Sermon #34                                                          Luke Sermons


     Title:            WORSHIP

     Text:            Luke 6:12-19

     Subject:       Worship

     Date:            Sunday Evening – August 6, 2000

     Tape #         V-95a

     Readings:     Office: Merle Hart Auditorium: Gary Baker



Most every religious order calls its regular meetings “Worship services.” We do, the papists do, and the Campbellites do. When men and women go to church, they are, at least they say they are, going to worship. But is religious activity synonymous with worship?


It is Sunday morning. — A crowd has gathered at the church building for the regular weekly meeting. The service begins with a song or two and the pastor takes the floor. It’s time to welcome the people. "We’re glad to see Sis. Long-Tongue back today. We sure missed you. Deacon Hurt Feelings, we’re so happy you are back with us. Brother Nowhere-Else-To-Go, we are so delighted you are here."


After several minutes of this pandering to the flesh, he reads a few verses of Scripture and goes through the motions of prayer in his “pastoral prayer,” followed by another hymn and announcements!


·        Monday – “Boy Scouts meet.”

·        Tuesday — “The ladies’ missionary society has a luncheon.”

·        Wednesday – “Prayer meeting. Our attendance has been falling off lately; let's all turn out this Wednesday.”

·        Thursday – “Visitation night. — When we go they come.”

·        Friday, “The deacons' board meets.”

·        Saturday – “We clean the church. And, oh, yes, don't forget next Sunday. Everyone bring one."


When all else is done and the preacher finally gets around to giving a little sermonette. Everyone is looking at the clock, wondering, — “How long is this going to take. The roast is in the oven. The lines are backing up to the doors at all the good restaurants. The ball game starts at noon. Doesn’t he know when to quit? It's time to go home!” This is what men call " a worship service!"


What nonsense! Worship is, at least in part, "the act of paying divine honor to God." Who is honored in the religious activities men call “worship services”? — Man! There is nothing in the average church service that is even remotely related to the honor of God.


The words used in the Word of God for "worship" speak of a "bowing or falling down," of “reverence and obeisance,” of “humility and surrender,” of “praise and honor to God.”


In the typical "worship service" of the modern church everything is done for the exaltation of the flesh, the pampering of human pride, and the recognition and praise of men. We greet men, turn around and shake hands, recognize everything men do. In general, churches and preachers do everything possible to bow and scrape before human flesh as though man were God and God Almighty were a beggar, groveling before sinful worms to get a little attention! Today, we praise men and women for blessing us with their presence in the house of God. In the Bible, men praised God for the privilege of coming.


Most "worship services" today are nothing more than religious pep rallies designed to get more people to come, raise more money, perform more baptisms, and build bigger buildings than the next church around the corner. Oh, that men would WORSHIP GOD!


Can a church have a true worship service? Yes, sir! I am no expert. I do not pretend to know a great deal about this business of worship. But I do have some suggestions about what we can do, some things that may help us to worship God when we gather for public worship.


1.    Make the entire service a “worship service.” You cannot have both religious promotionals and Divine worship. We cannot both entertain men and worship God. It is impossible to have for our motive both the honor of man and the glory of God. Let God's glory be the theme in all our services, from the first hymn to the final “Amen.” – Maybe, just maybe, if we seek the glory of God, we will be privileged to see the glory of God.


2.    Eliminate all excess baggage. Anything that interferes with the worship of God must go. How will the people know when to meet if we do away with the announcements? They might consider reading the bulletin! I put the announcements in print (and don't insult your intelligence by reading them to you). How will the visitors know they are welcome if we don't recognize them? Strangely enough, people know whether or not they are welcome before we sing them a song, have an “old fashioned hand shaking,” have them to stand and be recognized, or hand them a card to fill out and drop in the offering plate!


