Worship: Our Ultimate Response Derl G. Keefer January 1, 2006 John 2:13-22 A young man decided to make a climb on the Swiss Alps and hired two men to be his guides. It was a steep, hazardous ascent to the top of the mountain. The experienced guides placed him in the middle of the trio as they climbed. After hours of struggling they reached the summit of the mountain. The guide ahead wished to let the young man have the first glorious peek of heaven and earth, and moved aside to let him go first. Forgetting the gales that would blow across those summit rocks, the young climber leaped to his feet to catch the view. But the lead guide dragged him down. He shouted, “On your knees, sir! You are never safe here except on your knees.”6 Worship is like that, falling on our knees, before a holy God. Once you tear away all the glitz and glitter of what we consider a worship experience is to be in our minds it all boils down to the fact that we make our way humbly toward God and our ultimate response to him is our worship! What are our worship concerns? I. Our worship concern focuses around a God-Centered experience. John 2:13-16. It is not the place of worship that concerns God . People can worship God in a mud hut, in the open air, or a beautiful sanctuary, but it must be done with a heart and mind focused on God, not with boring clichés or pompous words. The basis of our worship is the celebration of God. Our job is to extol Him as the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Savior, Sanctifier, and Giver of Life. We celebrate God as we join together in earnest prayer and a song of praise. Worship occurs as we listen to His Word gladly and seek to be conformed by it more and more to the image of our Savior. Worship is the blending of hearts with one common goal . . . God! Ron Allen stated, “As thoughtful gift is a celebration of a birthday, as a special evening out is a celebration of an anniversary, as a warm eulogy is a celebration of a life, as a sexual embrace is a celebration of marriage – so a worship service is a celebration of God”7 As you enter the worship experience ask: *What have I done to prepare myself for this experience? *Who have I prayed for in this service? *When is the last time I invited God to come into my life? *Where is the lesson in the pastor’s sermon and the music ministry for me to learn? II. Our worship concern focuses around our social concern for our world. John 2:13-16. What irritated Jesus to the point that he became angry enough to fashion a whip out of cords and drive the money changers out of the temple? What caused Jesus to literally overthrow tables of these people? Why did he angrily shout to the money handlers, “Get these (animals) out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” Mark 2:16 N.I.V. William Barclay tells his readers that the Court of the Gentiles in the Temple area was where the money exchangers and sellers of sacrificial animals had their business set up. The constant noise and hawking of wares made it almost impossible for the Gentiles who were seeking God, whose hearts and lives had been touched by Him, to meditate and pray. The Gentiles were the “fringe people” of the Jewish social order. Barclay poignantly asked, “Is there anything to our Church life – a snobbish, exclusiveness, coldness, a lack of welcome, a tendency to make the congregation into a closed club, an arrogance, a fastidiousness – which keeps the seeking stranger out?”8 There are many issues facing us in 2006 that have to do with our spiritual and moral character as we worship. These include: *Poverty – with a billion people in our world living on less than $1 a day, a child poverty rate that is rising in the richest country in the world, and people starving. *Stewardship of God’s world including legitimate environmental concerns. *Family values issues that deal with gays, support of parents, raising children. *Reaching out to diverse peoples within our communities. *Ways to bring peace to a world filled with strife, love instead of hatred. It is Jesus and his church that deal with key issues while the world is silent! How we wrestle with these issues concerns our worship. III. Our worship concern focuses around our approach to God. V. 17-22. Jesus coming to earth put an end to man made ritualistic worship of God. An elaborate system of worship with incense and sacrifice offered by the hands of man was no longer needed. What God desired in the first place was a holy heart and Jesus had come to bring that to reality! Let’s take our cue from the book of Revelation and the four living creatures who shout, “Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is, and is to come.” Rev. 4:8 N.I.V. _________________ Sermon brief provided by: Derl Keefer, Adult Development Ministries Coordinator in the Sunday School Department, Nazarene World Headquarters, Kansas City, MO _________________ NOTES 6. Craig B. Larson, Editor, Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993), 281. 7. Charles Swindoll, The Tardy Oxcart (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998), 627. 8. William Barclay, The Gospel of John (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1955), 101. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.