What Would Jesus Undo? Hollow Worship.
Years ago, a movement to challenge the thinking and actions of the world started with a single question, “What Would Jesus Do?” Over the years, there have been numerous modifications to this question. As we follow in His footsteps again today we are asking another question, “What would Jesus undo?” In this series, we go beyond the simple slogans of what it means to follow Christ and open yourself up to discover what Jesus wants to undo so that you can live a life of authentic faith. This week we look at the subject of worship.
Bottom Line: Worship is ascribing worth and value with a feeling of respect and awe.
Something To Talk About:
What is your view of worship? Is worship what happens in church on Sunday? Do you identify it with an emotional experience, spiritual thoughts, or maybe performing certain rituals? The fact is, true worship is not defined by a place, a feeling, or a ritual. God set the standard for worship in His Word, and the standard is much higher and more rewarding than most of us ever imagine. So to really answer the question “what does it mean to truly worship God:”
- Sometimes we bow in reverence? Ezekiel 1: 1 says, “On July 31 of my thirtieth year, while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” After Ezekiel witnesses the vision, here is how he responds: “…This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” (Ezekiel 1:28 NIV) Ezekiel’s response is typical to anyone who approaches the presence of God… his knees buckle and he does a face-plant! Why is this? Because God is God. His power brings us to our knees. His brilliance is blinding. His holiness is overwhelming. We become speechless. Worshipful. Completely submissive to the authority and might of God. How can we do anything else but to bow in reverence?
- Sometimes we dance in celebration: Sometimes our praise and our worship can’t be contained in words. Sometimes we need to do a happy dance. Max Lucado said, ”He (God) dispenses his goodness not with a eyedropper, but with a fire hose.” We simply can’t contain it all. It will bubble over, spill out, overflow its banks and when it does it hits our whole body and we just can’t stop. So let it bubble over. Spill out. Pour forth. Matthew 10:8 says, “…Give as freely as you have received!” For King David, his honest expression of love and devotion to the Lord involved dancing. In 2 Samuel 6, we see King David offering sacrifices every few paces as he travels with the Ark of the Covenant. He also happens to be dancing with joy so fiercely, that he starts to break a sweat. I think we can relate. We have been forgiven of so much by the grace of Jesus. He’s turned our sin into a moment of praise. He’s turned the lowest point of your moment in life into a moment where you sense His goodness. Sometimes you just have to let go and you celebrate Him in dancing.
- Sometimes we worship with a sacrifice of praise: To praise and worship God is to express our love and awe of who He is. In Isaiah 66:1 God says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…” He is the Creator of the universe and everything in it. To praise and worship God is the right thing to do. And to worship and praise Him regardless of our circumstances and without an agenda. When we worship and praise God, we will encounter Him. We will find joy in His presence. The more we get to know Him, the more we want to worship and praise Him in everything we do, both in the good and in the bad times. In our everyday living, loving, serving, this is it…worship and praise is our response to a God I’m madly in love with. To that end, we need praise and worship more than ever before.
- Many of us were brought up in churches that followed the traditions handed down by other churches, who followed the traditions handed down to them. How much do you think tradition has influenced your view of worship?
- Read Psalm 150:3-5: In what way does praise and worship help express deep emotions that words alone might not?
- Read Acts 16:25: When you have difficulty worshiping, what do you think makes it difficult?
- Worship isn’t about preferences or past experiences. It’s about pleasing God! What does that mean on a practical level?
- Read 2 Samuel 6:5: King David danced in celebration and sang before the Lord with all his might. How do you celebrate before God?
- How can our busy lives, work and other things become a distraction and get in the way of your worship of God?
- Which of these biblical acts of worship feel most natural to you: kneeling, raising hands, dancing, or praising? Share your experiences.
- Considering who God is and what He’s done for you, how can you worship Him with the way you live this week?
Take one thing home with you:
There is a common phrase in Christian circles: “Life is worship!” Worship is connected to life and includes everything we do – yes, everything.
But in the message this week we are picking up on another point. Namely this: if the vital essence of that inner experience we call worship is cherishing Christ as gain above all things. Romans 12: 1-2 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
The way that you live, let that be worship. Offer your lives, holy and pleasing to God. What is that? He says, this is your true and proper worship. In view of who God is, in view of what He’s done for you, your only reasonable response is to offer a living sacrifice. Worship is living a life for Christ. Worship is getting up in the morning and fixing our hearts on Christ. Worship is constantly renewing our relationship with Him through His word. And then worship is seeking to express and increase that satisfaction in all that God is for us in Jesus.