“But, preacher, if we don’t keep people pumped up, enthusiasm will die. We have to promote the church and our programs, or people will lose interest.” – No, sir. That is the way it is in the world, but not in the house of God. Spiritual enthusiam (if you will permit me to use such a word) is found in and maintained by the gospel of Christ. It is inspired by God the Holy Spirit. It is derived from the knowledge of the love, mercy, grace, and glory of God in Christ. Enthusiasm, faithfulness, or generosity stirred by any other means but the gospel itself is not genuine and will sour, not enhance, true worship.


3.    Stick to the gospel. Heresy in music is just as bad as heresy in the pulpit. A hymn or special music that is not thoroughly consistent with the gospel is out of place in the house of God. Anything short of the gospel does not belong in a worship service. Even our prayers, (Especially our prayers!), should be filled with the gospel. It is amazing what the gospel will do for men when it is the sum and substance of their worship.


Oh, that men would worship God! Let us deliberately and continually clean the house of the Lord, taking everything that has nothing to do with the worship of our God, the glory of God, and the preaching of the gospel out to the garbage dump and burn it.


With those things said, I want to tall to you tonight about WORSHIP. Worship is never defined in the Word of God. Therefore, I will not attempt to define it. But there are several words used in the Old and New Testaments, which give us an indication of what is involved in the business of worship. I have already hinted at this. The different words translated “worship” in the Bible mean “to bow down in reverence, awe, and obeisance, to kiss the hand of our Master like a grateful dog licks his master’s hand, to prostrate one’s self before the Lord, to supplicate the throne of grace, and to serve the one true and living God of heaven and earth.


I.     The greatest privilege men and women have this side of eternity is the preivilege of worshipping God in the assembly of his saints.


·        (Psalms 5:7)  "But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple."


Multitudes today who profess to be Christians, lovers of God, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and promoters of righteousness, willfully absent themselves from the house of God and despise the blessed privilege of public worship. They justify their actions and excuse their disobedience by pointing to personal responsibilities, inconveniences, or objectionable things connected with the local church. A person determined to walk in a course of disobedience never lacks for excuses to do so! But you will never find justification for neglecting the worship of God in Holy Scripture.


·        In Nehemiah's day, the children of Israel who had long been without the privileges of worship in the house of God, made a covenant and took an oath saying, "We will not forsake the house of our God" (Neh. 10:39).


·        The Shunammite woman rode a donkey every sabbath day to hear God's prophet at Carmel, though her husband objected to it (2 Kings 4:23).


·        In David's time, the saints of God "passed through the valley of Baca" to worship God at Zion (Psa. 84:6).


·        In Daniel's day, the children of God ran to and fro "to increase knowledge," to know more of the Lord God (Dan. 12:4).


·        Zechariah tells us that in his days, the inhabitants of one city went to another, saying, "Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 8:21).


·        Our Lord and his disciples went to considerable trouble and inconvenience to meet together and worship God (Mk. 1:21; Lk. 4:16).


·        The Ethiopian Eunuch journeyed from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to worship God, seeking to know him of whom the prophets spoke (Acts 8:25).


Call it fanaticism if you choose, but I say without fear of contradiction that anyone who talks about being a Christian, who talks about worshipping God, who talks about being a believer, and yet willfully neglects the worship of God, ought to blush with shame for his obvious hypocrisy! All who know God in the experience of his grace delight in worshipping him.


II.  The Worship of God is the duty of all men. No one can worship the Holy Lord God who does not worship him freely.


Yes, it is our duty, as well as our privilege to worship God.

·        To Celebrate His Praise

·        To Confess Our Faith

·        To Encourage, Comfort, and Edify His People

·        To Spread His Gospel


Yet, in its very essence, worship is a free, voluntary thing. It is something that cannot be forced, except by the sweet force of irresistible grace.


·        (Ezra 2:68-69)  "And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: {69} They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests' garments."


A.  As the grace of God operating towards his people is free, so the grace of God operating in his people is free.


We know and rejoice in the fact that every blessing of grace and providence, as well as every blessing of heavenly glory is free (1 Cor. 2:12; 3:21; Rom. 8:32; Eph. 1:3). What God does for us he does simply because it is his will to do so. He gains nothing by it and would lose nothing if he did not do it. Grace is God's good pleasure, the good pleasure of his will toward us. Even so, whatever the believer does for his God he does simply because it is his good pleasure to do so. He is not motivated by either the fear of punishment or the hope of reward. All that he offers to God is offered freely.


