Here is the video of the entire service from today at Mt. Hope for members and friends who were away or not present with us in the Meeting House. I’m praying you’ll be blessed! (Scripture reading begins at 32:32 followed by sermon) Many Blessings in Christ!
The Pastor’s sermon notes are below the embedded video. Here is a direct link to YouTube for the sermon: https://youtu.be/tPAKz3cOx-U
Sermon Title: “True Worship,” John 4:7-24
Have you ever driven in Florida? When we first lived there, I recall the seeming the oddity of the trees lining the roads. My mother-in-law was in the car and she said, “Oh, most of that isn’t really the tree. Those trees are covered in a vining invasive species called kudzu.” They wrap themselves around the tree and grow to incredible. heights and hang from all the branches. What looks like a giant healthy tree, is in fact, a tree that is being choked to death by this invasive species. It looks incredible and full of life. But the real tree underneath is slowly dying. Churches big and small, churches in rural and urban settings, churches of every variety today can easily become like these trees with the parasitic growth of entertainment, addiction to style, unbiblical ideas. Unbiblical parasitic growth kills the Church.
|We were created for worship. Modern ideas about church growth are ill-advised – aimed more at numbers of people rather than depth of discipleship in the people present. Worship is KEY.|
|Our want-to is broken. Our worship is point in the wrong direction…|
A.W. Tozer said that the missing jewel of the modern church is worship. He was right. The missing jewel of the modern church is worship because the church today is missing the foundation of covenant. Rather than covenanting with one another in covenant with God, we want what we want.
CIS: Worship is adoration to God from the heart filled with His love. True worship transforms the heart and grows from a transformed heart. Enter into worship in song, in service, in sanctification, and sacrament.
Song: “Sing a new song of praise to Him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.” (Psalms 33:3) “We are to sing a new song unto the Lord. What is that new song? Several psalms speak of a new song that will be sung in the future. J. Vernon McGee says, “I think when the time comes to sing that new song there will be new singers also. I am going to have a new body, and I think I will be able to sing. I hope the Lord will let me sing in heaven.”
Revelation 5:9 says, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” The psalmist exhorts us to sing a song of praise to God because He is our Creator, but the new song we will sing in heaven will be because the Lord Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. In Revelation 14:3 we read, “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.”
A new song will be sung in the future. And we must sing a different song now.
[Don’t sing the worlds song. Don’t sing the song of self-adoration. Don’t sing the fear song which has us running from God into the supposed safety of the cruel clutches of governmental worldly structures. They make promises they don’t keep. Sing the song of salvation and trust in God no matter what!]
Worship through song is an important biblical theme. It brings the community of God together in a way that is uncommonly vulnerable in our society.
Service: “But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) The missing ingredient in today’s discipleship is service. We have everything else.
We have access to as much Bible knowledge as we care to take in, from books in a day delivered to our doorsteps to digital libraries at our fingertips. We can listen to any kind of preaching or teaching online. We can travel to conferences and take courses. We have everything we need for discipleship.
We are only missing the main ingredient. We are often lacking in the desire, and more importantly, the discipline for regular acts of service. For the disciple who wants to grow in worship, he must grow in a lifestyle of service.
Remember, Christianity is a vocation not an academic pursuit. Blue Collar.
Sanctification: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
Our lives are vocations of worship. I think it far better to talk about the things we do as callings of vocation. You didn’t happen to get married. The Lord called you into the vocation of marriage. This has fallen into disfavor or at least it seems largely to have fallen away in common usage. Webster’s 1828:
- Among divines, a calling by the will of God; or the bestowment of God’s distinguishing grace upon a person or nation, by which that person or nation is put in the way of salvation; as the vocation of the Jews under the old dispensation, and of the Gentiles under the gospel.
- Summons; call; inducement.
- Designation or destination to a particular state or profession. None is to enter the ecclesiastic or monastic state, without a particular vocation.
- Employment; calling; occupation; trade; a word that includes professions as well as mechanical occupations. Let every divine, every physician, every lawyer, and every mechanic, be faithful and diligent in his vocation.
We would do well, I think, to add a discussion in the church, as a regular part of our discipleship and child raising, about discerning vocation. We’re just shot gunning discipleship without this foundational discussion. We must:
- Discern our primary vocation (marriage, ministry, religious life, career, etc.)
- Discern our particular vocation (whom to marry, etc.)
- Follow God’s will for our relationships. Unequally yoked etc.
“Each vocation requires some sacrifice to die to self in the service of others. Perhaps this is the true meaning of vocation. Through serving others we act as God to others and we become more and more like Christ each day. While we might sin and fall short of what God desires for us, God still calls us to faithfully live our vocations in the…” sure and certain hope of heaven.
|Vocation as escape from judgement of others. Stay in your lane.|
Rediscover vocation. Everything we are and do can be an act of worship.
Sacrament: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)
When I say “sacrament” here, I’m not so much talking about taking communion or being baptized. I’m talking about being a part of the sacramental community of Christ where those things are practiced.
I’m saying true worship happens in the context Christian brotherhood. Marva Dawn, in her book, “Truly The Community,” writes, “Members of the Body of Christ are not committed to each other in a genuine and thorough love that is applied to the needs of others. How desperately the world needs the alternative that the Church can offer as it demonstrates the hilarity of commitment in the gladness of our love for one another.” (1992, p. 156)
Sacramental community is when Christians gather around the right things for the right reasons. We are only a crowd until we become a community through the sacramental life of giving our lives away together and for one another.
“At a meeting of the Board of Overseers of Harvard College a proposition was made to absolve the students from daily attendance at Chapel. After a number of younger men had argued in its favor, Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke, “Religious worship is the most important single function of the life of any people. I derived more benefit from the Chapel service when I was in College than from any, perhaps from all, other exercises which I attended. When I am in Europe I go on every occasion to join in the religious service of the people of the town in which I am. For this reason I should be sorry to see the attendance at Chapel made to vary with the wishes at the moment of the young men.” After this no one cared to speak, and as long as he lived, compulsory attendance was maintained.” Worship matters!
Worship is found in song, in service, in sanctification, and sacrament. It is expressed in various ways but it always points others to God and orients us in the direction of God. Let’s be a worshipful people in every way! Amen.
 Through the Bible Commentary.