The Supreme Command – Worshipping God
Have you ever wonder why God created us? I mean we have created enough problems for God and still He loves us.
Why do we exist? What is our purpose for being here? If you want to know why something works the way it does go find the creator of that thing or look in the owner’s manual. Have you ever tried to put something together without reading the directions? I have and I could probably show you a few things that I have put together without reading the directions.
WE WERE MADE BY GOD AND WE WERE MADE FOR GOD. AND UNTIL WE EXAMINE THE OWNER’S MANUAL AND UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CREATOR’S PURPOSE IS FOR US LIFE ISN’T GOING TO MAKE SENSE.
- God has a design for us. God even filled us in on that design throughout the Old and New Testaments. Rev. 4:11 tells us in why God created everything including us - He created what pleased Him. (Revelation 4:11 NLT “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”)
- The Bible says we were created for God’s enjoyment – He was pleased about creating us. God made us for His pleasure - He enjoys being with us. God designed us so that we might have fellowship with Him. Our purpose for being is to be in fellowship with God.
- Many of you are parents or grandparents. Did you or do you like watching your kids? You might say “most of the time!”
- We get excited about our kid’s accomplishments. I saw on Facebook - Denise Taylor posted a picture of Josh earning his orange belt.
- God gets excited too. He is like any other parent loving us through thick and thin and good and the bad.
- We were made for God’s pleasure.
- Knowing that God loves us and rejoices with us and cries with us and is involved with us. THE FIRST PURPOSE IN OUR LIFE IS TO LOVE GOD BACK – IT IS CALLED WORSHIP.
- Last week we looked at how much God loves us.
- Now we need to love God back.
- As much as He love us He wants us to love Him in return.
- One day Jesus was walking down the street and a guy came up and said, “Lord, what’s the most important command in the entire Bible?” Jesus goes, “okay, I’m going to give it to you.
- He said, “Love the Lord your God… This is the first and greatest commandment.” If you are looking at the insert in your bulletin circle “first” and “greatest.”
- Jesus tells us that the first thing we need to do is to love God. Nothing comes before that. He first loved us by sending His Son our Lord and Savior. We are commanded to love Him.
- Now, that is what we call WORSHIP. Worship is knowing God and loving God back. Our first purpose in life is to worship God. It’s our primary objective. It’s our highest priority. It is your number one purpose in life.
- There’s a lot of ways to worship God and in recent years there has been a great deal of controversy about styles of worship; I don’t want to debate about styles of worship. Rather I would like to share some principles of worship.
- One of the best verses that defines worship is Romans 12:1 (NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.”
- I want you to circle a couple words in this verse -- the word “therefore,” the word “offer.” Because this is what worship is – it our response to God’s grace and love and a matter of giving back to God.
- First, worship is our response to God’s love. Worship is how I respond, to God when He loves me.
- Notice it says “therefore,” that means what comes next is there for a reason. “Therefore I urge you in view of God’s mercy,” speaks about His love to us and our worship that comes as a response to God’s mercy. You see in this case, God takes the initiative to show us mercy and love. God always makes the first move.
- God doesn’t ever ask you to make the first move. He always makes the first move.
- And He creates us.
- He saves us.
- He forgives us.
- He blesses us.
- He protects us.
- All these things and then because of all these things, we worship.
- And notice what we do - we “offer.” The word “offer” our total being – that describes worship.
- The second aspect giving back to God. He gives to us, and we give back to Him. And whenever you give back to God, whenever you offer anything to God, that’s called worship.
- What do you give a God who’s got everything? He made the world. He made you. He made the universe. What do you give Him? You think it is tough buying a present for your parents; God is even tougher. I’ll tell you what you give Him…you give Him your love.
- And He’s very specific about how to give it. In Mark chapter 12, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” God wants us to love Him in three ways:
- First, God wants us to love Him THOUGHTFULLY. It says, “love Him with our mind” which means thoughtfully. In other words, He wants us to think it through, to not just do it without thinking. He wants us to worship Him thoughtfully, know and love Him thoughtfully.
- Second, God wants me to love him PASSIONATELY. He says, “with all your heart and all your soul.” He wants us to love Him passionately, because He first passionately loved us.