B.  As we have freely received the grace of God, so we must freely proclaim the grace of God to all men (Matt. 10:7-8).


Paul said, "I have preached unto you the gospel of God freely" (2 Cor. 11:7). God's servants are worthy of their hire (Lk. 10:7; 1 Cor. 9:7-14); I Tim. 5:18). But God's servants are not hirelings! I cannot imagine anything more offensive to a gospel preacher than to have someone ask him, how many people, or how much money he would have to have to go anywhere to preach the gospel! Neither can I imagine a gospel preacher asking for anything as a condition for his services as a preacher! We preach the gospel freely, trusting God to supply our needs as he sees fit.


C. God’s saints worship him freely. (Psa. 54:6-7).


·        (Psalms 54:6-7)  "I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. {7} For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies."


Both private worship and public worship are to God's people free, uncoerced acts. Worship that is forced, or performed out of the dread of punishment or the desire of gain is not worship at all, but only the pretentious act of a mercenary servant.


D. Sinners who have been saved by the grace of God give freely of their means to maintain and promote the worship of God (Ezra 2:68-69; 7:13-15; 2 Cor. 9:7).


·        (2 Corinthians 9:7)  "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."


Those to whom much is forgiven love much; and love is manifest in two ways: doing and giving! God does not need any of us. What can a man do for, or give to God? Nothing! But the Lord allows us the privilege of giving to the cause of Christ, ministering to his people, maintaining the repair of his house, and caring for his servants. These things God receives as done unto himself and his people do freely, as unto the Lord.


III. If we would worship God we must worship him in Spirit and in truth.


·        (Philippians 3:3)  "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."


A.  We must worship God as God.


To call upon the name of the Lord is to worship him. But you cannot call upon him, if you do not know who he is. Worship begins with God Almighty revealing himself to us and in us by the mighty operation of his grace. If God is pleased to reveal himself, we will worship him. We will fall down in awe before his glorious majesty, supplicate his throne, seek to hear from him and know his will. And we will celebrate his praise joyfully.


If we worship God, we do not pick and choose what aspect of his works or his being we will worship. We worship him for all that he is and all that he does.


·        His Attributes

·        His Grace

·        His Providence

·        His Judgments


·        (Psalms 36:6)  "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast."


·        (Psalms 48:1)  "A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness."


·        (Psalms 97:8)  "Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD."


·        (Psalms 119:39)  "Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good."


·        (Psalms 119:43)  "And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments."


·        (Psalms 119:52)  "I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself."


·        (Psalms 119:75)  "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."


·        (Psalms 119:120)  "My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments."


B.  We must worship God in spirit.


·        Spiritually

·        By the Power and Grace of His Spirit

·        In the Spirit – In the Life and Realm of the Spirit


C.  If we would worship, we must worship God in truth.


·        In Sincerity

·        In the Truth of the Gospel

·        In Christ who is the Truth – There is no knowledge of God and no worship of God outside Christ.


D.  If we would worship God, we must renounce all trust in the flesh and trust Christ alone as our Savior.


IV. Now, turn with me to Luke 6:12-19. I touched on this a few weeks ago, but just barely. Here are seven things absolutely essential to the worship of God.


·        (Luke 6:12-19)  "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. {13} And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; {14} Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, {15} Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, {16} And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. {17} And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; {18} And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. {19} And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all."


A.  A Priest Interceding For Us (v. 12)


B.  A Man Sent of God with A Message (v. 13 – Apostle — Messenger)


C.  Christ’s Manifest Presence (v. 17)


D.  Come to Hear Him (v. 17)


E.   A Need Christ Alone Can Fill (v. 17 — “To be healed”)


F.   An Earnest Desire To Touch The Savior (v. 19)


G. Virtue Flowing Out From The Son of God To Us (v. 19)