Sermon Summary (9/18/16), “Worship Him.” Isaiah 6:1-8
I began going to church when I was five. I remember where I sat in the congregation. I knew the numbers to all the old hymns. I even remember a sermon or two. There is no doubt that worship has shaped me, formed me, had much to do with whom I am today.
We’re in the midst of a news sermon series, “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations,” those practices so critical to a congregation’s mission that failure to perform them in an exemplary way leads to congregational deterioration and decline—Bishop Robert Schnase.
Last week, Radical Hospitality that invites, welcomes, receives, and cares for the stranger; and this week, Passionate Worship that gives the stranger something to take away. Worship changes us. It “describes those times we deliberately gather seeking to encounter God…. We don’t seek to squeeze God into our lives. We seek to meld our lives into God’s.”—Schnase.
When we worship, when we really worship, we encounter God in all the elements of worship. How is your worship? When we lift our voices in praise and song, do we encounter him? When we lift our hearts in prayer, do we encounter him? When we hear Scripture read and the word proclaimed, do we encounter him? And on communion Sunday, as we gather around the table, do we encounter him?
And if so, do we hear a call on our lives? And so doing, leave this place changed? When we seek God in worship, He changes us.
Worship has been part of the plan from the beginning. Cain, Abel, Noah and Abraham brought offerings. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh “to let my people go so that they can worship me.” The book of Psalms is the worship book of the people. Isaiah encountered God in the Temple and responded, “Here I am, send me.” Jesus began his ministry in worship, Luke tells us “as was his custom.”
We worship to fulfill the commandment to Love God with all our heart, mind soul and strength. But God wants us to love him not to be revered but to gain access to his grace such that he can mold us into the people he calls us to be. He calls us to worship him so that he can pardon us. So that he can restore our relationship to him and one another. And we gather together so that he can mold us together into the body of Christ.
Physically we are shaped over a lifetime. We are formed spiritually the same. We need worship repetitively, weekly, to be pardoned, restored, shaped, formed. I need that. We need that. We need that passionately. “Here I am to worship. Here I am to bow down. Here I am to say that you’re my God.” We need worship.