TEXT: Isaiah 27:13
Introduction: It has always been the will of God that all mankind worship Him because we need to recognize and acknowledge Him as our Creator and Sustainer. It was even prophesied in the Old Testament that during the Messianic age people from all over the earth would worship the one true God. Read TEXT.
In the Lord’s church, we’ve generally placed great emphasis upon worshipping God according to the New Testament pattern by engaging only in those things which are authorized in God’s word. This is right and should continue
However, we may occasionally overlook some other aspects of worship that are also important. Therefore, we need to turn to the scriptures and look at some important principles that will help us in…
I. Stumbling blocks to meaningful worship
A. One is sin: Isa. 1:10-17. Of course, none of us is sinless—we all sin, but there’s a difference between sinning in moments of weakness yet asking God’s forgiveness and continuing to live in sin, which is a stumbling block to meaningful worship because it separates us from God: Isa. 59:2
B. Another is ritualism, worship that just goes through the motions in a cold, formal, mechanical, or ceremonial way: Mal. 1:7-13. We must be careful that we don’t fall into a rut by allowing our worship to become a mere routine each Sunday.
C. Still another is traditionalism: Matt. 15:1-9. It’s important that in our zeal to please the Lord we don’t add all kinds of human demands in worship that, while they may not be sinful of themselves, are simply not requirements of the Lord and may make worship vain. All of the examples cited come from the time when the Old Testament law was in effect, but these things were written for our learning, and they remind us that just as there were stumbling blocks to worship among the Israelites, there are stumbling blocks to worship which we need to remove.
II. Stepping stones to meaningful worship
A. An awareness of God: Isa. 6:1-5. We won’t be given a vision of God as Isaiah was, but we need to see God as He’s pictured in the scriptures, so that we might be more motivated to bow down before Him reverently in worship: Heb. 12:28
B. Thoughtful preparation: Exo. 16:22-24. The Jews had a day of preparation for the Sabbath that enabled them to be ready for the Lord’s bidding and facilitated their obedience to His commands. God hasn’t commanded such a day for us, but them more we’re prepared for our worship ahead of time, the more meaningful it will be to us
C. Self examination: 1 Cor. 11:27-30. While this passage is dealing specifically with the Lord’s supper, the principle is true for other acts of worship too, that we should examine ourselves as we sing, pray, study, and even give to make sure that we’re exhibiting the proper attitude so as to make sure that we’re truly praising God: Heb. 13:15. We must not only be against additions to worship, we need to be for the right attitudes and actions in worship, and then strive to do those things that will help us to make our worship more meaningful.
III. Practical suggestions for meaningful worship
A. Take up the cross and live for Christ daily: Lk. 9:23. Those who strive to do Christ’s will every single day will be much more likely to be in tune with the Lord when they come before Him in worship.
B. Spend a few minutes with God each day in prayer: 1 Thess. 5:16-18. Daily prayer will draw us closer to God and help to make us more aware of who it is before whom we’re coming to worship.
C. Enter into worship with the whole heart, soul, mind, and strength to come boldly before God’s throne: Heb. 4:16. “Boldly” doesn’t mean irreverently or flippantly, but assuredly with the knowledge that as children of God we have a right to approach His throne in worship and should do so with humble and sincere hearts. Hopefully, following these suggestions will help us to avoid allowing our worship to turn into a mere meaningless habit where we go through the motions but fail to offer God our very best.
Conclusion: Worship is a deep and special privilege that all Christians should enjoy and benefit from. But it will be even more special to us if we’ll make the effort to enter into it with the right motivation and attitude.
Let’s approach our worship with the attitude which the Psalmist exhorts us to have: Ps. 95:1-6. If you’re not a Christian and wish to worship the Lord acceptably, you must first obey the gospel to be saved from the sin which separates you from God.
By Wayne Walker
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