RENEWING YOUR PASSION FOR SPIRITUAL LIVING
1. Last Sunday morning, I began a topical series on "How We Can Live Passionate Spiritual Lives."
2. So far in this series, we have noticed:
a. To live passionate spiritual lives, we must first know who we are and what we possess.
(1) Remember, as Christians,
(a) We are children of God.
(b) We are free from condemnation.
(c) We are heirs of the kingdom of heaven.
3. If we daily reflect upon the benefits we have in Christ, then we will be inspired to live passionate spiritual lives.
4. This morning we will continue in this series by examining point number two.
II. TO LIVE PASSIONATE SPIRITUAL LIVES, WE MUST BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN DAILY WORSHIP AND PRAISE.
1. If our lives are filled with worship and praise, then we will live passionate and fervent spiritual lives. If we praise God on a daily basis, we are on our way to becoming zealous disciples of Christ.
a. After the church was established on the day of Pentecost, the early disciples were on fire for the Lord. By (Acts 4:4), the Jerusalem church which at first had a little over 3,000 members had grown to the point that there were 5,000 men in that one congregation. In (Acts 5:14), the Bible says that "more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number." All in all, the Jerusalem congregation, according to the estimates of various scholars, had a membership of between 50,000 and 100,000 members. The early church flourished like wild flowers. What was the secret to their growth? They grew because they had a passion for the Lord.
b. The question that I raise is how did the early church continue to exhibit this passion for spiritual living? I feel that the secret to their spiritual passion is found in (Acts 2:46, 47).
(1) One reason why they continued to have a passion for spiritual living was because they praised God every day. They worshiped the Lord daily. If we want to live passionate spiritual lives, we must worship God on a daily basis.
2. Although we should worship and praise God on a daily basis, statistics show that many Christians are not doing this. Church growth experts estimate that up to one half of all who attend an evangelical church on Sundays do not worship God publicly or privately. This means that a half of all church goers are not participating in worship. No wonder many Christians are in a spiritual lull. If we want to live passionate spiritual lives then we must actively be involved in worship.
3. In our public assemblies (Sundays and Wednesdays), we must be actively involved in worship. When we sing praises to the Lord, everyone should be singing. When we pray, we must all be silently participating. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, we must also be actively involved in worship. Worship is not an event we attend; it is a lifestyle. It is a way of life.
4. The next area that I want to explorer is:
A. WHAT IS WORSHIP?
1. Literally, the word worship means "to bow down to and show reverence for." To worship God is to ascribe to Him supreme worth.
2. At this time, I will offer some practical summations about worship.
a. Worship is:
(1) The summation of adoration.
(2) The exaltation and magnification of God.
(3) The beholding of God's greatness.
(4) The extension of our deepest appreciation.
(5) The bestowing of our finest and best praise.
(6) The celebration of all celebrations.
B. WHY SHOULD WE WORSHIP AND PRAISE GOD?
1. Worship isn't for us; it's for God. While we are blessed beyond measure in the act of worship, it's end object is God, not us. Understanding why we praise God will help us in our practice.
2. Here are a few reasons we worship our Creator:
a. Worship and praise is desired by God.
(1) While God has no needs because of His nature, He does have desires. His top desire is to receive praise and worship from our lips and hearts.
(a) God actually seeks our worship. The next time you begin to worship God in your prayer, just know that He's been hovering over that place anticipating and desiring your worship.
In World Christian Magazine, John Huffman describes one unforgettable moment with his daughter. He had been away from home for several weeks on an overseas mission trip. When his airplane landed, he could hardly wait to see his wife and four children, but he and the other passengers were detained in customs for two hours. Finally the customs officials allowed Huffman to proceed to the lobby, where hundreds of people were anxiously waiting for family and friends. Huffman writes:
There was such a press of bodies, I knew I would not be able to pick my children out until I walked up the ramp, past security, and got out into the open. But my three-year-old daughter, who had managed to squeeze her way to the front of the crowd, began screaming at the top of her lungs, "Daddy! Daddy! That's my daddy!" She must have shouted that at least five times, when suddenly she broke free from the crowd, and bolted past the security guards, still yelling, "Daddy! Daddy! That's my daddy!" She literally flew into my arms and began kissing and hugging me. What a welcome! I have never felt so loved and acknowledged in my life. It was a wonderful, fulfilling moment that even today brings a warm and happy feeling.
That, says John Huffman, is what God feels like when we acknowledge Him in worship.
b. Worship and praise is deserved by God.
1. We worship God because He deserves it.
2. Notice that glory is due His name. God has given us so much and we need to give Him back what He deserves--our worship.
Joy Davidman in Smoke on the Mountain, writes: Once there was a little old man. His hands trembled; when he ate he clattered the silverware distressingly, missed his mouth with the spoon as often as not, and dribbled a bit of his food on the tablecloth. Now he lived with his married son, having nowhere else to live, and his son's wife didn't like the arrangement.
"I can't have this," she said. "It interferes with my right to happiness." So she and her husband took the old man gently but firmly by the arm and led him to the corner of the kitchen. There they set him on a stool and gave him his food in an earthenware bowl. From then on he always ate in the corner, blinking at the table with hopeful eyes.
One day his hands trembled rather more than usual and the earthenware bowl fell and broke. "If you are a pig," said the daughter-in-law, "you must eat out of a trough." So they made him a little wooden trough, and he got his meals in that.
1. There are many other reasons why we should worship God besides the few I've mentioned, but the question is, how will our worship of God help us live passionate spiritual lives?
2. The prophet Isaiah provides some insight into this question. In a moving message of God's love for His people, Isaiah said that he had been anointed by God to bestow "a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isa. 61:3).
a. The presence of praise means the absence of despair, dejection, discouragement, and despondency. When we worship, our spirits are uplifted and our despair is defeated.
3. How do we live passionate spiritual lives?
a. First, we need to embrace who we are and what we possess.
b. Second, we need to develop a habit of praise and worship, not just in church on Sundays, but also in our own private, daily devotions.
4. Remember, we praise God for His own worth and glory. We don't praise to get, we praise to give. And there's nothing like God's power and presence to help us live a consistently victorious life.