Life is a lot like a Soap Opera in that people seek power (we talked about that last week), position, recognition, and like Frank Sinatra, they want to proclaim, “I did it my way!” The only real difference is that people don’t die off and come back in another season like they do on T.V.
Remember I mentioned there are two main religions in the world? The first is the true worship from the heart that is directed towards God, such as Abel did when he brought a sacrifice from the heart is the one we strive for. The self-worship that comes to God reluctantly, goes through the motions, and tries to approach God on our own terms is what Cain offered. He certainly did it his way, and he paid the price.
- John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
- Psalm 4:5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the LORD.
- Psalm 51:6-7 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
I know I revisit what true worship is quit a bit, but if sin leads us to seek our own self-deification and self-worship, and we are sinful creatures, then it is only logical that we have to intentionally eradicate sin from our lives with the help of God. To do so, we must daily choose to worship Him and Him alone. We must exalt Him on high. We must never get tired, bored, or apathetic about worshipping Him here on earth. And think about it, worship of our King is what we will be doing throughout eternity. This is why the Jews were commanded to not only worship Him, but to continually teach their children His statutes, and to teach them to love and worship Him alone. But, out of sight/out of mind was their problem, and they would soon forget the wonderful things He had done, and forget that He was the only true God.
We are no better or more righteous than those Old Testament Jews, but their continual backsliding should serve as a warning to us that it is so easy to get our focus off of God and onto ourselves. That’s why in Matthew 6 He tells us to not worry about our lives, but to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”.
- The saying is, you worship what you love. Look deep down inside and admit now what you often love in place of God: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Now’s a good time to confess these to God.
- Cain tried to come to God on his own terms. This is not any different than what we see in much of our world today. We see people that think that God and them are buddies, or that there are many roads to Heaven. Many church goers think they’ll be fine with God if they do their minimal duty of attending mass/service or even less at Chreaster (Christmas & Easter).
- Think of some you may know who are not coming to God on His terms: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- James 5:16b The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
- Pray for these now (my family prayed for years for a very stubborn family member—one who made it clear that he was going to get God to accept him based on how tough he was. When he finally got saved, he was crying out in repentance for the longest time and was no longer trying to prove himself to God.) Prayer changes people!
- Is your Christianity based on your terms or God? If you see areas where you’ve made conditions or requirements of God, or of the church, then repent of these now. Ask God to transform your heart to desire to come to Him on His terms with worship that He will accept.
- Do you understand that Christian worship is not just the singing portion of our Sundays? Many think that that is the worship and everything else fulfills other roles. But, if worship is from the heart, is obedience to God, and is exalting Him, think of all the different aspects of Sunday service that consist of worshipping Him (i.e. from before we start, to during the “order” of service, to following the service, what contributes to worshipping God corporately and individually each week?): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Isn’t it interesting that while we don’t call each part of a Sunday together, “worship” (though we probably should), that they are indeed just that? That they are part of our bringing glory to God?
- Believe it or not, the Bible tells us much about what a church should or shouldn’t do so as to bring glory to God. As is the nature of humans, we tend to be like the Pharisees and diminish what God has clearly states we should do and then we fill it in with our own additions (such as the idea that God only accepts worship out of hymnbooks, or He accepts us if we dress a certain way, say “Amen” a lot, and so forth).
- Each week we need to assemble together as God commands us to do, with the goal of worshipping Him first and foremost. We need to stop looking at what we can get from service and start looking at what we are contributing to the corporate worship and the needs of the saints. This is the crux of loving God with everything we have and are, and then loving each other.
- Before coming to church next Sunday, ask God to focus your heart and mind on worshipping Him and lifting Him up.