Saturday, April 19, 2014

Resurrection Sunday: Living a life of Worship

Colossians 3:14-17 ESV And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

Hi everyone :)  How are you all doing?  I hope you're spending some time with family and enjoying a life in constant fellowship with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.  For this resurrection sunday sermon there are several thing I'm not going to do: I'm not going to explain the roots of easter, their pagan connections and so on and so forth.  I'm not going to give an angry cry for the return to Jesus Christ in the foundation of the holiday.  I'm also not going to teach regarding any doctrines or traditions regarding Good Friday or Resurrection Sunday, or any of that.  What I am going to do, is teach on how awesome and cool Jesus is, and how great it is to worship and love him.  Sound good?


Hebrews 13:15 ESV Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 

What is worship?  Is it singing on Sunday at church?  Is it bowing before God on our knees before bed?  Those are definitely examples of personal corporate worship and personal worship in it's simplest form.  But included are many other forms of worship.  In Hebrews 13:15, acknowledge his name.

What does that mean?  Talk about Jesus!  If you don't know what to say about Jesus, read about Jesus.  The Bible, or some good commentaries or some good books on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There are many.

1 Peter 2:5 ESV You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 Do you ever read 1 Peter in star-struck awe?  I do.  I love Paul's writings in a different way, but in Peter's work you can just sense a powerful clarity of interpretation of the grace of God.  1 Peter is a powerhouse book, it just blows me away every time I read it.  Romans chapter two and three, same thing, Paul knocks me flat off the chair every time.

But truly, it's not Peter or Paul is it, it is certainly their styles of writing, their understandings of God that speak through the word, but it is the Holy Spirit that is upon me, given to me by Jesus when he saved me, that allows my mind to flower in understanding of the scriptures.

Before Jesus saved me, did I give a crap about the Bible?  Nope.  Some old book?  Why would I?  But once I was saved, I could not put it down.  I was reading, listening, learning, studying, and it's still the same.. I can't put it down.  It's such truth.  It shines like a beacon above the din of lies, consumerism and foolishness that clouds the culture.

Psalm 77:13 ESV Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 

The Psalms are just wonderful aren't they?  I like to listen to Max recite them before bed, on my phone.  By Max I mean the audio NIV Bible.  It's quite well read.  I love the Psalms, and if you read through them you'll notice references to Jesus Christ, all over the place!  Just right here in Psalm 77:13, David writes your way is holy.  What is Jesus referred to as in John?  The way, the truth, and the life.  How does Luke refer to faith in Jesus in the book of Acts?  He calls it "The Way."

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. 

Isn't it wonderful to know, totally know that God is with all of us right at this moment?  He's as much with me as I write this, as he is with you as you're reading these words.  He is with the persecuted Christians in Pakistan.  He is with the starving Christians in Gambia.  He is with the luke-warm Christians in Europe.  He is with the backsliding Christians in the United States.  He is with us.  Always with us.  He is not limited by space or time, with you he has all the time in the world, he's not rushing off to deal with something else, he is able to both rush off to deal with something else, and patiently and attentively minister to your heart, your mind, your intellect, and your very soul.

In Zephaniah it was prophesied, "a mighty one who will save."  Well now we may say with certainty and rock-solid assurance, "a mighty on who did save."  Who has saved me.  And you.  And if you don't know him, if you can't seem to muster interest in scriptures or old books, don't worry.  The interest comes after you make your commitment to Jesus.

And in Zephaniah 3:17 we see a good picture of how God ministers to us.  When we know him, he rejoices over us with gladness.  When we please him, which is conditional on loving his son Jesus, he is well pleased in us.  Because he is well pleased by his son Jesus.  And so we are adopted family.  But more than adopted, we are blood family.  We are made new.  Our old selves are dead.

God rejoices over us with gladness.

God quiets us with his love, when we want to cry out in pain.

And God exalts us with singing.

1 Chronicles 16:29 ESV Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;

So knowing that God is full of love and expresses it and actively gives it daily, how will we respond?

We ought to respond in worship.  Not because we're suppose to, but because we want to.  Worship is transformative in that way.  When I pray for a few minutes, read the Bible, attend studies, and go to church, my interest and wisdom grows.  As a result I've sown good seeds, and a garden blooms in my heart.  Let the garden bloom in your heart.  Plant seeds, a year later, shorter, longer, see them grow.

God can and will use you, if you know and follow.  A year and a half ago I received the Savior and started this blog.  Today it's reached over 20,000 views worldwide.  That's a blessing.  When I first received Jesus Christ, I had no car, no work, I wasn't in college, I didn't have any friends, and I was bankrupt.  I didn't attend church, or Bible study, I didn't attend support groups, see a counselor, I didn't serve or help those around me.

Today God is doing a work in my life.  Today I write a blog.  Today I have a vehicle.  Today I attend counseling and support groups regularly.  Today I tell people about Jesus.  Today I have a job at a Salvation Army homeless shelter in town.  Today I'm a baptized member of a church, serving on three ministries in the church.  Today I attend Liberty University with a 3.85 grade point average.  Today I have friends.  Today I attend Bible studies.  And today I'm clean and sober from drugs and alcohol.  These are works of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit he gives.  I can take no credit, only that followed directions and found myself with the Holy Spirit within, and new motivations to love wisdom, love holiness, and love helping those around me.  That is the testimony, the rock solid, concrete scientific data that cannot be ignored.  Empirical evidence shows, that a doomed drug addict has new life today.  How can it be..

I was talking with a young man and he compared faith to Jesus Christ in believing in Leprechauns.  I don't know any leprechauns who are worshiped by two billions Christians worldwide.  And I don't know any Leprechauns that can cure hopeless drug addicts and turn them into serving, adoring Christians of powerful faith.

Psalm 103:1-4 ESV Of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy

My point here is that Jesus Christ can do the impossible in lives.  For that reason and for so many others, he is deserving of our worship.  Our worship is not simply singing or praising or prostrating before him.  No.  Our worship is a daily song, and it's sung by acts of worship.  You volunteer at a food pantry, you sing before God.  When you share the gospel with a friend, you sing before God. When you play with your kids, you sing before God.  When you give food to a homeless man you sing before God.  When you smile to a stranger.. when you give a hug.. when you share a Bible verse.. when you help those in need.. It's all daily song, throughout the week to your loving Maker. 

Psalm 147:1 ESV Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

 So as we go out and enjoy the holiday, and attend church on Resurrection Sunday, let's remember to have an attitude of daily worship in action and thought to God Almighty. Recall what Jesus Christ did on the cross.  And believe and know that he rose from death, by the power of God, and now sits, alive and well at the right hand of God the Father.

I'll leave you with this powerful description of the life of Jesus Christ to close out today:

"He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men. Yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable, that the children loved to play with him and the little ones nestled in his arms.

His presence at the innocent joy of a village wedding, was like the presence of sunshine. No one was half so kind or compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red-hot scorching words about sin. A bruised reed he would not break. His whole life was love. Yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees, how they were expected to escape the damnation of hell.

He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism, he has all of us self-styled realists soundly beaten. He was the servant of all, washing the disciples’ feet, yet masterfully he strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away in their mad rush from the fire they saw blazing in his eyes. He saved others, yet at the last, he himself did not save.

There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels; the mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality."

James Stewart, Scottish theologian