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Worship: A Commitment . . . Not a War, Part One, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2022 7:05 am

Worship: A Commitment . . . Not a War, Part One, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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April 29, 2022 7:05 am

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On Sunday morning, what's the primary focus of our worship? He's all glorious above. We're commanded to worship the one who is all glorious above. To bow down before him, offer him all of our praise, and ascribe to him his worth. In doing so, we gratefully sing of his wonderful love. His robe is the light whose canopy is space.

Is that great word or what? The canopy of space is filled with the living God. Every Sunday morning, unified believers gather in community to worship God. Sending our praises upward and raising our voices to the canopy of space filled with the living God should be an anticipated highlight of our week. But sometimes the manner in which we worship can cause disagreements in the body and sometimes escalates into controversy. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll invites us to open our Bibles to find the essential ingredients of worshiping God.

He titled this next message, Worship, A Commitment, Not a War, Part 1. And we begin with prayer. In a harsh world that has lost its way, it's wonderful to come into your presence, Father, having been introduced to this time with what has filled the Godhead since eternity past.

That is the profound sounds of silence. Silence softens us and makes us tender. It helps prepare our souls for the sowing of the seed.

It helps us forget the stuff of life that has drained our energy and has often added to our worry list. Forgive us, Father, for all of those wasted hours when we forgot to trust You or when we failed to rely on You. We come to You today as a group of sheep looked to a shepherd. We come because we are inadequate in ourselves.

We come because we are incompetent to manufacture a deity, nor should we even try. We come to worship You and to adore You and to let You know how worthy we believe You are, worthy of our worship and our praise. And we would turn to no other, Father.

We would listen to You and we would follow You. We've fallen in love with Your Son. He has enraptured us, having captured our hearts. We thank You for Jesus, for releasing Him to us even though this harsh world didn't want Him and didn't esteem Him so few ever followed Him.

That's still true, but we do, and we find great delight in doing so. So fill this place with Your presence again so that we might be lost in wonder and love and praise. In the soft and tender presence of our God, we worship You. In the name of Your Son, Christ.

Everyone said, Amen. God's house is a house of worship. We who are parts of His body are bodies of worship. We are never more fulfilled and satisfied than when that worship is pure and clean and consistent.

Jesus addresses the subject of worship in the fourth chapter of John, which I'd like to have you turn for a few moments. My mind is on a couple of verses tucked away in the center of the chapter, but those verses sit in a context that are helpful to understand. In the context, we have a Jewish man talking to a Samaritan woman in Samaria.

Two things are scandalous. First, that a man would talk to a woman in the first century in any sense of dignity and honor, which he did. And second, that a Jew would be found in Samaria of all places.

No geographical spot was more hated than Samaria by the Jews. But here Jesus is standing alongside a woman who has brought her pot to the well to draw water, and He, in the process, tells her of her life. She's made a mess of her life. The story can be picked up about verse 16, where He said to her, So call your husband and come here. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband. For you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband.

This you have said truly. She's suddenly exposed. She says, I perceive you're a prophet. Indeed, He was. He is.

He knew everything about her. In fact, she goes on to say some religious things. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. She says, we're told that if people worship, they need to worship in Jerusalem.

She wants to get off the subject of her life. And so He decides He will address worship. She says, we understand that Jerusalem is where you go to worship. We believe it's at this mountain. The first thing Jesus clarifies is worship is not connected with a place.

Jerusalem, mountain, wherever. Look at His words in verse 21. Woman, believe me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall you worship the Father.

He goes further. You worship that which you do not know. He has the audacity to tell her, you're not connecting with the living God. You worship one whom you do not even know. We worship that which we know for salvation is from the Jews. That isn't an arrogant statement.

It's an accurate one. Trace it all the way back to Abraham and fast forward to the days of Jesus, and you will find the line of the Jews is the line of salvation. It came first to the Jews and through the Jews.

