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May 27, 2021 1:00 am
Real worship is not about how it makes us feel. Genuine worship is ascribing worth to God—whether we feel like it or not. We need some straight talk about what worship really is, and why it takes discipline to worship God properly.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
One reason for us.
Jesus phone number for real worship is not about how it makes us feel genuine worship is about describing worth to God whether we feel like it or not. Today some straight talk about what worship really is and why it takes discipline to worship God properly. Moody Church in Chicago this morning with Dr. when Sir was clear teaching make it across the finish line after Luther these days. We have worship team to perform for us in church is the real meaning of worship being secured in any way will you know Dave, the answer to that question is yes, if that's all that happened sometimes worship teams can be mightily used of the Lord if they involve the congregation if they lead the congregation but worship should always be a communal effort. That's not to say that we can't worship God alone. Of course, but in church we worship God together and you know speaking about music. It has a tremendous ability to heal the soul.
Some of you are going through times of grief and loneliness. You've lost a loved one call that of course has taken the lives of many people. Perhaps you've lost a child. Perhaps you've lost a marriage and you may be grieving today I given a lecture entitled finding purpose in grief and loneliness. Let me tell you that I believe this will be a great blessing to you and to others because it gives us the opportunity to look back and to see what God is doing. Yes, but how to process all this.
It's available in the CD or DVD, and here's what you do for a gift of any amount.
Go to RTW offer.com RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 I'm going to be giving you that info again because right now I want us to listen carefully as we think about true worship want you to know that everybody worships atheists worship they may worship themselves. They may worship pleasure or money, but everybody worships the question is not really whether we will worship, but rather what we will worship or who we will worship we have some myths about worship that need to be exploded. One of the myths is that worship is a matter of place. All that you have to do is to show up at the right place at the right time and somehow worship will happen automatic, not so Jesus. In fact, speaking to the woman at the well said that the time used to be that people would only worship in Jerusalem, but now you can worship all over the world in spirit and in truth and you can worship in strange places and you can worship in places where there may not be a lot of aesthetics, but you can still worship and and just because you come to a place where worship happens doesn't mean that you will worship. I had somebody say one time. You know, our church meets in a warehouse.
He said, and I just can't worship in a place like that, but we all maybe wish that we could worship in a Gothic cathedral. If you know anything about architecture.
You know that the Gothic style immediately your eyes go toward the skies and you see the tall narrow high windows and you see the beautiful pillars and light is let in because the whole intention was to give people a taste of heaven.
While they were on earth, we were in Notre Dame this summer and we saw that a great Gothic church, a famous Gothic church. I want you to notice that I do realize that it's possible to be in a place like that and not worship even if you are looking up. Enjoying the architecture.
It isn't simply a matter of place.
It isn't simply a matter of ritual hearing, the right words, or even singing the right song preps of the greatest myth is that worship is all about me. Do I enjoy it. There was a rabbi, to whom some people came in they said you know we don't like the liturgy because it doesn't express how we feel, change the liturgy and he said the real issue isn't whether or not the liturgy expresses the way in which you feel, but whether or not you bring your feelings in line with the liturgy that we of course have theological differences with the rabbi, but he was really on to a point. The issue isn't really how do I feel the feelings are is it are important as we shall see but but the real issue is whether or not God is honored and whether your heart is right so that God can be honored by you worship in its most basic form, is worth ship we are describing worth and praise to God and therefore, it is really a God thing. First and foremost and you and I are blessed in the process and we finally find out why we were created, but that's a secondary benefit. The real question is, was God honored Eugene Peterson said these words. Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God. Worship is the time and place that we assign for deliberate attentiveness to God. Not because he is confined to time and place, but because our self-importance is so insidiously relentless. But if we don't deliberately interrupt ourselves regularly. We will have no chance of attending to him.
At other times and in other places. Worship is attending to God. I love the phrase we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves. Now the question is how do we worship, how do we learn to worship how does worship become a transforming experience. That's the agenda for the next few moments in the Old Testament we have a marvelous example of how worship is to be conducted. In fact, if you take your Bibles and turn for a moment, to the ninth chapter of Hebrews I say Hebrews because Hebrews is giving us a summary of what was taking place in the Old Testament, you'll notice it says in chapter 9 verse one of Hebrews. Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary you notice it says that the first covenant had regulations for worship.
The priest didn't say to themselves will all we have to do is to show up in worship will happen. There were regulations, there was a procedure and as a result of following that procedure they were entering into the presence of God.
They didn't want to barge into the holy place, or even the holy of holies and say well you know we're here now, let's worship goddesses know there's a procedure to be followed in the next few verses we have a discussion of what is known as the tabernacle, the tabernacle area that worship area was about that 45 feet long and 15 feet wide and it was really you think of it in terms of thirds, one third of it was the holy of holies, where they entered only once a year. The other two thirds was the holy place and in the next verses, the author of Hebrews discusses that and outlines the articles of furniture that is in it but he says in verse eight, the Holy Spirit was showing us by this that the way to the most holy place had not yet been disclosed. As long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration of the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. No permanent sin was taken away in the Old Testament God set it aside and waited for Christ to die and then it says they are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings, external regulations applying until the time of the new order will were in the time of the new order, but you notice that the text says that this was an illustration and so what do we learn from the Old Testament priests regarding worship. If we learn this.
