heart was false before God
• Thousands died as the result of false worship of the Golden Calf
• The city of Jerusalem was defeated as a direct result of idolatry according to Jeremiah 1:16
• Paul says that the “wrath of God” is revealed and justified because of humanity’s tendency to neither “glorify him as God nor give thanks to Him [and because they] exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”
• Worship is something given to us—something that must be freely given for it to be meaningful and accepted. God will receive the glory no matter what—for not only the angels proclaim God’s greatness, but if we do not, the very stones will cry out.

You and I were made to worship—to freely recognize and proclaim the glory of God—to be so aware of Him, to recognize His person and presence in our lives, and Responding to Him.

Something about us should create a yearning to come to the house of the Lord. Our worship should be meaningful, empowered, passionate

a recent song captures the heart of our situation.

Song--You and I were Made to Worship—You and I

Verse 1
Before the day before the light
Before the world revolved around the sun
God on high stepped down into time
And wrote the story
Of His love for everyone

You and I are made to worship
You and I are called to love
You and I are forgiven and free
When you and I embrace surrender
When you and I choose to believe
Then you and I will see
(You and I will see)
Who we were meant to be

An older song does pretty well too.

The Reason I Live
Verse 1
When I look into Your holiness
When I gaze into Your loveliness
When all things that surround
Become shadows in the light of You

I worship You I worship You
The reason I live is to worship You
I worship You I worship You
The reason I live is to worship You

According to John 4:23—God is searching, He desires and wants above all else those people who will worship Him—who will worship Him in Spirit—with their whole being—and in Truth—in a way that recognizes who He really is, and who we really are in light of Him.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

God seeking worshippers is a powerful concept. His Favorite Song of All—

He loves to hear the angels as they sing
"Holy, holy is the Lamb"
(Holy, holy, holy is the Lamb)
Heaven's choirs sing in harmony
Lift up praises to the great "I Am"
(Hallelujah, Hallelujah)
But He lifts His hands for silence
When the wicked, saved by grace, begins to sing
And a million angels listen as a newborn soul sings
"I have been redeemed"

But His favorite song of all
Is the song of the redeemed
When lost sinners now made clean
Lift their voices loud and strong
When those purchased by His blood
Lift to Him a song of love
Nothing more He'd rather hear
Nor so pleasing to His ear
As His favorite song of all

The Bible uses several different words and concepts that are appropriate in terms of Worship.

Humility. The most frequent word in both the Old and New Testaments is one which means to bow down, to prostrate. As the word relates to worship, it denotes a high view of God and a condescending opinion of self. Thus, true worship views God in His perfection and man in his imperfection.

Isaiah 6 is such a picture—Isaiah sees the LORD High and exalted, the train of His robe filling the Temple—and Isaiah is immediately reminded of his sinfulness—he is, I believe, knocked to the ground—

Reverence. Another pair of terms underscores the attitude of reverence. The idea is that of fearing God--the fear of wonder and awe at the majesty and greatness of the infinite, holy God—but don’t sugar coat it and remove all the implications of that word “fear”—I have a healthy fear—awe and respect for a lion from the safe confines of a viewing area at the zoo—but I have a totally different fear—which still includes awe and respect—when I am placed inside the cage with the lion.

Think about it like this--A true story - a woman entered a Haagen-Dazs store on the Kansas City Plaza for an ice-cream cone. After making her selection, she turned and found herself face to face with Paul Newman. He was in town filming a movie. Newman’s blue eyes caused her knees to buckle. She managed to pay for her cone, then left the shop, heart pounding. When she gained her composure, she realized she didn’t have her cone. She started back to the store to get it and met Newman at the door. "Are you looking for your ice-cream cone?" he asked. She nodded, unable to speak. "You put it in your purse with your change."

That would qualify as Misplaced Reverence. When was the last time the presence of God made you weak in the knees? So overwhelmed you that you were unable to speak? Made your heart miss a beat? Made tears stream down your face?

Service. the idea of ‘working, laboring, or serving as worship. In the Old Testament this service was most often priestly service. In the New Testament we are told that we are all priests of God (1 Peter 2:5,9), so that this term does not apply only to the service of the few, but of the entire congregation of believers in Christ.
Matt. 4:10—“Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only”-- Satan was not asking Jesus simply to fall to the ground before him. He was asking the Lord to acknowledge him as sovereign and to surrender to him in service so that everything Jesus would do in life would bring glory and honor to Satan, not the Creator of the Universe.

