Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
July 31, 2005
The Worship of God in Daily Life
This morning I will be concluding my series on the worship of God. If it has been half as helpful to you as it has to me, then I believe that our worship of the Lord here at Grace Bible Church will continue to improve according to our Lord’s standards instead of our own. Throughout this series I have often been convicted about my own failings to worship the Lord properly. I look back in shame at how often I have been more interested in how I felt about the service instead of focusing on heart felt praise to God for who He is and what He has done. I have been finding that the more I concentrate on true worship, the easier it is to give praise to His name in all circumstances. I hope this has been true for you as well.
This morning I want to wrap up the series with some practical suggestions on how to implement the many principles we have talked about over the last few months. The brief outline in your bulletin gives you the breakdown of how I will be approaching this topic of how to worship God in daily life: Set your goal; Set your priorities; Set your spiritual diet; Set your mind, and then live in the body.
SET THE GOAL
If the worship of God is to be the focus of daily life, and it should be, then I have to make sure that I have set that as my goal. This may be pretty basic, but it is also the major reason why we do not worship God as we ought. Too many people tragically make a dichotomy between the secular and the sacred in their daily activities. However, for the true Christian there is not to be such a separation. I have tried to stress that point throughout this series. The worship of God takes place in everything you do in life and not just what occurs here in this building. How you work, what kind of neighbor you are, how you raise your kids, your community involvement, how wisely you spend the money God has entrusted to you, and even how you eat is all to be an aspect of the worship of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 states it directly, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
If you are going to live with the worship of God as your goal, then you must also be careful of what influences you. There are many warnings throughout the Bible about the influence of the world and the danger it imposes. Paul warns in Romans 12:2 for us to “not be conformed to this world.” The system of the society around us seeks to pressure us into its own mold so that we might be like everyone else sharing the same values and seeking the same goals for life. As much as Americans value and talk about rugged individualism, it is more myth than reality because few people want to really stand out in a crowd as being different.
I have always found it humorous that the teenagers that rebel the most from their parents standards of conduct and dress claiming that they have to be themselves are the same ones that are most conscious of dressing like all their friends and doing what their friends do. They are not being themselves. They are simply patterning themselves after their peers instead of their parents.
As Christians we need to understand that the world’s standards are not our standards. The world’s values are not to be our values. The goals our co-workers and neighbors have set for their lives are not to be our goals in life. The apostle John put it clearly in 1 John 2:15,16 that we are to “not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and [also] its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”
This pressure to be like society is not only external but also internal as well. What the world offers is what was attractive to our sin nature and therefore still attractive by virtue of our old habits. Sin does have its pleasure, but only for a season after which it brings judgement (Heb. 11:25). These old habits must be broken, or as Paul says more graphically in Colossians 3:5f you are to “consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, [and] abusive speech from your mouth.”
Both the external and internal pressure to be like sinful society will be great unless you consciously set your goal of life to match the purpose of your salvation. God saves people from their sins so that they will be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29) and be a people for his praise and glory (Eph. 1:12). You are to worship God in spirit & truth in every aspect of your life. What is it that you live for? If your citizenship is indeed in heaven as Phil. 3:20 says it is, then you are an alien and stranger in this world just as 1 Peter 2:11 says. What interest can the things this world has to offer be to you whether it be money, fame, power, or pleasure? But if any of these things are what you seek, then do not be surprised that heaven and He who dwells there holds little attraction to you. Jesus put it plainly in Mt. 6:24 that you can not love God and the world’s riches. If you love the world and its things in it, then you will not be a true worshiper of God.
SET THE PRIORITIES
To reach any goal you have to set your priorities and daily activities to reach that goal. The same is true here except this is by far more important because the goal of being a worshiper of God should also set all lesser goals, priorities and activities. Since a true worshiper of God has placed the Lord as the focal point of their life then they will set their priorities according to His priorities. What then are God’s priorities?
We can find this out exactly by looking at what Jesus taught in Matthew 22:35f. In this passage one of the Pharisees that was an expert in the law came to Jesus to test Him and asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus’ answered in vs 37 “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
The top priority is to love God with all that we are. The idea of love here is not some sort of warm fuzzy emotional feeling I am supposed to get when I think about God. The word here is agaph / agape, the love of committed choice that sacrifices itself for the good of the chosen one. Your first priority is to seek out after the best interest of God, which is His glory and honor, with all that you are. God is to be the first in your mind and your heart. Your soul is to long for Him while striving to bring Him glory and honor by your life. How do you do that? By obedience to His commands. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” He stressed it by restating it again in verse 21. “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me…”. My top priority then is to be obedient to God because by this I demonstrate I love and trust Him supremely.
