Best Practices - Worship
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday Jan 13, 2019
Main Idea– Worship is more than just singing songs in church. Worship is the practice of cultivating affection for God by what we think, do, and say as we go through our daily lives.
Practice makes perfect
- Many people have good intentions, but also have bad habits.
- Good habits come from practice. Everything worthwhile comes from practice. James 1:4 – But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
- It is not possible to have a meaningful relationship with God apart from good worship habits. Practicing good worship habits enables one to have relationships with God and other Christians so that life is more fulfilling.
- Worship enables one to succeed and thrive in life, not just survive. Worry is a sign of a lack of worship.
- Worship puts one back in the presence of God and gives perspective. Fasting is a form of worship because it offers a sacrifice to God in return for a better understanding and perspective. Fasting should lead to a permanent change in understanding and perspective.
Worship happens everywhere
- Worship does not require particular skill sets like singing or dancing. Some Christians have too narrowly defined worship as something that happens at the beginning of church services.
- Rather, worship is more about living life on a daily basis.
- A definition of worship – “intentionally giving worth or value to something or someone through words or actions.”
- How we direct and focus our thoughts as we go through our daily activities identifies what we are worshipping at that time. So - rather we realize it or not - we are continually worshipping something.
- Christians should work to cultivate a better relationship with God as they live their lives. That focus, itself, is worship.
Jesus redefined worship
- Before Jesus, the Israelites primarily worshipped on specified days in the temple.
- Jesus redefined worship as something that should happen continually, in any place.John 4: 19-24 – The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
- Jesus changed worship from “come and worship” to “go and worship.”
- After Jesus’ body died during crucifixion, the temple veil was torn from top to bottom, no longer confining God the Father to a small room in the church.Worship was opened up to the entire planet. Matthew 27: 50-53 – And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
- Today, the true worshipper is anyone who chooses to worship.
- The true worshipper worships in spirit and truth.
- The true worshipper worships at anytime, anywhere.
How to cultivate affection for God
- Spend time in His presence. Feel and express gratefulness.
- Spend time in His presence alongside other believers. Invest in relationships.
- Use the time together with other believers as an opportunity to help others and to be blessed yourself.
- Celebrate together with other believers. Enjoy sharing how God has blessed, and is active in, all our lives.
- Be thankful, even for things that have not yet happened. Practice what you know, by faith, is going to happen. Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Open your mouth, declare with your words & praise, your joy and your recognition of who God is.
Reflective Questions for Best Practices - Worship
- Based on this sermon lesson, how could you explain worship to someone who thinks it only involves music?
- If true worship involves things we are thinking, doing, and saying, how can we make sure we are worshipping God – and not something else - as we go through the day?
- In John 4 Jesus said that worship would not be confined to a specific city or mountaintop. Then, when He was crucified, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom – releasing the opportunity for worship to anyone, anywhere. How good are you at taking advantage of this continual worship opportunity? Are there ways you could improve taking advantage of this opportunity.
Even though worship is available to us anywhere at any time, why is it still important to corporately gather together in worship with other believers?