March 3

  • “The tragedy of today is that the Church is pursuing happiness, not holiness.”—Leonard Ravenhill

We cannot come before God and worship if we are not holy. The requirement God gave the Israelites was to obey Him fully, to seek Him fully (and means from the heart), and to take care of sin (which they had to do via sacrifices).

For the Christian, Jesus has taken our sacrifice for us, but He still demands that we worship Him in spirit and in truth, and He still demands holiness. That part never changed.

  • “God is serious about how we worship Him, and we must be serious about it too.”—R.C. Sproul

There will always be a sense of being culturally relevant in how we do worship, that’s a given. If you attended Sunday’s WMU meeting you saw a video of Pygmy Christians in the Congo singing the story of Christ’s death. It was in their cultural style of singing stories. But it was very reverent. It was fully focused on Christ.

But, think about some of the below practices that have shown up in churches (often mega-churches) in America that seek to draw in crowds, entertain the audience, and to be seen as “relevant”:

  1. A couple of guys go up on stage at one of the campuses of North Point Church in Woodstock, Georgia to do a rap about UGA and Alabama’s upcoming football game, during the Sunday worship service.
  2. A sermon about money at one church that starts off with a guy dressed in green with a gigantic dollar bill on his head (his face and hair are done up to be the George Washington face on the bill), dancing to the 1980s hit, “I Wanna Be Rich” by Calloway.
  3. A pastor at a Mississippi Baptist mega-church preaches a sermon while hanging from a zipline over the audience to teach them about Jesus returning.
  4. Multiple churches who do the “Harlem Shake” dance in their services (wearing costumes, motorcycle helmets, and just bouncing around). You can simply Google “Harlem Shake Church”, or go to YouTube and do the same.
    1. Here’s one that is shocking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a00-cLOfI3g
    2. At Embassy of God Church the pastor and the congregation did some dance called the Dougie which was actually named for the pastor.
  5. Churches doing the Hokey Pokey in service (yes, churches plural).
  6. In Creflo Dollar’s church (yes, that’s his name), he had a service where the congregation had to bring their money up to the steps of the stage while he danced on all the money (and it was a lot of greenbacks, by the way since it’s a megachurch with a huge stage).
  7. In Oklahoma, Church on the Move celebrated their Mother’s Day service with a “Mommy Rhapsody” musical skit to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” wherein they sang a funny, but whining song about being a mother.

Church is not a circus, a party, a rock show with a lesson by a motivational life coach, or any of the other man-centered entertainment emphases that have been invading our churches in the name of being relevant, exciting, and attractive. We come together to lift up the name of Jesus, to exalt Him, to worship Him, to hear from Him, to pray to Him, to fellowship in His presence, to be encouraged by Him, to be convicted by Him. He is the author and the finisher of our faith. He is our purpose for living. He is to be worshipped in a manner that honors Him. And while there is no cookie cutter method of worshipping Him, there are biblical guidelines that we follow.

Notice, Ken does not wear skinny jeans, run smoke machines around the instruments or have glitter come down from the ceiling. He doesn’t sing has a loud set, flashing lights and an attitude. Yet, that’s a popular practice in churches nowadays.

Notice Trent does not wear skinny jeans either, is not trying to be cool and entertaining, is not cavalier in his prayer time or giving announcements. He is more contextual with the teens, but he still remains a serious pastor when it comes to shepherding them, even when he’s having fun.

Notice I don’t wear skinny jeans (and all God’s people say, “Amen!”). I do not have whitened teeth, perfect hair, a perpetual tan, the trendiest clothes in cool colors (often black and white, or with bedazzled shirts worn just right). In fact, I couldn’t pull of cool if I tried.

We three pastors have enough troubles every Sunday coming to church and trying to be prayed up, filled by the Spirit, humble yet standing on the authoritative Word, loving and patient, and good examples to the flock. Our magnus finis, or big goal each week is to point each and everyone to Jesus. As soon as we put the attention on us we have failed and have crossed over into the dangerous position of taking the worship from Jesus and putting it on us. That scares me.

  • “In our universe there is God and there are people and things. We were made so that we should worship God, love people and use things. However if we worship ourselves, we will ignore God, start loving things and begin to use people.” –Warren Wiersbe

I asked Sunday why you were in church. I didn’t want you to answer me, but wanted you to answer yourselves. Of course, we invite all to attend for it is the teaching of God’s Word that will transform hearts. But, I would fail in my duty to guide you to the worship of the King if I didn’t challenge why you were there. Spurgeon taught that every sermon should lead to Jesus, and I work to do that each week as He is the focus and the reason we assemble together.

  • “Worship is directly correlated to understanding. The richer your theology, the more full your grasp of biblical truth, the more elevated your worship becomes.”—John MacArthur
  • “What if the Word of God was enough to inspire passionate worship among His people?”—David Platt
  • “Joy and thanksgiving expressed in prayer and praise according to the Word of God are the heart of the church’s worship.”—John Calvin
  • “If we want to love God more, we have to know Him more deeply.”—R.C. Sproul
  1. Looking at this pyramid that represents our 3-prong focus as a church, what are you doing in your life to make Jesus your first and foremost focus? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. How does your desire to please and honor Him influence your:
      1. Holiness? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
      2. Bible reading/studying? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Witness? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Worship? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. The next level is the Community/Fellowship of the church. I. John 4:20 tells us you can’t love God and hate your brother. How do you show Christian love to:
    1. Those you don’t understand? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. Those who are in sin? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Those who are difficult to get along with? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Those who despitefully use you? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. And lastly, you and I are empowered to worship God through service (Romans 12:1). How are you serving:
    1. Your church? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. The lost with the Gospel? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  • The needs of our missionaries? ______________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Our church is not perfect, but our standard is. The Word of God is our authority in all matters worship. Reflect on each of these verses about worship (and feel free to look them up yourself if you want to read more of the surrounding passage):
  • Matthew 15:7-9 “Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people doth draw nigh to Me with their mouth, and with the lips it doth honour Me, but their heart is far off from Me; and in vain do they worship Me, teaching teachings — commands of men.’”
    1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Deuteronomy 6:13-15 “You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.”
    1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Psalm 2:11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
    1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Jeremiah 7:2 “Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the LORD!’”
    1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
  • Revelation 5:12-14 ““Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
    1. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Awesome Godsong by Rich Mullins

When He rolls up His sleeves

He ain’t just putting on the ritz

(Our God is an awesome God)

 

There’s thunder in His footsteps

And lightning in His fists

(Our God is an awesome God)

 

And the Lord wasn’t joking

When He kicked ’em out of Eden

It wasn’t for no reason

That He shed His blood

His return is very close

And so you better be believing that

Our God is an awesome God

 

[Chorus]

Our God is an awesome God

He reigns from heaven above

With wisdom, power, and love

Our God is an awesome God

(Repeat 1X)

 

And when the sky was starless

In the void of the night

(Our God is an awesome God)

 

He spoke into the darkness

And created the light

(Our God is an awesome God)

 

Judgment and wrath He poured out on the Sodom

Mercy and grace He gave us at the cross

I hope that we have not

Too quickly forgotten that

Our God is an awesome God

 

[Chorus]

Our God is an awesome God

He reigns from heaven above

With wisdom, power, and love

Our God is an awesome God

(Repeat 5X)

 

Our God is an awesome God (Our God is an awesome God)

He reigns from heaven above (He reigns from heaven above)

With wisdom, power, and love (With wisdom, power, and love)

Our God is an awesome God

 

Our God is an awesome God

Our God is an awesome God