Text: Psalm 119:9-16 February 26, 2012
1) Buffet at a hotel: A hotel in
2) Worship at a church: Sometimes, I think, some of us treat our worship experience as going to an express buffet. We arrive late, wishing the program would go faster to the main course, the message. Looking at our watch and hoping to finish fast so we can get out to our other business. Then all week long, we feel we didn’t get anything from God, nothing from the worship experience energizes our life. We are left empty on the inside week after week and wonder why our spiritual life is like having heartburn.
REASONS OF HEARTBURN WITH WORSHIP:
1) Worship without preparation: If you go to a conference, a class or any other activity unprepared, most likely you won’t get much of the event that makes you feel upset, feeling bad and even angry at the event and/or yourself. Some Christians come to worship without any preparation, spiritual, physical and emotional. They got up late, struggle if they want or need to go. When they decide want to go, they rush to church late, feeling bad. These people seldom have any spiritual preparedness for worship. It is routine or a duty to fulfill otherwise the pastor or someone else will email or call them the next day that is embarrassing and annoying.
2) Worship without expectation: When you go to a conference or a class with little or no preparation, most likely you don’t expect anything significant to happen that may benefit you. This is also true when you come to worship at church. Being unprepared with little or no expectation is a sign of being irresponsible to your life because you are spending time and energy for things that are not doing any good for you. This is also true to your job, your marriage, family life and relationship with others. Life without expectation is the same as without hope. Life without hope is boring and dead.
3) Worship without participation: Educators told us there are ways to reap the best benefit in learning from just listening to thinking, from writing to responding verbally or in actions. Just sitting there listening is the lowest level of learning. If you step up to thinking, writing and verbal or active response, you get much more than just being a silent listener. Participation is very important in learning and growing. That is why we project the music, the program, the songs and the sermon outline on the screen so you can actively participate by singing and reading and writing down like taking notes in a class so you will get the most for your spiritual growth.
4) Worship without production: Being productive as Christians is commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 15:1-8) Being non-productive is NOT an option for anyone. Jesus had hash words on non-productive people on his parable of a fruitless fig tree in Luke 13:6-9. Worshipping God is the first and the foremost importance function of the church. The next 2 functions are fellowship of believers and missions. Jesus built the church so His followers may come to worship God for our spiritual growth so we can be productive Christians to bring souls to God’s Kingdom. We have provided many programs for you to grow: worship God and fellowship with people in Bible and discipleship classes.
1) Worship is meeting God. “When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God.” (Genesis 28:16-17) A true worship is feeling the presence of God, no matter what place it may be. A true worship is a sense of awe to face God with fear and reverence. What will you do before you are to meet the governor of your state or the president of your company? What will you do when you are going to meet God?
2) Worship is acknowledging God: “The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your
offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who
had appeared to him.” (Genesis 12:7) Building an altar to the Lord is an act of
worshipping the Lord. This is very early in the life of Abram and his journey
to the Promised Land. Later on when he moved near to
3) Worship is revering God: “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker.” (Psalm 95:6) This is about our humble attitude when we come to worship God. It is never a ritual or a routine to come to church to worship God. Worship should be a time for us to express our inner reverence to God the Most High. This includes our well preparedness, making it the priority of the day or the week, and the desire we need to have to be with God in His house.
4) Worship in spirit and truth: “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship Him in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) This is the heart of true worship: in spirit and in truth. Worship in spirit is about worship with our most inner being, our spiritual part of life, our complete giving to the Lord. Worship in truth is about sincerity and honesty, completely open to God, hiding nothing from him so God can see, come in and reside in our hearts.
WAXIMIZE WORSHIP BENEFITS: (Psalm 119:9-16)
1) Seek and keep God’s word: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands.” (119:9-10) No one will be left out in the benefits of worship-ping God if he will seek and keep God’s word in his heart. Seeking and keeping are signs of purposeful. When we come to worship with the desire of seeking God’s word and determined to keep it in our hearts, worship becomes meaningful and beneficial. This is not just for young men or women it is also for all of us regardless of our age or spiritual journey. When you come to church with expectation and are prepared to seek God and keep his word, you are doing right.
2) Being teachable and serious: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees.” (119:11-12) Being serious for God’s word is important to have a teachable heart. Too often we either don’t get anything from God’s word at worship time or we resist the teaching of his word. Some may even reject the teaching of God’s word because they feel offended. When God’s word spears into our soul and causes us to feel shame and pain that is a healing process to our sins in our hearts. We are to be humble to receive God’s breaking and rebuilding work in our life to bring us back to him.
3) Follow and share God’s word: “With my lips I proclaim all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.” (119:13-14) The biggest problem that hinders us from ripping the biggest benefit in worship is we lack the determination to heed and follow the word of God. Usually we listen, agree, feel good and then forget all about it the next day. And we repeat the same cycle the following week and many weeks after. No wonder we don’t get anything but feel bored and numb in the word of God. Some even complain: I didn’t get anything from worship. Gear up like King David, be determined to follow, practice what you learn in the worship service. David also pledged to share, to proclaim, to tell others about God’s word because he realized the benefits God’s word may bring to others. No wonder James encouraged the early Christians be “doer and not just hearers” of the word of God. (James 1:22-23) Shouldn’t we be doers, not just hearers, as well?
4) Take your time, enjoy a dinner: “I meditate on your precepts and think through your ways. I delight in your decrees and I will not neglect your word.” (119:15-16) Coming to worship is not going to a 30-minutes fast buffet, but a spiritual dinner or banquet. You don’t need to rush through, stuffing yourself with the food and get out in 30 minutes. You can sit down, slowly enjoy all the good food, chew them to enjoy the taste and the nutrition. You also can enjoy the fellowship with all the people around you, make some friends, share some life experiences with one another. Same as meditating the word of God. David said he was delighted in meditating God’s word. Worship can be a happy experience if you take time to enjoy and do it the right way.
1) It’s a worship, not a quick shop: We do different things at different places. Millions around the world don’t have this privilege to worship God and listen to his word. Do it the right way to rip the most benefits in all worship services. This is a time you renew your relationship with God and His people. It is also a time to replenish your spiritual tank so you will be full of energy to live for the Lord as productive Christians as God wants you to be.
2) Don’t get a heartburn: If you have a spiritual heartburn about God, church, worship, you need to stop that “30-minutes express buffet” mentality. For your spiritual health, you need to come close to God in worship services. God and His people here at FCBC have planned, prepared and are ready to meet your needs. Don’t miss the boat and feel heartburn.