WHAT’S WRONG HERE?

According to a study by LifeWay Research:

  • Three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) agreed that people must contribute to their own effort for personal salvation.

  • Almost two-thirds of evangelicals (64 percent), and nearly as many Americans (60 percent) described heaven as a place where “all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones.”

  • Almost two-thirds (65 percent) said that most people are good by nature, even though everyone sins a little.

  • Sixty-four percent of Americans said God accepts the worship of all religions.

  • More than half (52 percent) said that Jesus is the “first and greatest being created by God.”

(See article by Tyler O’Neil, 12 Lies American Evangelicals Believe)

 

 

 

ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:1-6 ESV)

… Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, (Hebrews 12:28 ESV)

The MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY defines “worship” as 1) “the act of showing respect and love for … God especially by praying with other people who believe in the same God: the act of worshipping God;” 2) “reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence;” 3) “to take part in worship or an act of worship.” Such definitions, however, fall short in their accuracy because worship is both an attitude and an act. Worship must connect the mind and heart with the truth of God and His marvelous grace as made known in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible.

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IDOLATRY

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

Samuel A CainHuman nature frequently leads people to try to change God and His worship into something that is more pleasing to them. Man’s chief end – “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” (The Westminster Shorter Catechism) – is often neglected simply for the pursuit of personal joy.

Idolatry is very appealing. Our culture actually encourages self-worship. There are “cultural Christians” who believe they can use their faith to manipulate God for their own worldly prosperity. They worship the gift not the Giver. Many in our congregations can barely sit still for 30 minutes unless they are hearing a sermon titled “Five Steps to Success” or “Seven Steps to What You Really Want”. Others run to the church that entertains them the most. They say they are there because of the worship. However, they do not include hearing God’s Word preached in their definition of “worship”. They attend because they are entertained – thus, diminishing worship to idolatry. Continue reading

TREASURING GOD

God is the GospelJohn Piper:

“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.” (God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself)

Worship God in the Heart

From the words of Brother Lawrence:

We must, during all our labor and in all else we do, even in our reading and writing, holy though both may be – I say more, even during our formal devotions and spoken prayers – pause for some short moment, as often indeed as we can, to worship God in the depth of our heart, to savour Him, though it be but in passing, and as it were by stealth. Since you are not unaware that God is present before you whatever you are doing, that he is at the depth and centre of your soul, why not then pause from time to time at least from that which occupies you outwardly, even from your spoken prayers, to worship Him inwardly, to praise him, petition him, to offer him your heart and thank him? What can God have that gives Him greater satisfaction than that a thousand times a day all His creatures should thus pause to withdraw and worship him in the heart?

Our Worship Accepted Because Of Christ

In the words of Bob Kauflin:

It’s not the excellence of our offering that makes our worship acceptable but the excellence of Christ. We cannot worship the eternal Father apart from the eternal Son… Our worship is accepted not on the basis of what we have done, but on the basis of what Christ has done… [Therefore] if we [leaders] help people focus on what God did two thousand years ago rather than twenty minutes ago, they’ll consistently find their hearts ravished by His amazing love.

The Banquet Of God’s Glory

In the words of John Piper:

The revolt against hedonism has killed the spirit of worship in many churches. When you have the notion that high moral acts must be free from self-interest, then worship, which is one of the highest moral acts a human can perform, has to be conceived simply as duty. And when worship is reduced to a duty it ceases to exist. One of the great enemies of worship in our church is our own misguided virtue. We have the vague notion that seeking our own pleasure is sin and therefore virtue itself imprisons the longings of our hearts and smothers the spirit of worship. For what is worship if it is not our joyful feasting upon the banquet of God’s glory?

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