I guarantee this it all changes forever. First of all, when you entered into the worship area before you got actually into the holy place and the holy of holies there was at the courtyard and at the beginning of the courtyard.
The entrance, the first thing that was there was a brazen altar and altar made of brass. In the tabernacle times.
It was about 7.5' x 7.5'. It was a square and about 5 feet high and on that altar sacrifices were continually offered. In fact they had shifts of priests, because the Bible says that the fire was never supposed to go out and what you have is your bowls and you have goats and you have sheep continually being offered.
You say it must've smelled terrible in didn't smell terrible and the reason it smelled so terrible is that God was saying. I want you to know that your sin is terrible and it smells terrible and so symbolically. These were offered literally, but they were symbolic of the coming of Jesus Christ that indicates, in effect, the salvation of the priest. I want you to know that in the New Testament.
This imagery is carried over for us turned to the 12th chapter of the book of Romans Romans chapter 12 and you'll notice it says in verse one. 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. We offer our bodies now. We don't.doesn't want a bunch of dead corpses. But God does want all we are on that altar when that lamb was slain. He came to the end of his own plans for sure when that lamb was slain. He had no more rights. Now he may not have been slain voluntarily. We voluntarily love we give ourselves on this altar and there's a sense of personal yield goodness that we have before we can even really approached God properly. We stop at the altar and we and in the process of yielding what we give to God, we give him our bodies yes, but in the sense we give them ourselves. We give them everything we give them our families. We give them our children both the ones that are following the Lord in the way word once we give him our past.
We give him our future.
We give him our future decisions. We give him our vocation. There is nothing that we take from off the altar, we say we want to be as committed and surrendered as the Lamb died there and that's the way we then prepare for worship so we give our past and our future and all that we are to God not hang onto that for a moment because the next item of furniture that was there in the courtyard area was the labor now. The labor was a bowl of water. A huge bowl Solomon in fact made it such a big bowl that was called actually see and then he had 10 other laborers to it was a basin, and the Bible says that the priest was supposed to wash his hands and wash his feet before he went any further into the presence of God the labor signifies cleanse and you see if our consciences are not cleanse. How are we going to worship God. How are we going to sing the songs of Zion when there's something wrong inside and were out of fellowship. Now let's just make this very practical here somebody who watches a degrading movie on Saturday evening, the conscience is defiled or something going on in there. He doesn't stop at the altar, he doesn't he bypasses the labor before he comes to church because he doesn't really want to deal with this issue now and I do have two humble himself before God. Again, as we comes to church or let suppose the family and our even getting more personal, but suppose the family has an argument before church, especially about getting up and getting into the car on time. All of us can identify you know we had three daughters and at one point all of them were teenagers and I believe in those days we had only one that can you imagine are you starting to get the picture and now you know the pastor wants to get to the church early and everybody else can't figure out why he wants to get there early and you know that sometimes.
Sometimes one of the most on the holy hours of the week is just before church I heard an amen here on the planet and what you find is is that you know the wife God bless her she's trying to get these kids ready and the husband is in the car and he's on the horn and and and wondering like that and then they come to church and they all find their places and now single, holy, holy, holy, let's praise the name and and you there thinking to themselves, I got a resolve this. This isn't right. Why did she do that their minds are far away. They'd not been to the altar recently and they most assuredly have bypassed the labor there's been no cleansing of the conscience and immediately three things happen.
First of all, all joy drains from your heart. How can you rejoice, you have this matter of conscience when there's something that is happening that just has happened or will happen in the future. That's the second thing that happens is immediately your attention and because your attention is drawn away. It's hard to concentrate.
The hymns are there.
Yes, but you see the words but your mind is somewhere else. You can't focus, so three things happen. The joy is gone. The focus is gone and then something far worse happen God is not honored. That's why Jesus said this people they worship me with their lips. There sing in the right songs.
We have no problem with the littered sing in the right songs there say in the right prayers, but their hearts are far from me because they've not been to the altar and to the labor and while I'm on the topic, let me say this, you see, when we come to church on Sunday, we have to recognize that even if during the week. We've been to the altar and the labor. The simple fact is that we pick up dust along the way of life and the priest had to wash himself just before he went into the into the most holy place in the very same way when we come into the sanctuary on a Sunday morning where we are going to worship corporately were going to worship now together.
It is so important to give your self the opportunity and the friend was sitting next to you the opportunity to bow their heads and to make sure that if they haven't been to the labor recently.
