“WISDOM OF LIVING (25): WHY WORSHIP?” By Pastor Yau
Text: Exodus 20:8-11 May 1, 2005
INTRODUCTION: Sunday worship is almost a universal trade mark of Christian faith. Christians and non-Christians alike all know that Sunday is the day Christians will go to churches to worship. Most Christians understand that this is the day God has set aside for the renewal of their spiritual growth, yet many have not received the intended benefits from their worship experience. Some may come to worship because of habit. Others may come to fulfill a duty. Still others will come because of their family. Still a few may come so no one will call them on Sunday night to tell them they were missed. Some may ask: Why do we have to worship every week anyway? To answer your question, read the text of today’s message.
God set aside one day a week, the Sabbath or the seventh day, for some very important reasons. He saw it so important to make it one of the Ten Commandments. In fact this fourth Commandment is the longest among all the Commandments. I am sure God will never do anything without good purposes:
THE PURPOSES OF THE SABBATH: (Exodus 20:8-11)
1) To demonstrate our reverence to the Almighty God: In the first three Commandments, God set rules that His people need to know: He is the only true God, they shouldn’t make or worship any other gods or images of gods and they should revere only His name. In order to see their obedience, God set the Fourth Commandment for His people to worship Him, only Him and to call only His name in reverence. To worship God, on Sundays or any other day is the best way to show our respect and reverence to him.
2) To nurture our spiritual needs and growth.(John ) “Man does not live by bread alone,” said Jesus. (Matt. 4:4) God sees our spiritual needs as important as physical needs. He allows us to work 6 days a week to meet our material needs. But one day a week He set aside to free us from work so we can concentrate on meeting our spiritual needs. We were created as spiritual beings and we have spiritual needs. Worship God once a week is designed to keep us spiritually strong. People who neglect their spiritual nurturing will grow weak and weary. They will lose strength in their life and become easy prey to temptations and sin and all the troubles that may come with them.
3) To learn the Truth of His Word: (2 Tim. 3:16) Most Christian churches, at least Baptist churches, will provide Bible study and worship services where Christians will learn from teachers and pastors and fellow believers the truth in God’s Word, the Bible. We learn the path of salvation from the Bible. We learn to how to strengthen our faith from the Bible. We also learn how to live our lives victoriously under pressures and temptations from the world by knowing the Bible. We learn how to share our faith with others from the Bible. The Bible is the supreme authority of our life and practices. To ignore the Bible is to forfeit eternal blessings.
4) To enrich Christian fellowship and encouragement: (Acts -47) Jesus founded His church to provide a place so His followers may come to worship, to fellowship and to encourage one another for mutual growth. It is the sense of community to which we belong and grow and serve one another and together we serve the Lord. No single “Lone Ranger” type of Christian will grow and mature to the point of being effective in his Christian witnessing. It takes many parts to make a functioning Body of Christ, the Church. (1 Corinth. 12:12-18)
GETTING THE BEST OUT OF YOUR WORSHIP: (John -24)
1) Give the Lord your best attention: (Matt. 26:40-43) Just as the disciples dozed off when they should be very much alert, physical fatigue is the worst condition in which we worship the Living God. If we really respect Him, we will come to worship with full energy and attention. We need to be physically prepared the night before. Cut down night life activities and turn off TVs early enough so you will have sufficient rest. Set in your mind that you are going to meet the King of all kings the next morning.
2) Prepare your spiritual appetite: (Psalm 122:1) King David rejoiced with his people when they went to the house of the Lord. It is very important to prepare your heart and mind for spiritual renewal as you come to worship on Sundays. The expectation of meeting the Lord, praise Him for His mercies, praying to Him with His people and listening to His words to meet our deepest spiritual needs. You only have 3 hours a week to replenish your spiritual tank. You have to come with a BIG appetite to absorb all you can. Poor spiritual appetite is a symptom of spiritual weakness or sickness.
3) Keep your focus right: (John ) Jesus instructed the Samaritan woman on the nature of God and our correct attitude to worship Him: in spirit and in truth. We need to focus on God first and everything else later. While seeing friends and families, serving in different capacities or even helping in the worship program are all important, we should never forget God is the sole purpose we are in that hour of worship. We need to focus on Him and Him alone. It is our relationship with God that drives us to worship. Never allow anything or anyone else takes the place of God in worship.
4) Strengthen your support system: (Hebrew 10:24-25) As Paul encouraged early Christians to support each other in love so they won’t stop worshipping, we are to remove all stumbling blocks that may hinder our worship experience. Some stop coming to worship because there are people at the church they don’t like. Some stop worship because of the program is too long, the songs are unfamiliar, the air conditioning is too cold or too warm, the food at lunch doesn’t fit their tastes, friend they want to see are not here any more, the list goes on and on. Paul says if we build a love relationship with each other, we will have a strong support system to encourage us to worship. Begin to love God. Learn to love people, especially new ones. Show appreciation to those who help in various programs at the church. If you love God and His people, you will love to come and worship Him with them.
PLAN TO WORSHIP: Treat your worship life as a spiritual savings account where you deposit your spiritual assets. It is through the accumulation of spiritual treasures you building your relationship with God. If you feel God is distant in time of crisis or need, may be your account is low or empty. Let me suggest a few things you can do better for your account:
1) Realign the position of God in your life as a Christian. How important is God in all the things you do? Set Him at the right position and you will find time to worship Him and knowing His word. How full is your spiritual tank? It’s time to start stocking.
2) Desire a higher and more productive life by being connected with Jesus through worship and Bible study. In John 15:5, Jesus said that if you keep connected with Him, your life will bear much fruits and you will experience the joy of being vibrant, achieving and useful. Your Christian life can be a blessing to others because of your strength and spiritual wisdom.
3) Overcoming hindrances of any stumbling block, be it from other people, your feeling or things at the church. Build relationship with others at the church with love and appreciation. You will have a stronger sense of belonging to that community of believers and that will create in you the desire to worship.
4) God rewards those who earnestly seek Him: (Hebrew 11:6) All who may come and worship God with faith in Him will be rewarded. Participating in worship services will increase your knowledge about God and will eventually lead you to believe Him and receive eternal life. Time spent in worship is your best investment.
1) God has prepared a well of blessings for all who will come and draw living water from it. Why stay dry and thirsty when you can have all your needs met, life vibrant and joy in your heart if you come face to face with Him in worship each week.
2) Worship is a time of renewal and re-energizing you can’t afford to miss.