- And Third, He says, “I want you to love me PRACTICALLY.” Practically. “love Me with all your strength”, with your abilities.
- You see, the truth is that even though God created the entire world and the universe and He created us. There are three things God does not have unless you give them to Him.
- He doesn’t have our attention unless we give it to Him. That is loving God with our minds.
- He doesn’t have our affection, unless we give it to Him. That is loving God with our hearts and our souls.
- And God doesn’t have our ability, unless we give it to Him. That is loving God with our strength.
- And whenever we take what God has given us -- of course, all those things He gave you first. Whenever you take the things God has given to you and you give them back to God that is the heart of worship.
- Therefore, worship is a matter of FOCUSING OUR ATTENTION on God. It is focusing our minds, our thoughts, and our attention on God.
- God wants us to worship Him thoughtfully. It takes energy. It takes getting our mind focused on God. Not just going through the motions, but really, really thinking about it.
- Which isn’t always easy to do. Have you ever prayed on autopilot? You know what I mean? You pray before a meal, you pray— blah, blah, blah -- Amen? And if somebody asked you what you just prayed, you’d have no idea. You just prayed on autopilot.
- Do you ever zone out in church, now I know that it is not when I’m speaking, but sometimes, do you ever zone out in church?
- To not zone out when we worship takes energy and attention to focus on God.
- You know why God wants our focus? God wants our focus because He is focused on us. Look at what the Bible has to say to us in Psalm 139 verses 1 through 3. “You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and You know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working” “You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.” God has focused His attention on us. Maybe we ought to focus our attention on Him.
- That God pays constant attention to us, that He never takes His eyes off of us is pretty awesome.
- He never stops thinking about us. The reason is He made us is to love us. He made us to give us this attention. And one of the greatest expressions of love is our attention.
- God is always focused on us shouldn't we then be focused on God.
- Romans 8:7 (the Message) tells us that “Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. Simply that means that when we focus on ourselves we are not worshipping or loving God.
- The next part of Romans 12 the first part of the second verse Paul tells us - Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.
- We must choose to start thinking about God rather than anything else.
- Now, how do you do that? Well, first of all, you can start doing that by just establishing a daily time with God. Just a few minutes during the day
- Talk to Him, read His Word.
- Just try to find a place to worship quietly, you don't have to use big words. Just be honest.
- The second thing that we can do to focus on God, and that is to develop a constant conversation with God. The Bible tells us in Psalm 105, verse 4, … Seek his face always or as one translations puts it “Worship him continually.”
- Just think about Him throughout the day.
- You have to decide to do that. Decide to take a God moment every top of the hour. Every time you get into the car
- Whatever you do, you develop this constant conversation throughout the day.
- Not only is worship focusing our attention on God, it’s also EXPRESSING OUR AFFECTION TO GOD. Worship is loving God with our heart and soul.
- Maybe you’re kind of the silent type. It’s not real easy for you to express affection to God without feeling weird or kind of kooky about it. You’re going to have to learn how to grow, how to develop, how to say “I love you God”.
- And so it’s risky to say, “I love you.” But the neat thing about God is He’s taken away the risk. He said it first. God said it first to you. God said, “I love you.” God has said it in a thousand ways. He created you.
- Even when you didn’t know it, He was showing love to you. And God has said over and over and over to you, “I love you.” So you don’t have to worry about who is going to say it first.
- Bible says, “We love Him, because He first loved us.(NKJV)
- Have you ever said, “I love you” to God? God wants to hear that from us. Hosea 6:6, God says, I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. (NLT)
- Now, I want to you circle the word “love” and the word “know,” because that, friends, is the first purpose of your life -- to know and love God.
- If you get that done, you have accomplished the most important thing in life – worship of God.
- The first reason God put you on earth is to get to know Him and to love Him back.
- Exodus 34:14b, says, “He is the God who is passionate about his relationship with you.” (NLT)
- Circle that word “passionate.” God is passionate about you and about me. He longs to know you. He longs for you to know Him. He longs passionately for you to have a relationship with Him.
