Jan 03, 2016 | David Crosby

Your Spiritual Act of Worship

Corporate worship is our big event each week. And that is how it should be. The entire family of faith gathers here on the Lord’s Day to give our mighty God the honor due his name. We open God’s Word and learn more about his heart and our hope. And we pray that our lives will be more closely aligned with his life for having spent this time together.

But worship is not at the beginning an event of corporate praise.  It is responding to God’s prior gift of mercy, making an acceptable and reasonable offering, renewing your thinking, and discovering God’s perfect will.

 

Respond to God's Mercy:

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy” (v1)

Paul the Apostle has described the overwhelming mercy of God in the previous chapters of this Book of Romans. 

  • He has describe how all of us—Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female—have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.
  • He has described the penalty for our sin, which is separation from God—spiritual death.
  • He has described how God sent his one and only Son to pay the penalty for our sin and to make our salvation possible.
  • And he has described our proper response: “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…”

Paul has written that this mercy extended to us is a free gift of God. God was not required to save us sinners.

  • Mercy is the suspension of deserved punishment—you deserve to be punished but you are not. 
  • It differs from grace in that it has this assumption within it that you are guilty and owe a debt. 

We cannot truly worship God without remembering and embracing this truth of God’s mercy. He has loved us through creating us. And he has loved us through providing a way for us to gain access to him.

So we come together today “In view of God’s mercy.”

 

Make An Offering:

“offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”

Throughout the Bible people come to the house of worship prepared to make an offering. Offerings come in various shapes and sizes. They have different labels. They are responses to the various activities of God.

  • You have the sin offering which was brought to God by the priest on behalf of the people. The animal that is sacrificed stands in for sinners, symbolically paying the price for our sin.
  • You have the grain offering. This was brought to God usually at the time of harvest, returning a portion of what God gave them in reverence and respect for his creation and his good gifts.
  • You have the peace offering. This offering was about fellowship, praise, and thanksgiving. It often included a community meal or family meal. It expressed gratitude to God for all his provision and for the covenant community itself.

Each of these offerings has its parallel in our own worship experience right here in this room Sunday by Sunday. We gather here to give God something.

  • We offer to him our confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. We recognize the SIN offering that Jesus Christ became on our behalf. He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God through him.
  • We offer him our grain offering. If we were farmers, our offering would literally be kernels of grain or bags of grain brought to the house of worship in recognition of God’s provision of all that we have, of all the harvest. In our economy, we offer him mostly monetary gifts, our tithes and our offerings.
  • We also offer to him our peace offering, which is our offering of praise and fellowship. Love must be freely offered. We are freely offering our love to God today.

When Paul says, “offer your bodies a living sacrifice,” he is speaking in terms of this kind of offering—a full surrender of ourselves upon the altar of worship.

  • This is reasonable because this is what Jesus died for us. He gave his life on our behalf. 
  • This is acceptable because it is the only offering we can give to God that expresses the depth of his mercy and grace toward us. Everything we have, everything we were, everything we will ever be we lay before him in living form.

 

Renew Your Mind:

be transformed by the renewing of your mind”

There is nothing about this moment of worship that the world would endorse or approve. As one atheist said to me, “I would never surrender my will to another person.” The self as King and God—that is the world’s way. “If you eat this fruit, you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We could conform to the world in this regard. We could choose to live unto ourselves alone rather than living out our lives before and on behalf of the God who made us and loves us. So the challenge is this: “Don’t be conformed to this world.”

We renew our minds in this moment of worship as we surrender ourselves in view of God’s mercy.

  • We reorient our lives around the center, which is God.
  • We reorganize our priorities based on Jesus as Lord.
  • We will renew our minds as we regain our focus and reorganize our priorities as affirm that Jesus is Lord in us.

This is transformational. It brings us back to the great truth that transcends all others.  

 

Discover God's Will:

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”

God has a good, pleasing, and perfect will for you and me. 

  • His will is larger than any single one of us. We want to conform our lives to God’s will—his overarching plan and purpose for us and our existence.
  • His will is good. God is good. And wants he desires for you and me is good for us and for all around us.
  • His will is pleasing. This means primarily that it pleases him. We are conforming to the good pleasure of God as we worship, reorient our lives, and discover again his will for us.
  • His will is perfect. That means that it is flawless although we cannot keep it flawlessly. It means that it matures and perfects us. Following the will of God as a discipline of life will make a man grow up, a woman mature into the human being they were created to be and really, hope to be.

Conclusion: It is time to test and approve the will of God. So what is his evident will for you right now?

 

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