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The Discipline Of Worship Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 21, 2023 1:00 am

The Discipline Of Worship Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 21, 2023 1:00 am

Some believe the purpose of life is to work, earn money, and retire. Why is it that God is oftentimes not the center of our lives? In this message, we meet the Samaritan woman who was forever changed as she learned the true meaning of worship. There is no other purpose to life.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

A woman sat near an ancient well, face to face with Jesus. Their discussion turned from physical water to spiritual water. Her journey of life was changed forever as she learned the meaning of true worship, and that's our focus on today's broadcast.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, a lot of us associate worship with the music set the Praise Band does before the sermon led by the worship leader. Is this what worship is?

Well Dave, I'm going to answer your question in a moment, but your question also prompts a memory that I want to share. Many years ago, I won't tell you how many years ago, I was studying in Israel during the time when we could actually go to Jacob's well. Just imagine, that well is still there. It's the well referred to in the fourth chapter of the book of John, the story that you referred to Dave just a moment ago, about the woman at the well. Imagine this, at that place Jesus Christ explained to this woman that he was the Messiah.

Takes your breath away. But in answer to your question, worship is not necessarily just saying the right words. I believe that singing together is worship, but not if our hearts are not right with God. You remember the words of Jesus?

This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Worship is not automatic. Worship is not a matter of the lips as Jesus emphasized, but a matter of the heart. That's why I think it's so important for us to listen to this message very carefully, because God doesn't want simply our words. He wants who we are, and worship is that privilege of giving him everything.

Now I want you to notice that Jesus Christ is saying that true worship always is a matter of truth, transparency, honesty, being who we are in the presence of Almighty God, knowing who we are, and therefore also knowing who God is. One of the characteristics of openness and honesty is what we call brokenness. Brokenness before God is a sense of submission. It is a sense of resignation to the will of God. It is the person who, in the right sense of the word, has given up all fight.

He has laid down the weapons of a rebel. He says, God, I will not take you on anymore. I submit to everything that you bring to my attention, and I accept the circumstances of life as coming from your loving hand, and therefore I will not fight you anymore. Interestingly, I was praying with someone recently, and this person said, I cannot give myself to God wholly.

And I said, why? And this individual said, I want to retain the power of choice. I want to be able to choose and to make my own decisions.

Even though my decisions are destroying me, I prefer my own decisions. Isn't that the way in which all of us are? We prefer our own decisions, and therefore we still struggle with God. Job said in the Old Testament, why dost thou strive with the Almighty? Why do we keep arguing with God?

Why do we keep putting off what we know he wants us to do? Worship brings us back to honesty. Worship also, by the way, is a matter of priority.

It's a matter of priority. Notice the text says, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers. And he is willing to take a woman who in her own eyes I'm sure was scum.

That didn't matter. He could forgive her sins. He could put her on a new footing.

He could give her new dignity. He was willing to accept the worship of anyone who finally had given up on themselves and trusted wholly in God and sought him passionately. And Jesus Christ is saying to this woman who blew it so badly, I am giving you an invitation to become one of the Father's special people, to become a worshipper of the Almighty. The Father is seeking such to worship him. Why does God want worship?

Well, let me say it candidly and openly. And I hope that you can accept this without any difficulty to your theology. God is passionate about himself.

He's passionate about himself. And that's perfectly right for God to be. We can't be because everything that we have is derived. There is nothing that we have except that it has been given to us of God. So whatever credit or praise comes to us, we always have to pass it on to God.

But God has no one else to pass it on to. He can accept all adoration, all worship, all praise, and do so legitimately, fairly, decently. And he can see the fulfillment of his purposes in the world as being the driving force of creation.

And he has every right to do that. And that's why the bottom line of the scripture from Genesis to Revelation is always the glory and the honor of God. May I say it humbly but truthfully that to God, nothing else matters.

Nothing else matters. I explained that to one of my daughters one time, and she said, isn't God egotistical? I don't know if you have children, but you know that they keep you theologically honest. I said the word egotistical can be defined in two different ways. Looked at from our standpoint to be egotistical is wrong because we have no right to be egotistical.

But looked at in the right way, yes, God is egotistical, but he has a right to be because to him everything funnels into his glory and into his plan. Did you know that the purpose of the church is not missions for missions' sake? The purpose of this church or any church should always be worship. And the reason that we are interested in missions is that we might get more people to worship Christ.

That's the whole motivation. Why is it that we give money? Well, you say we give money to the church to keep the church going, to keep its ministries puttering along. No, that isn't why we give money to the church. We give money to the church, it says in the book of Philippians chapter 4 verse 8, the apostle Paul says, you gave gifts that these gifts might be a sweet-smelling savor to God.

We give to honor God, we give to glorify him. Why does God save people? The scripture says he saves us that we should be to the praise of his glory. And why do you pray, may I ask? Is it not because Jesus taught us that the Father might be glorified in the Son? And why is it that God leaves so many prayers unanswered? He does it that we might be weaned from the things of this world and unanswered prayer far from driving us away from God should be the fuel to motivate us to get closer to God because we know now that really we do not need the answer to our prayer nearly as much as we need God. So unanswered prayer should be pushing us beyond simply asking for requests and finally coming and saying, oh God, let me be satisfied with thee.

