Sunday, April 10, 2011

All Praise Is Due Him. JESUS!

I keep asking people each Sunday why they are going to church because I want to provoke them into a greater awareness of what we are doing. Too often we do things because of tradition and habit, allowing all meaning and purpose to slip away. It becomes comfortable, maybe even tired, as we continue doing the same thing again and again. The worship of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is anything but comfortable. To worship in "spirit and truth" provokes and stretches us as we become more familiar with the new creation we have been transformed into. There should be a mix of adoration, joy and respectful fear as we come to worship our Holy God.

It is true that we should be worshipping 7 days a week and if we do then we understand this healthy relationship we have with the Creator of all things. However, there is something incredibly powerful about worshipping as the Body of Christ, when we gather with our brothers and sisters to lift up the name of Jesus with gratefulness for all that he has done and continues to do. We also come in with a desire to be changed, to be bettered, to be equipped for the warfare at hand. But mostly it is the relationship and fellowship we enjoy with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. When we are open, attentive and anticipating, remaining sensitive to the Spirit, God will join with us in that place; or I should say he will open our eyes to his presence.

Why do we go to church? I think the psalmist said it best:

Not to us, O LORD, not to us 
   but to your name be the glory, 
   because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1)

We go so that together we may glorify The NAME because of his love and faithfulness. When you realize who he is and what he has done you also realize what a mouthful that is. We praise and worship because of who he is. No glory to us LORD, because you deserve it all due to your unfailing love and never ending faithfulness. The world cannot understand because it is blinded by the false god of this age. They think they are without religion yet they worship idols they fail to recognize as idols:

Why do the nations say, 
   “Where is their God?” 
Our God is in heaven; 
   he does whatever pleases him. 
But their idols are silver and gold, 
   made by the hands of men. 
They have mouths, but cannot speak, 
   eyes, but they cannot see; 
they have ears, but cannot hear, 
   noses, but they cannot smell; 
they have hands, but cannot feel, 
   feet, but they cannot walk; 
   nor can they utter a sound with their throats. 
Those who make them will be like them, 
   and so will all who trust in them. (Psalm 115:2-8)

Careers, sports, money, cars, people, anything that takes the place in your heart where God belongs is an idol. Anything you put your trust in, that you depend on, that you rely in has become an idol. Anything that has your affection and adoration has become an idol. The apostle John wrote:

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. (John 5:21)

I used the New Living Translation here to emphasize what is meant by "stay away from idols". Those who make these idols will become like them is what the psalmist warns and it doesn't take much to see that in the world around us. But not those who gather to worship Jesus, because we are being transformed to be like him, in great contrast to the world in which we live.

As you gather in to your church today do not go because of tradition. Shake yourself from your slumber and allow your spirit to rise up in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Realize who God is, who you are in Christ and what promises you have received. Worship him with a truly grateful heart this morning, forgetting yourself and pouring out your authentic adoration. What a privilege we have this morning to worship the One True God, the Holy One, the LORD God Almighty. We are his people, the children of his household, the Body of Christ and all praise is due him:

It is not the dead who praise the LORD,
   those who go down to silence;
it is we who extol the LORD,
   both now and forevermore.
   Praise the LORD. (Psalm 115:17-18)

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