When Worship Works!
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
DATE: 20 Jan, 2008 AM
PLACE: BBC Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (2Chron 7:14)
A. You may not believe it, but people who obey 2Chron 7:14 bless God! The part that is overlooked is the part that says, “and seek my face” seek my reaction!
B. We were created to worship God, to bring Him pleasure (Rev 4:11), but do we?
1. We humans always want our worship to mean something to US – to make us feel better.
a. People are so worried about what they are going to get out of church
b. People compare the comfort of the chairs, and the fanciness of the buildings, and talent of the speakers
c. They have it all backwards!
2. Have you ever wondered if your worship, your time in prayer, your singing, your giving, your reading of the Bible means anything to God? Do you think God goes, “Wow! Now THAT is sweet to see!”?
3. Check out these Scriptures…
a. Luke 6:46
b. Matthew 15:8
C. Meaningful worship worries about whether GOD gets anything out of our lives; Out of our time at Church!
D. It is TOO easy to just come, and sit in the back, and sing just barely above a whisper, when if I asked your wife, I bet she could attest to the fact that you know how to shout!
E. I so want us to WANT to bless the Lord, to honour His name, to truly BOW and worship him like we should – not with formal ceremonies, but with all our being!
F. We certainly WILL truly worship Him with no distractions one day. We ought to do it now!
G. But how? What has to be changed in you and me? What different way should we see our worship, that will help us to bless our precious Lord?
H. Six Key Areas make our worship work… make it Meaningful to God!
A. My Personal Relationship with My Saviour Pleases God (2Peter 1:17)
1. Just His very Person impresses God (John 8:29)!
2. His Punishment on the cross blessed God (Isaiah 53:4-6,10)
3. His Relations please God (Hebrews 2:11) – that’s every born again child of God folks! He’s not ashamed of his family, IF you are in it!!!
4. You had better KNOW Him, not just know ABOUT Him!
5. Are you in His family? Are you His child? Is he your Saviour, or is He just an icon, a picture, an image on a wall?
B. My Position Pleases God (Luke 18:9-14) – worship begins by looking up, not down!
1. Humbled – at the bottom – no demands
2. It is more than reverence – it is complete surrender as if in trouble, and no place to hide (Psalm 147:10,11) – true fear of God is terrifying!
3. It is good to know that ALL of us are on the same level before God
4. Even if you are a king (1Kings 3:10)
5. The bottom is the only place that God blesses! Isn’t that awesome?
a. We all want to top spot, but the Lord reserves that place not for the mighty or the fastest, or the richest, but for the broken, and the sinner, and the harlot, and the broken rebel, and the empty vessel.
6. God is not talking about being pitiful, and wimpy, and a push-over! No, no, NO!
7. Humility is being passionate about “others,” and not worrying about yourself at all!!!
a. Humility is that strange possession that you lose the moment that you think you have it
b. You don’t have to try that hard to be humble, you’re not all that great anyhow!
c. Humility wants God to be gloried, and others to get the credit for whatever gets done!
8. Folks, at the root of all problems, and contentions, (whether in your home, at this church, in your heart) is what? Pride! (Pr 13:10, “Only by pride cometh contention”)
9. Romans 3:23 “ALL have sinned…”
10. Romans 5:8 “God commendeth His love towards us [ALL]…”
C. My Panting Pleases God – unusual word indeed (Psalm 42:1,2; 63:1,2). Worship comes from an intense desire for God, instead of for things!
1. A hunger, desire, thirst, dependence just on God
2. “No other gods” the first commandment demands! NONE!
a. People can’t wait to play tele-bingo
b. People can’t wait for their money on Thursdays at the PO
c. People can’t wait to get a new government in power so that we can get MORE from the government! That is shameful and wrong
3. There is something pleasant when we desire to please Him only – to do the things that make HIM happy, that bless God’s heart!
4. Oh that men would desire to find ALL their help in Him alone – not as the last one you finally call on when everything else has failed! What hypocrisy!
5. That emptiness, and guiltiness, and shame that exists in EVERY HEART, is meant ONLY for God to fill, and fix, and fire-up with His presence!
6. Everything else, absolutely everything else will leave you worse off - period!
7. Many a relationship grows cold and stale until one of you realize what you have, and realize that you are about to lose it!
a. Many a man has lost his family, his wife because of numbness
b. Many a woman has lost her sanity because she has relied on everyone and everything except God
c. Many of us need to Confess our numbness towards God, and start starving ourselves of all the “junk food” that our hearts have been feasting on, and be assured, you will start hungering for the living God, and for the pure words of truth in the Bible once again! AND, you will start seeing God work on your behalf once again!