That's the whole point. And that's what worship is really all about. How is it that we worship God? There are different aspects to worship.

One is obedience. One day God came to Abraham and said, Abraham, take your son and go to Mount Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on a mountain that I shall tell you of. You remember when Abraham left the donkey and his servant and he and his son went up the hill? He said he and this lad, namely my son, will go yonder and worship and come again to you, he said to the servant. We will worship. And that worship involved incredible obedience, being willing to kill his own son if necessary. That's one way that we honor God. God is honored through our obedience. God is honored when we are willing to say yes to anything that he brings to our attention. God is honored when we praise him. The Bible is very clear, who so offereth praise glorifieth me. So when we begin to thank God and when we begin to recognize that because he is God, he is deserving of all thanksgiving and you begin to read the Psalms, then you begin to understand that God's attributes are being praised and admired. God loves it when we admire him. And of course, we also obey him through dependent prayer. We can also honor him through faith in Christ. Jesus said, whoever honors me honors the father. If you don't honor me, you don't honor the father.

And that's why the scripture tells us that we should honor the son. Can you imagine what would happen in your life and mine if we were to have what was known as a Copernican revolution? Copernicus was an astronomer who came to the conclusion that actually it was not the sun that was going around the earth, but the earth going around the sun. The belief was that the earth was stationary.

That was the ancient belief. And now the belief was that it is the sun, if anything, that is stationary. Of course, nobody knows whether it's completely stationary. Everything may be all moving together.

But nevertheless, from our standpoint, it is now the sun that becomes the center of the solar system and the earth is twirling around it. Imagine what would happen if God's beloved son would suddenly be brought from the circumference into the very center of our lives and everything that we did would revolve around him and the only sincere question that we would have is, is he thereby glorified? What a transformation that would be in our lives and in our church. If the only thing that really mattered, because the only thing that really matters to God, is that he be glorified.

Why should you and I be fruit-bearing Christians? It says that the father might be glorified. It says, let your light so shine upon this earth that others people may see your good works and what? Glorify your father which is in heaven. There is no other purpose to life. Can you see how short-minded it is to say to yourself that the real purpose of life is to get a good job, earn as much money as you can, and then retire in a very nice place and do whatever you want to do for the rest of your life? That is not the Christian life. The Christian life says, I am here to glorify God, whether by life or by death, whether by health or illness, whether by an easy life or a difficult life, I exist purely to glorify God and in all that I do, including my retirement, which is something that you can indeed enjoy, but even there, the real issue is, do I glorify God? What wilt thou have me to do?

There is no other question. Now, why is it that we don't live that way? Why is it that God is oftentimes not the center of our lives? It's because the scripture tells us that we have spoiled our appetite on the world, and the more we are in the world, the more our appetite gets spoiled for really finding fulfillment in God and worshiping him. And I'll tell you, there's nothing like the world to just drain away all your passion for God. You can watch television, and when you turn on the television, as I did last night for a few moments trying to catch some specials regarding the past year, but beginning to see all that is involved on that TV screen, I was reminded again that watching television takes the passion and the love that you have for God, and it can just quickly sap it all away and drain it away. And that's actually what the devil wants to do, is he wants to separate us from our Father.

That's his goal. And so the more we feast on the things of this world, it spoils our appetite for God. My people have committed two evils, said Jeremiah.

They have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which can hold no water, and they are drinking from polluted fountains that taste good, and they are bypassing the living stream. Here's what I'd like you to do this coming week. You say, what is there that I may do? I'd like you to spend 10 minutes at least in worshiping God, not only the coming week but the coming year. Can you take out 10 minutes and just say these 10 minutes are for God totally undistracted? Is God worth that much?

I hope that he is worth a whole lot more than that, but this is perhaps something that will be new for many of you. Number one, spend some of that time in searching. What do I mean? Oh, Lord, search my heart. That's what you do. You pray the prayer of the psalmist. Oh, Lord, search me and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. One of the greatest things that I have learned is silence before God. God reveals to me the things that I need to deal with. He begins to show me through his word the areas of my life that are not under his control and authority, and I look back upon my prayer life and I wonder how in the world I ever did without it. Silence or searching, part of that time needs to be spent in that absolute quietness before God, saying, here I am, Lord.

What is it that you want to show me? You may be quoting a verse of scripture or perhaps meditating on a text, but your heart is open to God. First of all, searching, then surrendering, and that's going to be the difficult part because you and I fight tooth and nail on this point of submitting to God. And then what you want is singing or a psalm. One of the best ways that you can worship God is to take a hymn, take the words of a hymn, and even if you're not very good at singing, aren't you glad that God doesn't care as long as it's done in a closet somewhere where no one else has to listen? But he sees it, and he knows it, and he knows your heart, and you sing to God a hymn of praise or you read a psalm of praise to God. God loves to hear his word read back to him. He says, I have magnified my word even above my name. And therefore, as we read God's word back to him, we are giving him praise, and we are giving him honor. Will you remember that? Searching, surrendering, singing, or psalms, one of those two, at least 10 minutes in which you are not asking.

