There is another way by which God may have saved some of us, and that is when he rescued us from death or danger. There must be somebody here who was in an accident and you do not know how you came out alive. There must be somebody here who was gravely ill and the doctors had given up on you, but you are sitting here today saying to yourself "My soul looks back and wonders how I got over." If you are honest with yourself today you will agree that the words of Amazing Grace are a description of your life's journey:
Through many dangers, toils and snaresI have already come;T'was grace that brought me safe thus far,And grace will lead me home.
In my own lifetime I have had cancer, but God saved me. I was in a car crash that should have left me dead, but God saved me. I was in an airport in New York in 1976 when a terrorist group set off a bomb and killed many others, but for some reason God saved me. I look back over my life and see that time after time God has stepped in and saved me from danger and from death. That is why I am not ashamed to say, O come, let us sing unto the Lord. Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. On more than one occasion the sovereign God has worked to be a savior in my life. That is why I say," O come, let us worship the Lord, let us kneel before the Lord our maker."
However, there is a third sense in which God has been our savior, and this one applies to all of us. Sin had a strong grip on our lives and it was leading us into places, and around people and getting us involved in practices that we could not break. Someone once said that sin takes us where we did not want to go, it costs us more than we wanted to pay and it costs us more than we ever thought we would have to pay. Is there anybody here today who did not have to struggle with the reality of your sin?
Maybe it was an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Maybe it was a fascination with pornography or excessive gambling. Maybe it was pride and the prejudice that makes us lookdown on those who do not look us or live near us or behave like us. Maybe it was stealing, or gossip, or adultery or hatred. Maybe it was a violent temper, a greedy nature that kept you from sharing with others no matter how great their need, or perhaps it was a lying and deceitful tongue that caused everything but the truth to come out of your mouth. I do not know what your struggle with sin has been, but I do know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Now hear this Good News. While we were still in our sins Christ died for the ungodly. While we were still doing wrong Jesus was working to get our lives right. While we were saying no to God, God was saying yes to us on Calvary. Not only are we saved from the circumstances of our early lives, and not only are we saved from danger and death that surrounds us every day, but we are also saved from the sins that can rob us of abundant life in this world and that can also deny us eternal life with God in the world to come.
Today I invite you ask this question; who have we come to worship? When you start thinking about the fact that God is the sovereign Lord of all creation, you will not need to worry about when or where or how to engage in worship. You will just start praising God because of who God is. Then I ask you to consider why we should worship God? What has the sovereign God done in my life that I should come before him with thanksgiving? If the Lord has saved you from the perils of your earlier life, worship him. If the Lord has saved you from the dangers and near-death encounters that have tracked you through the years you ought to worship.
Most importantly, however, if you know that the Lord went to the cross to pay the price for your sins, you ought to worship him. If you know that the Lord looked beyond your faults and saw your needs and washed your sins away with his precious cleansing blood, then you might not find it hard to say, "O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker." Worship is not about how to do it, or when to do it, or where to do it. Worship is about who is being worshipped and why that worship is deserved. So consider another verse from a hymn that was referred to earlier in this sermon.
And when I think that God his son not sparing,Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in;That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,He bled and died to take away my sin.Then sings my soul my savior God to thee,How great thou art, how great thou art.
O come, let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Marvin A. McMickle is Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, OH.