Jewish ethicist and writer Abraham Heschel made the observation, “Awe, unlike fear, does not make us shrink from the awe-inspiring object, but, on the contrary, draws us near to it.” Seeing it, touching it, breathing the same air, all give bragging rights. Presidential candidate buys ice cream, walk on Grand Canyon Skywalk; audience with royalty. Behave much same as shepherds who went crashing into Birthplace to see baby born to a virgin.
Ran at top speed, got as close as they could, responded in worship, then woke the town. (Listening to internet radio, while writing this sentence started playing Cantique de Noel). God is awesome in true sense of word, worthy of all our praise and worship simply because he is God. In his grace and loving goodness, gives reasons in his Word and in our lives to worship him.
God is pleased when we delight in him, when worship is joyful expression of love. God is glorified when we praise him to him and when we praise him to others. God could require worship simply because it is duty. Same is true for obedience. But just like good parent, greater desire for worship and obedience as overflow of love, desire to thank and please him.
You experience awe and wonder of natural beauty, display of winning against all odds, presence of very important person – don’t keep it to yourself. “Compelled” to tell others, to share excitement of the experience. Corporate worship is time when all present share in excitement of praise and thanksgiving to Giver of all good. Our good God not only reminds us why should praise and worship him; instructs us how we can worship in pleasing and acceptable way.
First incentive for worship: God is your Savior. Enough right there for an eternity of praise: Rev. 5:9-13; And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation….” That’s only the beginning, more on the other two incentives shortly.
A. God is your Savior v.1-5
not “you go and do thus and so”; is “come let us do this” – “come with me to worship” far more effective than “you ought to go to church” – “come” 3x, “let us” 7x v.1,2,6
worship begins when minds/hearts/bodies are directed toward God’s presence; “Call to Worship” mostly a reminder of the summons, the invitation to approach God in worship
sing and shout (1)
two overriding thoughts connected with first incentive to come and worship: enthusiastic and focused
worship takes energy – singing for joy, shouting joyfully – not silent singing, humming, lip-synching – is boisterous, loud, with heart/soul/mind/strength all engaged
expressing our thoughts and emotions loudly and publicly because we have much to rejoice about
God meets us and responds to our praise and worship, but….we don’t come for what we can get, rather because we want to give
primary (as in first) purpose is to give back to God what is his due because we are bursting with joy, overflowing with love – if that is lacking, probably because we think too much of ourselves and not enough of God
not talking here about individual worship experience – it’s about us adding our individual voices to family song of praise, together with one voice expressing devotion to God
when first come into God’s presence, what is foremost thought? – only way I can be here is because of Lord Jesus’ merit, not my own
it is the favorite Son who ushers brothers and sisters into presence of the King; if Son isn’t there, they aren’t welcome
at top of pyramid of praise: salvation and our great Savior; true, think first of Jesus but remember Ephesians 1 – all three Persons of Godhead actively involved in our salvation
the Father chose and predestined us to adoption; the Son redeemed through his blood those whom the Father chose; the Spirit seals and sanctifies those whom the Son redeemed
all of that according to God’s good pleasure to the praise of his glorious grace
do you really need any more reason / incentive to sing and shout and give thanks??
give thanks and shout (2)
story about man who told God he could create life, could make another man; God gave him liberty to try, reached down for handful of dirt, “uh-uh; make your own dirt”
we are absolutely dependent on God for everything, and…he gives really good stuff, in abundance
all the obvious things: life, breath, food, understanding, list is truly endless
what about salvation? – could be like JW’s God, his part in salvation just to get us back even with Adam, then we’re on our own to finish
that we have a good future is endless cause for joyful praise and thanksgiving both now and in heaven
praise and honor (3-5)
worshiping the God of creation and re-creation – who has demonstrated his superiority in every way
there’s initial creation – no matter where you look (macroscopic or microscopic or in between) it all points to supreme loving Creator
loving because what he made is ideally, perfectly suited for his creatures existence and because is designed to lead them to loving relationship with God
B. God is your Maker v.6-7a
call is to worship the living God – not a picture or image or idea – the one who made us
5 psalms in future, reminder that it was God who made us, not we who made ourselves; if can’t make ourselves, how could we possibly make a god?
regardless of what your parents say, you are not an accident; they may not have planned for you but God did, from before creation
if you are his child by adoption, God not only made you, he is in process of re-making you to bear Jesus’ image
the God who not only can do all that, but purposely does it deserves our utmost worship and adoration
should worship God because he is our God – by his plan, not ours, we are on same side
is this God we worship who “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son”Col. 1:13
is relationship of God to people, also closer more intimate relationship in view – shepherd and sheep
“But when asserted to be the Shepherd of the Church, more is meant than that he favors her with the common nourishment, support, and government which he extends promiscuously to the whole human family; he is so called because he separates her from the rest of the world, and cherishes her with a peculiar and fatherly regard.” Calvin
God has committed himself to doing everything necessary for our complete salvation – from his eternal purpose in the past through final resurrection and eternal life
we are “sheep of his hand” – “no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:29) – is hand of provision and protection
C. God is your Leader v.7b-11
commentary/sermon on Psalm 95:7-11 in Hebrews 3:7-4:13
he speaks (7b-8)
God has spoken and he speaks – through Living Word (Lord Jesus) and written Word (Bible), by his indwelling Spirit
those who do not hear need cardiologist not an audiologist – it’s a problem with the heart not the ears
God graciously speaks, expects our response – true worship is inseparable from obedience: “be doers of what you hear, not listeners only” (James 1:22)
to hear God speak to his people during worship and then not respond as God expects is not worship pleasing to God
he works (9-10)
God patiently and persistently works for the good of his people – providing and guiding even when they are unthankful and rebellious
patient longsuffering on God’s part does not excuse his people for slow obedience – Today is God’s expectation; “delayed obedience equals disobedience” – in a minute, after another reminder, etc.
he disciplines (11)
God remains faithful even when his people don’t – God can multi-task: continue to lead and carry out discipline at the same time
God may choose to withhold temporal blessing as a consequence for disobedience; God definitely withholds eternal blessing from those who keep their hard hearts
reminder and reinforcement that God’s decrees have teeth – well-behaved disciplined children are ones who know when mom or dad speaks, they mean it; have experienced the follow-through
he will lead us to rest
there is a rest for the people of God, those who believe; was unbelief that kept Israelites from enjoying rest of Canaan, is unbelief that prevents Jew and Gentile alike from enjoying eternal rest
both Canaan and sabbath are temporary rest – both foreshadow rest of next life; rest we enjoy one day in seven when properly observed is real…but incomplete
hear what Jesus said: Mark 2:27-28And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
sabbath made for man and Jesus retains authority over how we use it – is to be a day of rest from daily labors devoted to worship of God – together as church family, in private family gathering, in individual worship: “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” Gen. 2:2-3
it is for man’s benefit because – is good for him to rest, is good for him to be in God’s presence with other believers, is place and time when God blesses in particular ways
Sunday and its activities should be high point of our week, day we anticipate more than any other, little taste of heaven.