Only by God's grace did it expand to Gentiles like us. But it began with them, and He speaks the truth. So the second thing He clarifies is that worship is not a mystical groping in the dark, hoping to reach some deity, whoever he or it may be. It is a clear, definitive, conscious connection with the living God. He says to her, you worship one you don't even know.

He's not being ugly. He's being accurate. People need accurate information. He told them with compassion. In fact, He goes on to say, an hour is coming and now is when the true worshiper shall worship the Father.

There it is. Worship the Father in spirit and in truth, but He doesn't stop there. Such people, that's you and me, that includes you and me, such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers.

What a great thought. God seeks my worship. I awaken in the morning. God seeks my worship.

I'm living my life through the day. God seeks my worship. I come to Sunday morning and I'm involved in preparing for and delivering His message. He seeks my worship in doing so and your life the same, whatever the details may be. He seeks my worship. He wants me to worship Him as I drive my car. He wants me to worship Him as I rear my family. He wants me to worship Him as I work alongside my wife. He wants me to worship Him when I am alone or when I'm with others. He wants my worship. He wants my worship. So that brings us to the question of what is worship? What does it mean when He says the Father seeks worshippers? Worship comes from the old Anglo-Saxon worth-ship, w-o-r-t-h, ship, worth-ship. The th was dropped and it has become worship.

It means to attribute worth to someone or something. More specifically, when referring to our God, we're attributing supreme worth to Him who alone is worthy of it. When we worship, we do that. We do it in silence. We do it in our hearts. We do it with our words. We do it with our songs. We do it when we play our instruments.

We do it corporately. We do it individually, but we come before Him, attributing to Him supreme worth. The purpose of the church is to cultivate worshippers.

It isn't a place to make business contacts. It's a place where we learn about our God so that our worship of Him becomes increasingly deeper and more meaningful and understandable. God is reachable. God's love is pervading our presence and it is there for us to respond to Him in our praise and in our worship. That reminds me of Acts chapter 2, if you'll go there, and you will see a body of people who worship.

Acts 2.41 comes on the heels of Peter's sermon where he's delivered the gospel. What is the gospel? It is that Christ died for our sins on the cross. He paid the complete penalty for our sins, nothing left to be paid by anyone. Christ paid it all. It means also that when He went to the grave after He died, shortly thereafter He was raised from the dead bodily and miraculously, and He still lives.

He died for my sins and the sins of the world, and He has been raised victorious over sin and the grave and death. By believing in Jesus Christ, who died for me and was raised, I am born again, and so are all who do so. Peter has presented the message, and we read in verse 41, that they received His word.

The term means to welcome. They heard it, they understood it, they believed it. And we read, they were baptized. As a result of believing the gospel, they were then baptized. Now imagine, it says at the end of the verse there were about 3,000 souls. And what did they do? They did worship.

How do I know? They continually devoted themselves. If I may play off those words, worship is not a half-hearted, haphazard activity where, with a sort of a shrug, I think about religious things. No, it's a devoting of myself. When I prepare my message because I am a worshiper, I prepare with devotion. I work over words. I shape the words so that they fit together in a way that makes sense as best I can. I do it through prayer. I do it through research.

I do it with time. Not to call attention to me, but you deserve that. More importantly, God deserves that. Because this is an act of worship, the delivering of this message. And you involved in listening to it, you are involved as well. So we are devoting ourselves, not half-heartedly, but with a full heart to those things that are worthy of our time and attention. So they're doing that. Also to the teaching. As I'm going through this passage of scripture, if not literally, at least mentally, you have your finger on the text of scripture.

And you're leaving it there. Because you are serious about the word of God. That's an act of worship.

You are focused on him and you are listening to his word and it is replacing false information or maybe traditional information, half true and half not, with accurate information. So the teaching of the word becomes your nourishment. So they devoted themselves to teaching and to fellowship. Meaningful relationships. They got together, not just to sip on tea and coffee and eat a sandwich, though there's nothing wrong with that.

