Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sermon from Sunday: Simple.Worship (This is from October 27th)

Will this time of worship have been your first this week…or your last?  Let me rephrase the question just to make sure you get it.  Is worshipping this morning a continuation of a life of worship you have lived this week so that this is another day of worshipping God for you or is worshipping this morning the first time you have worshipped all week long.
We have this skewed notion that worship is something that happens just on Sunday morning.  Maybe it’s the church’s fault, maybe it’s pastors faults for not teaching a more complete biblical understanding of worship, maybe it’s the fault is that of most Christians…whatever the case, to relegate worship to something that just happens on Sunday morning is heresy.  Yes…it is heresy.  Now I hope worship happens on Sunday morning, but I also hope that you are a living a life of worshipping God. 
Let me put it to you this way.  I love my wife and I think spending time together is important for our relationship.  So I only spend one hour, one day a week with her.  I want the relationship to grow and be healthy and I’m committed to her I’m considered a married man and so I give her one hour a week once a week.  Because that’s how important she is in my life.  That’s ridiculous right.  That marriage if it lasted would not be a very good marriage.
That’s how we treat worshipping God.  We are “committed Christians” trying to live life in a way that honors God and yet the only time we ever give Him to work on our faith and worship him is one hour on Sunday mornings.  I’m sorry, if you go to Sunday School it’s 2 hours on Sunday morning.   
If we treated our marriages like we treat our worship to God, our marriages would fall apart.  And some of you wonder why you struggle with resisting temptation and making good decisions and feeling the presence of God and knowing the purpose God has for you on this earth.  Maybe if you worshipped him more than just once a week, maybe if you actually spent time in the word and in prayer, maybe if you actually made an intentional commitment to work on your relationship with God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit some of those things you wrestle with would be resolved.  You want to live the abundant life that Jesus promised, you want joy, you want hope, you want to feel God’s presence in your life…you have got to make worship a lifestyle, you’ve got to be deliberate in worshipping God daily and not just on Sunday mornings.
Lets take a look together at what worship looks like from the book of Isaiah.  To keep worship simple here’s the answer to the question: what is worship?  Worship is simply revelation and response.  The Revelation of who God is and our response to that revelation.  So that the more we get who God is the bigger and better our response.  When we realize God is the creator of everything and holy and good and just and in charge of everything that happens in this world…when our revelation of who God is is as big as it should be…our response will be to worship him daily and live for him daily and make good decisions and do the things that honor him.  We see this truth that worship is revelation and response clearly in Isaiah’s calling found in Isaiah 6:1-8.  See if you can pick out the ways the author offers the revelation of who God is and the response of Isaiah: 
            There is so much imagery in this text about the revelation of who God is.  Did you notice it?  He see’s the Lord and here’s the description.  Here’s the revelation of who God is.
-High and exalted:  God is above and over everything.  His placement in the temple is an illustration of who is on the earth.  He is the God most High...in Hebrew he is el elyon.
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High -(Psalm 7:17).
You, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods -(Psalm 97:9).
In Zechariah’s song we see a reference to God being the most high:
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him -(Luke 1:76).

-Seated on a throne
The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. -Psalm 11:4

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. -Hebrews 4:16

-The train of his robe filled the temple
The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. -Psalm 93:1

This idea of the robe is about his majesty and priestliness…again holiness.  His robe is not limited by time and space…it fills the entire temple.  And again, the temple is where the presence of God dwells and by extension the imagery here is that this earth is in a sense his temple.  And his robe is his presence.  So the big word here is that God is omnipresent.  He is everywhere at once.
-Seraphim were above him singing of his holiness of his glory
Let them praise your great and awesome name— he is holy. -Psalm 99:3
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

After the Israelites flee Egypt and cross the Red sea part of they’re song in Exodus 15 is this.
Who among the gods
    is like you, Lord?
Who is like you—
    majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
    working wonders?
-Exodus 15:11

Over and over again in scripture we see this idea of holiness and glory and majesty about who God is.
-The place was filled with smoke and it trembled
In Exodus 19 we see smoke and the trembling of the land when God’s presence is there…Moses has obeyed God and called the Israelites to approach Mt. Sinai and it says this:
18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 

            There are several other areas throughout scripture where we see fire and smoke and the earth shaking as the presence of God descends.
            All of these images are deeply biblical and would have been familiar to the Jewish readers of the book of Isaiah.  They would have known that the point of the author was to bring about revelation of who God is.  He is king – on a throne – he is holy – the Seraphim sing of that – he sees and knows everything – the train of his robe fills the temple just as his presence fills the earth.
            Isaiah gets quite the grandiose revelation of who God is doesn’t he?  Did you notice his response?  He recognizes right away the bigness and holiness and glory of God and the first thing he notices when this is revealed to him is his own humanity.  His own weakness.  His own sin.  “Woe to me, I am ruined for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among people who are unclean.”  The revelation of who God is creates a humble response in Isaiah of unworthiness.
            And so God sends the Seraphim, this angel like creature with a hot coal from the altar puts it on the lips of Isaiah and makes him clean.  Once again the revelation of who God is…is a God who cares about his people.  He does for us what we can’t do for ourselves.  Isaiah could not get clean before God on his own, only God could make him clean.  And once he is clean and his sin is atoned for and forgiven…then God asks not rhetorically, but looking for a sincere answer…whom shall I send?  And Isaiah after the revelation of who God is and who was and now who is after this encounter says with confident humility – Here I am, send me.”  The revelation of who God is makes Isaiah response to the call on his life a resounding here I am send me.
            Now, we can’t normalize this worship experience can we?  I mean how many of you have ever seen seraphim or been touched on the lips by a hot coal from the altar of the Lord himself.  Right.  This is not a typical worship scenario at Catawba Methodist or at any other church around the world.  However, it is a perfect example of revelation and response.
            If you view God as big and holy and grand and majestic as this scripture paints him to be, I have a feeling that your response will be much bigger than it has been.
            In Matthew 15 Jesus quotes Isaiah in reference to the Pharisees and says
            This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.
Matthew 15:8–9)

            The Pharisees problem was not their desire to please God and fulfill the law…they had good motives most of them.  Their problem was that their revelation of who God was started with the law and not with love.  So that their worship to God was in vain.  They honored God with their lips but their hearts were far from him.  When you were singing this morning, was your heart far from God or were you really worshipping him?
            Were you thinking about what you have to do this week or about how you don’t like this song or about the haircut of the person in front of you?  Or were you really worshipping Jesus and thinking about what a friend you have in Him and how thankful you are for the things God has done for you and so to God be the glory in everything?
            Worship is revelation and response.  The deeper and bigger and more consistent you are in pursuing the revelation of who God is, the bigger and deeper and greater your response will be.  And for those of you who are parents of children still living in your house…the greater your revelation of who God is, the greater their revelation of who God is.  You want your children to live a life responding to the call of who God on their lives.  You want your children live a life that honors God.  It starts with you living it out in your home and worshipping God in your home.  Do you pray together as a family?  Do you do family devotions together?  Do you take time to see a sunset or a beautiful moon and verbally thank God for creating such beauty?  Are you revealing God in the way you live your life to your children…because if you are not you are doing them a great disservice.  It is your responsibility as a parent to instill faith in your children…it is not the church’s job to do that.  The Church should come along beside you and support you and be a part of your child’s growth in their faith…but it starts with what you do and don’t do in the home because your influence is everyday, the church typically gets one day a week.    
            Worship is revelation and response that has to be practiced more than just on Sunday mornings.  Amen.

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