The second priority is loving people with the same degree of thoughtfulness that you show in caring for yourself. It has become popular to pervert this commandment into making your self esteem the priority with the twisted logic that until you love yourself you cannot love others. The truth is that no one hates themselves but rather everyone loves and cares for themselves (Eph. 5:29). This modern usage of self esteem is just another phrase to describe pride which is the basis for all sorts of sin. Paul’s command in Phil. 2:3,4 explains what it means to love others as yourself. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not look out merely for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” You are to apply yourself in loving those around you.
This being said there is still the practical matter of working out these two great commandments in the details of daily life. Does loving God mean that you am supposed to be at church every time the door is open? Does it mean that you should neglect your employer in order to witness to your fellow employees? Does loving your neighbor include giving food to everybody that shows up on your door step wanting a handout? How do your balance out all these different responsibilities and keep them in proper priority?
All of these questions are answered as we become more knowledgeable of the Scriptures and develop a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Let me give you some practical suggestions for now
1) Keep the Lord as your first priority. God saved you from your sins so that you might worship Him. Let me repeat again that true worship is to take place in spirit and in truth in every area of your life. Do not make going to church sacred and going to work secular when we are told plainly in Col. 3:23 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Both work and meeting in church are to be spiritual activities.
Keeping the Lord as the priority means He is always in mind in everything you do. That cannot be true if you neglect your fellowship with Him. I will talk more about this in a moment, but for now understand that if you neglect His Word and personal prayer then it is impossible to keep any other part of your life in order. You cannot know God or what He wants you to do apart from the Bible. You cannot serve Him in the power of the Spirit without prayer. As pointed out in previous sermons, God is not pleased with ignorant worship or with service done in the flesh. Israel came under His judgement for both these things.
2) The second priority of relationship God has placed upon man is the family. The husband-wife relationship, then the parent-child relationships, and then extended family. The Pharisees tried to make their religious system more important and Jesus rebuked them for it in Mark 7:10-13. God gave Eve to Adam in the Garden and made him responsible for her (Gen. 2:18-25). He has commanded husbands to love their wives even as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). One of the marks of his spiritual maturity will be how he leads his wife in godliness (Eph 5:25-33)) If he is not doing this, then he is not qualified for leadership in the church (1 Tim.3:2,12; Titus 1:6). She is commanded to respect and submit to him, and her level of godliness is marked by how well she does that (Eph 5:22-24,33; 1 Peter 3:1-6).
We are to love the Lord more than our spouses, but there is to be no other human relationship of deeper love and commitment. Now I am not talking about a marriage in which the two are best friends who share in their evil vices. A godly marriage is where each spouse is used by God in the life of the other to conform both more into the image of Christ. Sadly, too often this is not the case because people do not follow the Lord’s priorities for their lives. So many other things, including at times “church work,” replaces the priorities God has set.
The parent-child relationship is next on the priority list. This, like the marriage relationship, is not a priority for just having a good time together and having pleasant feelings toward each other. The priority here is for the children to honor their parents and obey them according to the Lord’s command (Eph.6), and for the parents to raise the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Again we find that how a man deals with his children is a mark of his godliness, and if he is not managing them properly then he is not qualified for church leadership (1 Tim. 3:2,12; Titus 1:6). Sadly, many dads and moms are so busy trying to provide their children with the goodies of this world that they fail to provide them with an example of personal godliness. Neither you or your children will be taking any of the stuff of this world to heaven, so why the priority on either materialism or hedonism? Your example and teaching should be leading your children to walking with Christ.
It is tragic that so many pastors I have known have failed at this same point. They neglected their children in order to take care of the church. They foolishly thought that if they took care of the church then God would take care of their children. The result was they lost their children. Jesus said He would build His church (Mt. 16:18). He commanded the fathers to raise their children to love the Lord (Dt. 6; Eph 6). Your children are your first and foremost disciples regardless of your position in the church.
3) The next priority is the use of your spiritual gifts. When you were saved God equipped you to serve Him in some capacity. The particular gift, the type of ministry it is used in, and the scope of that ministry are all up to God and will be according to His design and your spiritual qualifications (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:11-16). It does not matter how talented you are if your life is a spiritual mess. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Pet. 5:5). 1 Cor. 1 tells us that He uses the humble who are weak, those without high social standing, and those with limited capabilities to accomplish His work because it is not the man, but God working through the man that accomplishes the work. It is not your ability but His grace working through you that makes the difference.
How do you know what gift or gifts God has given you and how you should use them? It really is not that difficult. If you are walking close to the Lord and are striving for living in holiness, then simply try doing what you would like to do and see if the Lord uses it in the lives of others to glorify Himself. Now some caution needs to be added here because there are two major problems that can occur. One is that we do not get involved because we are afraid and don’t think the Lord can use us. Sometimes we may need a little push and be challenged to try something we have not done before. Welcome the suggestions of others, but at the same time be careful of the other extreme. We get involved in things we should not because we allow others to push us into them. It is great to try new things, for you may find a ministry you did know you could do, but try new things as a test while keeping your other priorities straight. You may not be gifted to do that particular ministry or doing it will cause you to compromise your other priorities. Serve the Lord, but be sure He is the one you are serving.