I've been doing that all my life, you can tell by looking. But the point is, they had all these things in common. And they shared them in common with one another. It's an act of worship.

You know what? Worship will add a dimension to relationships that goes beyond. It transcends friendship. That's why when you are with other believers and you have similar things in common and you enjoy them together, you say when it's over, I wish that would have never ended. It was so good. It was just great.

You know why? The presence of the Lord was in the fellowship. And the breaking of bread, I think it means meal times as well as the bread and the cup. Remember at the end of their meals they would preserve or reserve a part of the loaf and some of the wine for the bread and the cup and they would remember the Savior's body and blood. Why else would we give the blessing at our meals? It's a sacred act. That's a new thought for some of you. Your meals are acts of worship. Now, having said that, let me urge you to be a little creative. Try praying maybe at the end of the meal. What a new thought, huh? How about in the middle of it just pausing and saying, let's pause right now and let's give God thanks for this delicious soup.

This is wonderful. And so we thank the Lord. Sometime we sing our prayer. And it's good to do that when you're at home rather than out at, you know, a restaurant somewhere breaking into some song.

And teach your children to do this. I was serving a church years ago at another place at another time and they had traditionally done the doxology. Service didn't start without the doxology. I mean, it was as it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be. World without end, the doxology at the beginning. So I said, let's do it at the end. You'd have thought I'd cancel the rapture.

It was amazing. I had a fellow literally say to me, I didn't know it would work at the end. Work is a doxology. Add some variety to your prayer at the meal times. It'll enhance your worship.

It'll wipe the scales off your eyes. It's refreshing. And they took their meals together, the breaking of bread and prayer, of course. It's a time of prevailing and purposeful, heartfelt intercession. No cliches, no empty repetitions. They connected.

You know why? Their friends were being killed for the gospel. They remembered families in prayer. They remembered people in prayer, those that had gone into prison for their faith. They prayed for them. It was a worshipful act. It'll transform our prayer life. Surely the presence of the Lord is in our prayers.

And look at the result, 43. I love the way it begins. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe.

What is that? You can't put it into words. That's why it's a sense of awe. Now, everything in me wants to now explain it to you. But I can't explain it to you.

I just know when it's not there. And you do too. Let me give you a checkpoint for any time you are at worship at Stonebriar Community Church. If you have left and not worshiped, and let's say it's not your fault, let's say you came genuinely desirous of worship and it wasn't really leading you in worship, we have failed.

We have failed you. Now, worship is a reciprocal thing when it's corporate worship. There's the sharing, there's the giving, there's the receiving.

And we do this together, but you have every reason to expect that every gathering is a worship gathering. Your soul needs to be nourished. Your heart needs to be lifted up. There needs to be this sense of awe. That's why some say, when the service is over, I don't want to get up.

Why? There's nothing magical about the seats. You know what's amazing? It's the sense of awe. It's the presence of God. They kept feeling, they kept feeling a sense of awe. And look next, there were signs and wonders carried out by the apostles that no one could explain.

There were miracles that happened. Right in their midst. And those who believed were together and there wasn't any status symbol and there weren't any ranks. And they had all things in common. Verse 46, day by day, continuing with one mind, look at the harmony. In the temple, they met there and they worshiped.

From house to house, they worshiped. And they were taking their meals together and there was gladness. I love that. It wasn't somber. Like, whoo, this is so serious all the time. Some of it is serious, but some of it is hilarious. God is in our laughter. He's in our joy. Why has it been reduced to the local bar? How come that's the only place where you get laughter? When did it leave the church? Wonderful expression of worship is our laughter.

It's contagious. They had gladness and the sincerity of heart. I know I'm pointing out what probably seems obvious to many of you, but we race over this and we miss the presence of the Lord is what ignited all of this. I was thinking as we were singing or worshiped the King and knowing we would be doing that, I wrote down some thoughts.