That's the thing. We are going to get to the subject of prayer. But as you notice, we're talking about the disciplines of the spiritual life.

Why do I say disciplines? It's because worship just doesn't happen. People think, well, it's going to happen.

It doesn't happen unless you plan that it's going to happen. And so it happens by a sense of searching, surrendering, singing, and giving praise and honor and glory to God without any requests. But Lord, I am here to magnify you, to give you glory, and to give you honor. And where does the whole business of worship begin? In the Old Testament, it says, "'Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, lest his wrath be quickly kindled.'" What does it mean to kiss the Son?

It means do homage. I mentioned a moment ago that the way in which we worship God is by honoring the Son. In order to honor the Father, Christ said, you must begin by honoring me. Some of you need to believe in Jesus Christ even today.

You've never savingly come to faith in him. I urge you to do that because only Christ can bring you to God the Father so that you can become a worshiper. Today Jesus Christ says that the Father seeks those who worship him in spirit and in truth. He's searching. He's on a hunt. Will he find you and will he find me?

That is the question. Let us pray together. Our Father, we do want to thank you today for this wonderful story, the reminder of the fact that you said to a distraught woman, be my worshiper.

You can have eternal life within your soul. Father, we thank you for her witness, how she went and told her friends that she had met the Messiah. Therefore, there were more worshippers because your word says that many believed because of her word and because of Christ who went there to that village. We thank you, Father, for that privilege that this year we pray that we might not only worship but that we might be able to find many other worshippers who are not worshipping you now as we share the good news of the gospel of Christ. And we pray that all those who have listened today, every single one of us, may we become better worshippers of the Lord our God. We pray in his name. Amen. Yes, my friend, at the end of the day, it's all about worship. It's giving God all that he deserves in praise, in adoration, and, of course, giving him ourselves.

Let me ask you a question. Did you grow up in an era in which there were lists of sins that no one should commit, oftentimes published in church bulletins? For example, I was brought up saying nobody should go to movies if they are a Christian.

Nobody should play cards. And there were a lot of other activities listed that we should not participate in. Was that legalism? That's a question for you. Or do rules have some value? When do they become legalistic? These are the kinds of questions I answer in the book, Holy Living in an Unholy World. And what you'll discover there is the balance between those who say that we can, in effect, live as we wish over against those who are very restrictive in their activities.

But where's their heart? Well, we need to sort through these matters. And for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book, Holy Living in an Unholy World. And from my heart to yours, I want to thank you so much, those of you who pray for us, those of you who support this ministry financially. We are actually working together for the cause of the gospel around the world.

Thank you from the depths of my heart. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. A scientist has written to us, taking issue with Pastor Lutzer's take on how creation took place.

Let's listen to what Harry has to say. In your series on creation, I was disappointed because it appears as if you are propagating the idea that there has to be conflict between science and the Bible. You've chosen to study two extremes, the atheistic evolutionists on the one hand and the six-day creationists on the other. The six-day creationist you quoted is not a scientist and does not speak for all of us.

I am a retired astronomer. I am awestruck at the size and immensity of God's creation, and yet I'm amazed to think that Jesus came and died for me. But the idea that we have to believe in a young earth in order to believe in original sin is invalid. There are hundreds of scientists who are committed Christians who accept an old universe and earth theory. Please read material from those who reconcile creation and the Bible without the needless dichotomy that the young earthers create. If we deny the obvious truths science has uncovered, we will either turn our Christian young people away from the church or they will have no basis to integrate what they've learned in church with what they learn in the classroom. Pastor Lutzer, any comments?

Harry, thanks so much for your question. That came to me actually by means of a letter. First of all, let me say that I most assuredly am not a scientist, but when I read Genesis chapter one, it does appear to me as if, as if we're talking about 24 hour days. And that seems to be confirmed because the Bible talks about the Sabbath day. God rested on the seventh day. And so he says in the very same way, Israel should have a Sabbath.

And we know that that's 24 hours. But having said that, I do have to agree that there are many fine Christians who believe in an old earth, who believe that the universe is very, very old. They do not accept the 24 hour day creation theory. And what I've decided to do is to simply stand aside, listen to both sides and to say that perhaps I'm not qualified to ultimately make up my mind. Would be great if we could talk together because there are many questions I'd like to ask you, particularly how you continue to believe in original sin, where you put Adam and Eve, all those questions I believe to be incredibly important.

But at the end of the day, we as Christians need to be able to get along together, even though we have different views. Thanks so much for your letter. I hope that you continue to study.

I know that astronomy is a very, very interesting science. And I hope that the wisdom that God has given you through the years that you have taught it would be a blessing to others. Meanwhile, we'll continue to trust in God, his creation and Jesus Christ who redeems us from our sins. God bless you. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Mention meditation to some people and they envision an Eastern mystic sitting in a lotus position. But real meditation is far different. Next time, we explore the second of Pastor Lutzer's Disciplines that Grow Godliness and hear what God had to say to Joshua about meditation. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-21 03:22:48 / 2023-04-21 03:31:52 / 9

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