4) The next priority is doing good to all men. Galatians 6:7-10 states, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Notice that there is a hierarchy in doing good. We are to do good to all, but especially to those who are of the household of faith. We are to be extra sensitive and giving to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Now if you have any time and energy left after all this, then I guess you can amuse yourself. Tragically most Christians have their order of priorities reversed. They place their own pleasure first and God is at the end of the list with everything in between jumbled around. How can God be truly worshiped if He is the last priority on your list? How can you be in daily worship of Him if your priorities do not match His? There is hope, however, because a good spiritual diet can correct this.
SET YOUR SPIRITUAL DIET
The common saying is that you are what you eat. This proverb is true spiritually as well. You will live according to what influences you. If you mentally and emotionally feed on the ungodly things of this world, then you will live in an ungodly manner with your priorities backward. Like a pig at a feed trough, those who feed on garbage usually wallow in it too.
To live daily in the worship of God you must have the proper spiritual diet. Psalm 1 tells us that the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly is blessed and that he who delights in the Lord and meditates in His word will be like a tree planted by rivers of water. He will be able to grow and prosper even in the hard times.
If those who profess to be Christians simply spent as much time in Bible Study, prayer and serving the Lord as they do watching TV then I have no doubt that there would be revival in our land. The churches would not be hurting for workers. Non-Christians would be evangelized. Missionaries would be on the field instead of trying to raise support, and the moral slide of our nation would be reversed.
I can also guarantee that if you take the Bible seriously and apply the criteria Phil 4:8 to what you see, hear and read there will be major changes in your life. Do the things you watch on TV, hear on the radio, or read in books, magazines or newspapers fit the criteria of whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or good report, virtuous or praise worthy? If not, then what are you letting influence your life? Change your spiritual diet and your spiritual health will improve, and as your spiritual health improves so will your daily worship of God.
SET YOUR MIND
To change your spiritual diet will require a change in your mind set. Paul said in Romans 12:1,2 that you are “by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Your transformation into someone who worships God in daily life is dependent upon the renewing of your mind. That is why personal Bible study, scripture memorization and prayer are so important. You not only have to have a knowledge of the truth, but your mind must be focused upon it. The objective of the Christian is to have every thought captive to the obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
Some might think this to be extreme, but so be it. Paul did not consider it so and I consider him to be good company. He was not afraid to be called a fool for Christ’s sake (1 Cor. 4:10), so neither should you or I. Remember, the goal of our lives should be to be true worshipers of God in every aspect of our lives. What other people think of us for being that should be of little or no concern to us. We are to have our minds set on the things above, not on the things of the earth (Col. 3:2).
LIVE IN THE BODY
The last suggestion I have this morning to help you to be a true worshiper of God in daily life is to live in the body of Christ. God did not save anyone from their sins so that they could be a hermit. He saved you so that you would be part of the church, the body of Christ. Romans 12, 1 Cor. 12 and Eph. 4 are all clear that each Christian needs other Christians around them if we are going to be what God intended for us to be. Each believer has different gifts that are to be used in conjunction with other believers so that the whole body will built up. If I remove myself from the body, then the body is left handicapped, and I will shrivel up just as surely as my arm would if I cut it off from my body.
1 Thess. 5: 14 makes it plain that we need each other. Each of us needs to be encouraged when we are fainthearted. We need to be helped when we are weak. We need to be warned when we are tempted, and we need to be admonished when we fall into sin. We need to be around those who are spiritual and will help bear our burdens when we have fallen so that we can be restored (Gal. 6:1-4).
I pray that the goal of your life is the worship of God; that you will make His priorities your priorities; that you will develop a proper spiritual diet; that you will set your mind on Him, and that you will live in His body.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help.
Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) List how many times references are made to “worship.” Talk with your parents about how the practical ways you can express worship to God in daily life.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others.
What does it mean to worship God? How do you worship God in daily life? Are you a true worshiper of God? Why or why not? If not, what needs to change so that you will be one? What are your goals in life? List them. What would you like to accomplish in the next 10 years? Five years? Two years? What would you do if you knew you only had 6 months to live? Are your goals godly? Are they of eternal value? How do your priorities match your goals? How do they match God’s priorities? If they do not match, why not? How will you change them? How do you protect yourself / resist the pressures of the world? What is your current spiritual diet? What is your spiritual health as a result? Describe a good spiritual diet. Does your spiritual diet need to change, if so, how? What is your plan to make those changes? Who will hold you accountable? What is your mind set on? What should it be set on? What are your spiritual gifts? If you do not know, how will you find out? How are you using them? If you are not using them, what will you do to change that?
Sermon Notes – 7/31/05 a.m.
Worship in Daily Life – Selected Scriptures
SET THE GOAL
SET THE PRIORITIES
SET YOUR SPIRITUAL DIET
SET YOUR MIND
LIVE IN THE BODY
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