You realize what you're saying today? Did you connect with the words of that grand old hymn? Did it occur to you that the title is a command? Worship the King.

In fact, the vocative makes it a very strong command. Oh, worship the King. Listen, worship the King.

Did you when you sang it? He's all glorious above. We're commanded to worship the one who is all glorious above, to bow down before him, offer him all of our praise and ascribe to him his worth. In doing so, we gratefully sing of his wonderful love. We tell of his might.

Whose might? The King's might. We sing of his grace. Whose grace? The King's grace. Whose robe is the light? Whose canopy's space?

Is that great word or what? The canopy of space is filled with the living God. That's in the song. That's what we sing to him. His chariots of wrath, the deep thunderclouds form.

Dark is his path on the wings of the storm. But is that all there is to our God? There's so much more.

So much more. Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite. It breathes in the air. It shines in the light.

Get this. It streams from the hills. It descends to the plain and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain. The writer is a wordsmith. He gives us words for worship. And if we're not careful, we'll sing them just because we've heard them throughout our lives. They're worship songs. It can be a chorus written two weeks ago. It can be a hymn written five centuries ago. It's a statement of worship put to rhythm and music. And the tune is to tune our hearts to sing his grace. As we finished our tour, we ended with come thou fount of every blessing. Tune my heart to sing thy grace.

Streams of mercy never ceasing. Call for songs of loudest praise. People began to stand up.

They just stood up. Teach me some melodious sonnet. And that great line toward the end. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. I looked at the woman next to me who was sitting there with her head in her hands. She was worshiping because she knew she was prone to wander and maybe had.

Prone to leave the God she loves. And so am I. And so are you. It occurred to me about this time that I don't have time to finish my message.

Which is always a bane. It's too important for us to rush through it. So we'll pause here. We'll meet again.

Okay? Bow with me, will you, please? We who tend to worship our work and work at our play and play at our worship have been caught up short today with a reminder that God seeks our worship. Regardless of your level of maturity, color, culture, geographical background, morality or lack of it.

Regardless of your occupation, your financial status, none of that's important. What's important is that you know the Savior. We worship you, our Father. We're doing how to do that. Some of us are late arriving. We've been busy with the urgent. So help us now clear away the debris that the urgent brings so that we might sit before you and do the important.

I ask in Jesus' name. Amen. Now, just before our time is gone, let's take a moment to thank those of you who share your comments with us. At Insight for Living, we truly enjoy hearing how God is working in your life. Let me encourage you with a recent note that read, Chuck, I've been listening to you since the mid 1970s. You led my husband and me out of legalism.

We've since become part of a Bible based and grace focused church. Moments like these are made possible because loyal friends like you support Insight for Living. And if God is prompting you to give a contribution, give us a call.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Today, we're especially mindful of the countless people in and around Ukraine who are suffering with unwanted circumstances. As they do, I'll remind you that for many years, Insight for Living has been speaking into this part of the world. We've done so through Chuck's Bible teaching, and into languages such as Polish and Romanian. These ministries are part of our long range strategic plan to make disciples for Jesus Christ in all 195 countries of the world. Our office in the United States, along with our other international offices, are allocating funds as able to our Polish and Romanian offices to help ease what physical suffering we can, and to help offer spiritual comfort in the love and power of Christ.

To give a donation to Insight for Living's General Ministry Fund, go to slash donate. Remember, you can supplement your Sunday morning church attendance by joining us online for live worship at Stonebriar Community Church. In addition to hearing Chuck's sermon, you'll get to hear the sacred music as well. You'll find all the instructions for viewing at slash Sundays. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues to explain how to de-escalate the worship wars in your church. Monday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Worship, A Commitment, Not a War, Part 1, was copyrighted in 2008 and 2010, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-25 16:05:07 / 2023-04-25 16:14:49 / 10

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