Now is the time to do it. Now is the time for confession. Now is the time for yield goodness when you think Dr. Zachary plays the organ before the worship service begins the real reason isn't to give you an opportunity to see whether or not your vocal cords are able to speak loudly enough, despite the music it's to say folks, you know, we are going to be worshiping God. We are going to be singing his praises and we need God to come and tune our hearts to sing his praise. This is our opportunity to say with our lips, exactly the way in which our heart fields and to bring together lip and heart so that we can honor God and so that we can sing together in a way that praises his name. Could I ask you a question.
What did you bring into the sanctuary today that distracted you that was not part of the altar. Did you bypass the labor did you just walk in and save yourself okay. What is the him. What is the Scripture reading kinda participate but you know it it's all out there. It's all dissipation before we come into the most holy place we stopped at the altar, and anything that is unyielding we say Jesus I give this to you. I surrender this to you I give you everything and then we say. I confess my sins to you. I acknowledge and the more honest we are in that confession, the more God begins to pour grace into our soul and we say now I'm in harmony with God, which is what confession means it means to be in agreement with God. Now when I sing the songs, I mean the songs. It isn't a matter of words.
It is also a matter of heart and God is honored third. Now we get to participation. We stopped at the altar. We've gone to the labor now what happens now we begin to participate. Turn to Hebrews chapter 13 just a little further in the text we were in chapter 9 and all too briefly, I might say that now in chapter 13 it says that this in verse 50. What do we do now that we're in the holy place. What do we do now that the worship is actually begun.
After we are prepared 13 verse 15 through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess his name continually.
A sacrifice of praise. Now what we do then is we do this primarily through song primarily through song. In other ways, but certainly the Scripture is another way as seen in today's bulletin but primarily through song. The Bible says we have songs and hymns and spiritual songs and you'll notice in our bulletin today.
I do give you permission to look at it this time while I'm preaching, normally not. But this time it's legal notice him 87 May Jesus Christ be praised. Then we sang. Praise the Lord the heavens adore him.
The course was worthy of worship and then think of the songs of worship that are special soloist brought to us today. Everything was God directed everything was praise Jesus everything I want my because the Bible says we bring to him the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips and primarily nonexclusively but primarily all of the music should be God directed all over the country. People asked me and I was moody church fact I was in California this past week for a couple of days ministering there and people asked me now as they worship it, moody church, contemporary, or is a traditional and I guess what they mean is, you know, do you sing the hymns or you do the contemporary thing like to say this and this is my opinion and it's a humble opinion though. My staff knows that all of my opinions are humble. I believe here at the moody church, we have achieved under God's grace. One of the most beautiful balances of worship music that anyone could ever expect or hope for the reason that I said that is because God does give people today gifts gifts to write music gifts to sing. And we have to honor that. But let us never neglect the past with its great hymnody and all the things that are often times emphasized in the songs that you and I grew up with. I've done a DVD entitled finding purpose in grief and loneliness and I want you to have it.
There are many reasons why I think this will be a blessing to you and here's what you do for a gift of any amount you go to RTW offer.com RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 it's time again for you to ask Pastor Luther question you may have about the Bible or about the Christian life. Today's question might spark a lively debate. Dr. Luther Valerie is emailed us this question is the drinking of alcohol as soon and if not, what if any are the limitations regarding the consumption of alcohol will Valerie on the surface, the answer to your question is no. It is not a sin you find in the Bible. They did drink and we know of course, in John chapter 2 that very famous passage where Jesus turned water into wine, but the other question is, does that mean that it is a good idea. It seems to me that in our culture, there have to be many many warnings that we have to sound because we live in a culture that is given to alcohol and I know that many of the drinks today are much stronger than the wine that was had way back in New Testament times. Alcoholism is a curse you ask Valerie regarding the limitations well.
The Bible is very clear that drunkenness is a sin and it is forbidden by God, and you know there is a way that you can make sure that you will never fall into the sin of alcoholism and that is to never drink and I can assure you that if you never do. You can walk through all of the stores with all of their many drinks in their advertisements and there will be nothing with in you that will tempt you. I know that I'm making some strong statements but I know the curse of alcoholism because I've had to deal with it. As a pastor within some families in the church and it is indeed a curse. So the question is this. Valerie, can you control it. You say you can I trust that you are able to.
On the other hand, perhaps you're not sure will. That's my answer today and I hope that many people who are listening will be cautioned and warned regarding the effects of alcoholism. Some wise counsel once again from Dr. Erwin looks or thank you if you'd like to hear your question answered.
You can go to our website. RTW offer.com that's RTW offer all one word.com and click there on ask Pastor lutes or or you can call at 1-888-218-9337 will take your question.
That's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life.
Worship of God is one firm is we need to come with clean hearts. Then we can have genuine fellowship with God.
Next time I'm going to join us for more lessons from the Bible on preparing our hearts for real worship will turn again to Hebrews chapter 9 and learn about the part we play.
Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin looks or is his day was running to win is sponsored by the church