As many of you know, this past spring I went to serve at FLAME. While it keeps you busy, occasionally during the afternoon there is downtime. My friend, Wayne Richards, who is also the director of FLAME and I were sitting in the sanctuary talking about music. We like about the same styles of music and we were talking about meaningful music. In the process of the discussion a band called Casting Crowns came up as someone that his girls listen to. We had internet access, so he played a few of their songs and told me about one of them. I was familiar with the band because they have had some songs on the radio. Pam had been hinting around about this CD that she had heard on the radio. It so happened that both of us were interested in the same CD. The CD is Lifesong, by Casting Crowns. As I listened to the CD, I asked myself, what is this all about. The more listens, the more the theme came into view. That CD is about worship. What does it mean to worship God? Does it mean to life a lifestyle of worship? Does it mean that we have to sing all the time? Does it mean that we have to be happy all the time?
Over the next several weeks, taking us just about into the Advent season, we are going to take a look at what it means to live a lifestyle of worship. What does your life say about you? What will be surprising is that this series will deal very little about music, but offering our lives up as a living sacrifice to God.
In a recent survey adults were asked what your chief goal in life is. 61% responded entertainment and self-fulfillment. Of that 61%, 55% were Christians! We are wired to worship. That is the way that we were created. The question I have for you this morning is what does your life say about the one you worship?
In America, we worship all kinds of things. We even have a show called “American Idol.” Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy watching this show. It’s the only “reality show” I watch at all. I love watching the audition process. It’s amazing to watch people who think they have talent get shot down. I’m sure many watch just to watch the reaction of Paula, Randy, and Simon. During the finals several years ago, Ryan asked Simon what the winner would get. Simon replied, “Money, fame, and everything they always wanted.” Many are passionate about their favorites. I thought it was cool that a gray haired man won, if only because Simon thought a gray haired man could never win “Idol.” Looks aren’t everything.
I know that I’m a fairly casual observer to “Idol.” But I know many who are passionate about watching it and they participate by voting. By the way, there is nothing wrong with voting for your favorite. I am concerned with what we worship. Entertainers are easy targets. Here’s what I find amazing; that people still worship Elvis and he’s been dead 30 years. Our culture worships everyone, Elvis, Marilyn, the Beatles, Brittany, Justin, Brad, who is the next idol.
We were wired to worship. But what or who are we to worship. As we’ve been reading through the Bible this year, we see that the Hebrews were in constant trouble with God because of their object of worship. In Exodus 20: 3-5, God speaks these words, “You shall have no other Gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…” Later on the wilderness wanderers are giving this command to reinforce what God told them on the mountain. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
We are wired to worship. We are wired to give God glory. Isaiah 43:7 states, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” The whole creation was made to give glory to God. King David writes this, “Ascribe the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” So far that’s what the Old Testament writes, what does the New Testament say, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We are wired to worship. That is why we worship and many times we worship the wrong things. When we fail to glorify God we are not fulfilling our purpose. What does your life say about the one you worship?
Let’s take a look at what Paul writes in Romans 1:20-25. “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen!”
What does your life say about the one you worship? We who are believers in the eternal
God and Jesus Christ his son, are not our own, we were bought with a price. Paul writes again in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Earlier I said, “When we fail to glorify (or worship) God, we are not fulfilling our purpose.” If Christ truly lives in you, then the life that you live will reflect the one who lives inside of you. Jesus said that know a tree by its fruits. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness and self-control. Are these the fruits of your life? Can those around you see that you live for the ever-living God? One of the things that really irritates me when and I say WHEN I watch an award show is to see actors, actresses or musicians give praise to God or Jesus, when you know their life, their movies, or their music do not reflect their maker. It really borders on blasphemy. It’s real easy to look at others and to see their faults, Jesus tells us that. But how hard is it to look on ourselves and see we do the same things? How many times do we come on Sunday morning to “worship” for an hour and then live like the world the rest of the week? Jesus was talking to the Pharisees in Matthew 15, and said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules made by men.” Is this you this morning? Does your life truly reflect the One you worship on Sunday? There is so much more to worship than what we do on Sunday. If you think about it, it really takes little sacrifice to come on Sunday morning, sing a few songs, give our offering, listen to someone preach for thirty minutes and go home.
What does your life say about the one you worship? Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God, because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship. Don’t copy the behavior and customs (and culture) of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” I’ve asked the question several times this morning. What does your life say about the one you worship? There is more to worship than just coming to church. In just a few moments, you’re going to hear the song that inspired this series. The key line is this, “May the words I say, and the things I do make my lifesong sing, bring a smile to You.” Coming to worship is only part of the equation. If our worship on Sunday is not joined with the rest of our life through out the week, it is all in vain. Jesus called us to be his hands and feet. Those of us who are following the living God should be changed. We should look and act differently than the world. God’s will is for his children to live for him. That should show in every aspect of our life. Is it hard? You better believe it. God never said living a life pleasing to God would be easy. Jesus said, “pick up your cross daily.” We need to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help in the task. What does your life say about the one you worship? Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” What does your life say about the one you worship? Does it sing to him or does it sing to the world? This morning the altar is open. If you want to make a new commitment to follow and worship him, come as we listen to “Lifesong.”