Illustration:. How about if I walked up to my wife one day and I say, “Honey, here are some flowers for you. And I am giving you these flowers for three strategic reasons: Point No. 1, I am your husband. Point No. 2, it is our anniversary. Point No. 3, husbands are supposed to give their wives flowers on their anniversary. So here.” Wouldn’t she be thrilled? I don’t think so. Why? She wants me to love her passionately. Duty and loyalty are fine but without desire and passion everything becomes mechanical.
- God doesn’t want your passion and desire as a motivation for loyalty.
- God doesn’t want – “Oh, okay. I better go worship.” “Oh, I love you, God” [said in a monotone voice].
- God doesn’t want ritual and religion and rules and regulation. He wants a relationship.
- So how can I express my affection to God? Well, if you have never done it before, let me tell you how to get started. Start by just saying “THANKS.”
- Start looking around at everything and start thanking God. “God, thank you for a beautiful sky today. That’s gorgeous.” “God, thank you for winter stars or the colorful sky.” “Thank you for clean air.” “Thank you that I’m still breathing.” “Thank you that I live in America and I have freedom.” “Thank you that I woke up this morning.”
- You get the drift. Romans 6:13 says, “Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.” (NLT) Again, remember, it’s always a response.
- If you really knew how much God loves and cares about every detail of your life, you’d throw yourself at Him, and go “Oh, how could I not love a God like that?”
Worship is always a response. It’s we love God because He first loved us.
- Worship is focusing my attention on God. It is expressing my affection to God, and it is USING MY ABILITIES for God. This is loving God with all your strength.
- God wants us to see Him with our minds. He wants us to sense Him with our heart and soul. And he wants us to serve Him with our strength.
- When I talk to couples about love I explain that love is an act of the will. Love must be a practical expression of our feelings. Sometimes there are chores to be done. Sometimes there are things that need to be fixed. Sometimes there are errands to be run. Sometimes there are responsibilities to be shared.
- And that’s the practical things where I use my abilities to show, this is not just words, I really do love you and I show it by my action in practical ways – fixing, helping, serving, sharing, those kinds of things. And that’s part of worship, too.
- Notice this next verse, Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,”
- You don’t have to join a monastery to worship more.
- Some of you will go home this morning saying, if my No. 1 purpose is to get to know and love God, then I should have a quiet time with God, five hours a day. No, you don’t need to do that.
- Well, then I should come to church every day of the week. No, you don’t need to do that either. It is not about that.
- You see, many of us compartmentalize our lives saying, “Okay, here’s my worship. I go to church once a week. Maybe I go to a small group once a week, and maybe I have a daily time where I’m reading a little bit every day about God and trying to learn from Him, and that’s my worship.
- And then over here, I’ve got my career and then over here I’ve got my social life.” God says I want you to invite me into every area of your life. I want to be involved in all of it, invite me into the whole thing.
- In life it’s not what you do that matters; it is Who you do it for. You give it all to God. And all of your work can be turned to worship
- I don’t care if you’re a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker. You can do it for God.
- It’s Who you do it for that matters. God doesn’t care whether you’re a truck driver or an attorney or a doctor or nurse or whatever. God wants to know, “Are you doing it for Me?” Whatever you’re doing are you doing for God.
- Notice this next verse, I love this paraphrase in the Message, it says in Romans 12:1 a, So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. What are we doing with our lives? We are placing our lives before God as an offering.
- There’s that word again. We said “offer” is the essence of worship. When we worship we are offering our lives to God.
- Real worship doesn’t just happen just in a church. It doesn’t just happen in a small group. It isn't limited to your personal quiet time with God every day, of prayer and reading the Bible.
- It happens in the ordinary, routine, mundane, things of real life where you go, “God, I’m going to take out the garbage for You.” You can make beds to the glory of God. You can teach school to the glory of God. You can saw trees to the to the glory of God.
- Everything can be turned into an act of worship. Notice, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,” putting your heart and soul in, as though you were working for the Lord.
- "So we make it our goal to please Him…" (2 Cor. 5:9) That is worship.
Conclusion: Let our whole life be one of worship:
Focusing our attention to God
Expressing our affection toward God
Using my abilities for God