HANDOUT FOR SERMON: WHEN WORSHIP IS NOT WORKING. January 9, 2022, Manchester, TN, 9:30 a.m.
INTRODUCTION: Proper worship is great. For the believer it should be the highlight of the week. It was designed by God. We begin every week with something God desires us to do. In worship we sacrifice together, spend time together, mutually engage together. Why do we worship? What is the purpose of it? Do we love to worship? The New Testament paints a very positive, attractive picture of worship.
Scripture: Acts 2:46-49 A joy and excitement of being together and with worship. Acts 4:29-37 Even in difficult times the Christians sought to gather & worship. 1 Corinthians 14:3-5 Worship was for positive edification.
All religious groups put an emphasis on worship. With all the assembling happening today, why is there a continued great moral decline in our country? Why is there such an increase in immorality, abusive behavior, and crime. Why are families falling apart? Divorce rates so high? Obvious, worship is not working! At least the type of worship religious groups is offering the crowds is not working as God intended. Consider gallop polling concerning religious trends in the USA and compare 1996 to 2006 to 2021. Obviously, worship services are NOT achieving what GOD INTENDED! But let us get it “right” here at the Manchester Church.
LESSON: What happens when worship is not working?
1.WORSHIP DOESN’T WORK WHEN: IT HAS FORGOTTEN ITS PURPOSE! What is worship all about? Worship is a proclamation of the greatness and worthiness of God. Worship is what YOU give, not what you get! It is about magnifying the name of God and His character. It is about MY or our giving glory, honor, and gratitude to God.
Scripture: John 4:20-24, 1 Kings 12:26-33 Unfortunately, mankind wants to create or build their own worship to suit their needs and wishes. When we make worship about what WE WANT it will not fulfill God’s purpose. Worshiping God in unauthorized ways – this is just wrong! God is supposed to be the center of our worship, so let us focus on what God has asked us to do. Whatever God and His truth want, not what we like or want! Let us make worship relevant and even exciting but guided by what God wants! The people in Jeroboam’s days should have said: “That is not what God said about worshipping! Jeroboam we need to do it God’s way!” He built worship not about God but after His concerns and conveniences and from there everything went “downhill” for God’s people.
2.WORSHIP DOESN’T WORK WHEN: GOD HAS BECOME PERIPHERAL.
Define “peripheral:” on the outer edge or outer ring. Outlying, border, surrounding. The opposite to the center.
What modern man to has done is put “God” and His worship not in the center! God in worship has become peripheral. But what about us, the Manchester Church? Danger, it becomes more about the right way & right rules and not so much about God! We think that if we do it exactly according to the rules then our worship is acceptable to God.
Scripture: Matthew 22:37, Colossians 1:27-28, Acts 2:41-47, Malachi 1:6-8
In Malachi’s days God became a “sidenote to Judah. God ended up on the bottom of the list. IN fact, God asks them “why do you despise Me?” Yet Judah continued to participate in a form of worship, yet it was rejected by God. Worship became a footnote, a habit. Worship only works for its intended purpose when God is the center and then God is pleased and the worship is acceptable (Romans 12:1-2).
So, what about us, the Manchester Church? What about our worship? Is God the center or is He out on the peripheral?
3. WORSHIP DOESN’T WORK WHEN: IT BECOMES A SUBSTITUE FOR PURITY & HOLINESS.
Scripture: Micah 6:2-8
75% of Americans believe in Jesus, that sounds good, gives one hope, but what about all the immorality and bad behavior today, some of that is done by people who believe in Jesus! That’s what Israel, God’s people in the Old Testament struggled with! Israel was NOT doing well, yet they wanted the God of grace to validate them, because they attended worship, kept doing the sacrifices and keeping the sabbath! Yet we learn here in Micah 6 that God’s indictment of His people was because of such behavior. They couldn’t fool God. Oh, they went to worship, they sacrificed even more and even suggested offering their own children. Point is: we cannot worship ourselves out of sin! Worship should never be used as a “cover” for sin.
Purpose of worshipping God is to proclaim His greatness and power and in doing this it is to fuel our fire to live closer to God. It should cause me to offer God a spirit of humility, surrender and devotion to God. Worship is to help me continue to live a life of service and moral purity for God.
Scripture: Passages to consider in reference to our heart, attitude, and posture during worship: James 4:10, Ephesians 3:14, Isaiah 66:23, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 5:7, 1 Timothy 2:8, Revelation 22:8, Psalm 138:2, Psalm 95:6, Deuteronomy 9:25, Nehemiah 8:6, Psalm 35:27, Psalm 66:2, Psalm 98:4, Philippians 4:10, Matthew 18:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:16
We must be careful about “judging others” who are genuinely putting God in the center of their worship and displaying to God their reverence or need for Him. Read Romans chapter 14 for God’s guidance on such topics. This scripture does apply to our personal and collective worship!
CONCLUSION: In this new year let us learn to worship God in the manner and way He teaches and requests and less in the manner that our Church traditions or religious customs in our country have led us to worship. Let us go back and push the “reset” button and worship in accordance with the purpose and manner God has taught. Let us worship the Father in “spirit and in truth.”