But don’t make the mistake that is so easily made that anything you do at or for the church qualifies as worship. There are a great many of us that work hard for the Lord, but do not worship Him in their service. It is possible to get so wrapped up in doing that you lose sight of Who you’re doing it for.—Colossians 3:17—“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

In a time when we are encouraged to work for God, let us be reminded that our highest calling is to be worshipers of God and then to be workers. Never let your work for Him come before your worship of Him.
Response. Worship is also a Response . God created us and revealed Himself to us desires us to worship Him. And it is only meaningful when we respond in praise and adoration—when we respond to Who He Is and What He Has Revealed to Us.
If we are not moved by God, if we are unwilling to respond to Him, then we have to question whether we really are worshipping Him, whether we even have a heart of worship.
“We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our love is only a response, only a reflection of God’s love toward us. And so it is with worship. We worship God because He has made Himself known to us and has instructed us to worship Him.
Sacrifice. Giving of yourself—giving of your first and best fruit. In the Old Testament, if you did not bring a sacrifice, an offering—you could not participate in true worship.
But that idea is not lost in the New Testament.
In the New Testament the idea of sacrifice is still prominent in worship, but rather than the sacrifice of offerings it is the sacrifice of self which is essential.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1).

HEB 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Doing good, sharing with others minus the sacrifice of praise is not truly good worship that is in spirit and in truth.

Proclamation. Who needs to hear the praises of God? God wants to hear us acknowledge Him, desires to hear us worship—but He doesn’t need it—he is no less Holy, no less glorious if we do not worship.
It’s not as if the angels are confused—they know the glory of God—they know He is Worthy

You and I worship—not just to state the obvious but to proclaim it to the uncertain. We come together with a Testimony--Worship is not something that is meant to keep to yourself or even for your benefit—worship is enabled and empowered by God and it is supposed to Attract.

Whenever the people of God celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we do what until He comes? ‘proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes’ (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Our Worship is supposed to Proclaim to those who do not yet know. Our Worship is to be Compelling and Passionate and Invitational--

Psalm 34:3—O Magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together

ZEC 8:20 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, `Let us go at once to entreat the LORD and seek the LORD Almighty. I myself am going.' 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat him."

ZEC 8:23 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, `Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.' "
Worship is the humble response of regenerate men to the self-disclosure of the Most High God. It is based upon the work of God. It is achieved through the activity of God. It is directed to God. It is expressed by the lips in praise and by the life in service.
That’s why Baptism is also an Act of Worship—your baptism is a Proclamation and a Pledge—by being baptized you have Recognized God revealing Himself and your sin, by being baptized you have Responded to Him and Accepted His Gift of Forgiveness and Eternal Life—by being baptized you have Pledged your life to be a disciple and devote yourself to pleasing Him in all you say and do. Baptism is a proclamation and pledge—first to God, to the body of Christ, and even to those who have never received Christ—that you have been bought with a price, that you have turned away from your old life and are living as a new creation—

That’s why being baptized as a believer is so important—baptized with full knowledge and consent—someone else cannot speak for you—someone else cannot worship in your place—someone else cannot make the decision for you—
Baptism is a symbol of a decision—a decision to follow Christ and to trust in His salvation.
Worship is our highest calling. “Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully enjoy Him forever.” Worship is the occupation of eternity.

1. Exalting - God is glorified, adored.
2. Exemplifying - we as believers, are purified (Ps. 24:4,5)
3. Edifying - The church body is built up- only makes sense, that as individuals are drawing near to God, we are drawing near to each other and becoming a stronger church.
4. Evangelizing - When people see our genuine worship of God, in our daily lives as well as corporately, they will want to know the God and the Savior we so affectionately and carefully follow and has changed our lives.

Do you believe that Jesus died on the Cross to purchase your freedom, that He was buried and yet risen from the dead in Victory and Glory?

Have you received the gift of forgiveness through the blood of Jesus which covers over your sin?

Do you pledge to live the remainder of your life as a growing disciple of Jesus Christ who seeks to please, honor and glorify Him all you say and do?

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