D. My Purity Pleases God (Psalm 29:2; Titus 2:14). Worship occurs only when I am seeking my life to be clean, and holy.
1. Every person in the Bible who came and worshipped the Lord, KNEW their lives were a mess
2. But they came with the desire to be washed, and cleansed, and pure, and made whole
3. Worship does not come from perfection, but from yieldedness to His work in your life
4. You CANNOT worship God with a heart full of sin (especially hidden sins), but you most certainly CAN worship God with a heart that is seeking to be cleansed!
5. Examples include:
a. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears (Luke 7:37-39, “And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.”)
b. The centurion who worshipped, even though he knew he was unworthy (Mt 8:8, “The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed”)
c. The prodigal son (“I am no more worthy to be called thy son…”)
d. The filthy leper (Mt 8:2, “And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”)
e. The Canaanite woman (Mt 15:25, “Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.”)
f. The demon possessed man of Gadera (Mark 5:6, “But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him”)
6. This is no excuse to continue in sin! God wants us to be clean and to worship Him in the beauty of holiness! Just don’t wait until you are holy – seek to BE holy by worship – it has a way of cleansing us like in Isa 6!!!
E. My Patience Pleases God (Luke 8:11-15)
1. Our patience with God proves depth to our relationship with Him
2. God promises that he is working, and will finish His work, and make all things beautiful, but only… IN HIS TIME
3. What we have is a very impatient generation. I think we are cursed!
a. Dating at 12 years old
b. Kids at 8 having mobile phones
c. Newlyweds actually buying their homes right when they get married, WITH all new furniture!
d. 6 percent of today’s Irish population feel that pre-marital sex is wrong. In 1973, 71 percent said it was wrong. People are impatient!
e. God is blessed when we wait
f. AND, we are blessed when we wait!
g. THAT SAME generation since 1973 has seen absolute breakdown in the family and society!
h. People are SO impatient today
4. The Lord has a lot to say about our need for patience…
a. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:36)
b. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
c. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him. (Psalms 37:7)
d. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. (Psalms 40:1)
e. Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)
f. … but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope. (Romans 5:3,4)
g. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; (Romans 12:12)
h. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
i. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: (Romans 15:5)
j. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (Colossians 1:11)
k. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. (2 Timothy 2:24)
l. That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith AND PATIENCE inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12)
m. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed. (Psalm 25:3)
F. My Place of Service Pleases God (1Corinthians 12:13-18)
1. Part of a Body.
a. Did you know that when God saves someone, He has a unique purpose for them, and special place for them to function, like a part of a body – not someone to just continue on their own merry way!
b. It’s called, being part of a local, New Testament Church, and functioning in that church in JUST AS VITAL A PLACE AS THE PASTOR!!!
c. Somebody said to me this week, “Well if you weren’t there, several people wouldn’t be their anymore.” Do you know what the truth is? When YOU, and YOU, and YOU, and YOU aren’t here, people are affected, and stop coming too! This Body grows when WE ALL find our PLACE, and serve THERE! AMEN!!!
2. Our place will be a place of…
a. Contentment – wherever God has placed me – maybe even on the sidelines for a while, or in a place that is hard. Be it known, that there is no crown in this life – that is for the next. The only thing a Christian gets to wear here is … a towel as Jesus wore on the last night before the cross!
b. Concern - about OTHERS and their needs instead of myself
c. Consistency – reliability - not undependable, but always there for others, like your leg is there for you! Aren’t you glad your lips don’t fall out with your nose and fall off and run away until they feel better?
3. So, WHERE has God been trying to place you? So many fall out because the waiting gets hard… I know!
4. Are you yielded to his guidance? (Philippians 2:13) To where He is leading you (Psalm 23:4)
5. Are you expanding, year by year, doing more for the Lord Jesus, or shirking your responsibilities here? (1Thessalonians 4:1)
A. Six key areas that need to be nurtured in our lives if our worship is to be meaningful to the One we are worshipping!!!
1. My Personal Relationship with My Saviour has to be first! Without this, all the religion, all the good works, all the best intentions will only bless the devil, and damn your soul! Period!
2. My Position – how does God see me? Proud, or low? The bottom is the only place that God blesses!
3. My Panting - Hunger, desire, dependence just on God
4. My Purity, and especially my desire for it
5. Patience - Is anyone in here willing to wait on God anymore? Willing to pray and wait, and trust and wait, and believe that God will NOT let you be ashamed for waiting?
6. A Place of Service – a specially designed, specially tailored place that you are supposed to be, ministering, serving, giving, blessing, and helping, no matter how hard it may be, and no matter how hurt you may get!
B. We all need to take a good look at our thoughts, our distractions, our priorities
C. See if God is in there someone, and not only put Him at the top, but just throw out absolutely everything else and start doing everything you do for His honour, and his glory, and according to his will, and for his pleasure! That’s why we were created anyway!