March 17th, 2019
Psalm 100 and we’re gonna read the whole thing because it’s a challenge to worship, and we are talking about how we can worship, how we should worship. Today I would like to quickly talk about some of the things that are sort of obstacles in our worship, like hindrances and just that sometimes it’s not easy to worship. and I will want you to also kind of talk back to me because you might have some also other obstacles that we have that I will not cover, but I think it’s good to dive into this and see you know, if we understand then we can possibly eliminate those obstacles, right, to worship.
If you have your Bible Psalm 100. Before we actually read that, just stay there, I want to read John 4:24 and this is what it says
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24 KJV)
Now let’s dive into Psalm 100. So this is what it says from New Living Translation
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Now we read this, how many of you just kind of think, oh man that’s so easy? Right? I mean worship, first verse, I mean he just come comes out and says, “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!” You know it’s easy to say but then, you know, we come and we worship and somehow we’re just so way down with a lot of things that that are happening. So today I would like to talk about that, talk about how we can overcome all those things and then actually do what it says with gladness, with joy, coming and shouting, and right away some of you might be thinking, oh man like if you only knew what I had to go through this week. If you only knew what I will have to face this coming week. If you only knew what my reality everyday reality is, it wouldn’t be so easy to just, hey I come and I shout to the Lord with joy and gladness and tell all the earth that He’s good.
And so, you know when we read the Bible, over and over again we see those calls to worship. We are encouraged to worship. And so we have talked about worship a little bit before and so I believe that God in heaven, wants us to worship Him from the bottom of our heights. What does that mean? Come on talk to me a little bit. What does it mean to worship Him from our hearts? Because I think this is going, and you know that right, we know that, but sometimes to pause and stop and think about it, it actually it helps. Now often when we say “Hey, let’s worship God!” we right away think of okay let’s sing something and let’s, you know, usually with music, worship. That’s what we think, but what does it mean to worship God from your heart?
You see this is completely different than just coming and going through the motions. I heard this quote, I was at a conference on Wednesday, and this pastor said something that just, I mean we know that some of those things just come and hit you, you know then, but it hits you. Here’s what he says “Many people focus on just being obedient to God, right to being obedient to Jesus. And they focus so much on just the obedience to Jesus, and they stop developing a relationship with Jesus.” You know to do it with your whole heart with emotions, and what is in your heart, that is more of sort of a friendship with Jesus, than just going through the motions and coming and you know and it’s awesome. The worship team loves it when we, when they can hear us from down, like from up there, they can hear us when we sing. It’s awesome. But those are the external things, which are really, really crucial and important to be free. To just be yourself okay, not to be intimidated by what another person next to you is thinking. But you simply enter into worship with this pure heart and emotions and just connect with God in heart and in spirit, so you just are free to worship. And when you do that, when you develop that relationship with Jesus, all of a sudden this just focusing on the obedience.
Now I hope and I think that it’s sort of freeing to us, that you don’t have to focus on just the do’s and don’ts and the obedience to Jesus. Because when you only focus on the obedience to Jesus and that becomes so important to you, do you know what that becomes? That becomes religion. You become religious. And as much as you might be here and you might say, “Oh I’m not so crazy about religious people”. When we look at ourselves, and sometimes how we worship and how we act, I think we can catch, I catch myself, sometimes that’s like well wait a second, that’s just religious, that’s not relationship.
That is not, you know, how God would want me to live my life and in relation to Him. So we need to find this truth to worship Him in spirit and in truth and not be so focused on just, I need to do this, don’t do this, and just obedience. Focus on the relationship with God, and all those other things will come, they will come. And so in the Bible we see so many encouraging things to just come worship, you know prostrate self before God, and you know there’s there’s a lot of things that in our society, or in our times, we don’t talk about that much. You know people used to, you know, prostrate themselves before kings, before rulers and obviously before God. There is just something that we have kind of drifted away from because it became such a religious thing. People would see it and other people would do it, just so other people would see it, and it became just empty. But to kneel before God, that our body is in a, in the posture of like submission before God.
We have moved away from this, you know, I will kneel down to you know prayer and it’s just, I find that the styles in churches and sort of you know things that just kind of move us, and church goes from one thing to the other, and sometimes from one extreme to the other. You know a long time ago the church was preaching only hell, you know just how hell,hell, hell, hell. Then it moved away from that a little bit and then a lot to just love, love, love, love, love. But the gospel is balanced, the gospel is, you know, it’s full. And so we see so many encouraging things to, just that it says worship.
And so there are some obstacles to worship and I want to talk about three things. First, if you can remember that, there are some obstacles in you. And I want to talk about the obstacles in me, there are obstacles in other people, if there’s obstacles in the world. Those three things, if you can remember that today that would be awesome. Look like here’s the thing, and I’m gonna be very, very simple today, not that I’m very complicated other days, but here’s the thing okay, the lack of physical rest. Do you think that that impacts you in your worship? It’s simple right? I mean nothing to it. I find that like even today, you know when you are tired and exhausted. Your mind is not alert, you can’t comprehend things, you can’t understand things the way that God would want you to to understand. And so there was this joke there was a guy that fell asleep during the service. And he was dreaming about something, and he just woke up, like not knowing where he was, and just saying some strange things right. And just he was tired. He just, he just dozed off.
Not a long time ago I was talking to to someone, and they have divulged their secret. When they come to church, they always want to see sit next to the heater right. And so they come and it’s just so nice and warm right. I never even thought of it, it’s like you know, but yeah it’s so but then they get so cozy they start dozing off right. It’s like as if I come to church to just have a snooze, so I can catch up on my sleep. Physical rest is just so important. Now no one is gonna rule over you, no one’s gonna rule over you and and tell you, “No no no, you know, don’t do this”, like we have to monitor that in ourselves. And so it is almost impossible to have this really deep worship experience when you are tired. We need to change some things. I really wanted to go to bed much earlier yesterday, it just didn’t work out. Still got my eight hours, I need to get my eight hours at least on Saturday night. Those are the things that we need to you know, that will help you to be alert and help you to worship God in spirit and in truth.
There’s also another obstacle that I can think of is mental preparation, that you prepare yourself mentally. I again very, very simple thing. If a person goes out to visit friends whatever, see a movie on Saturday night and they stay up really late, then the next thing in the morning it’s like ah man, and it’s just mentally they’re not prepared to hear from God, to worship God. So we must do more than just bring our bodies to church to worship. It’s like you know, we take our bodies to church and they’re there and we consider that as okay, check, I’ve worshipped. It’s not about that, that is going back to this just do’s and don’ts,and the obedience, and religious thing. So you come, you show up, and you check, and you check, and you check.
It’s gotta be so much more. We need to also bring our minds, and our hearts, and so we can connect with God in such an awesome way, when we are refreshed and mentally prepared. There’s also this thing of, that often another obstacle is, in this immature, or incomplete, or faulty concept of God, understanding of God. When people don’t understand God properly, then they can’t worship God properly. And we know that the devil from the very beginning of history, is trying to misrepresent God to people. Even in Genesis chapter 3 verse four, this is what the serpent said to them
“You will not surely die… For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened”.
You see from the very beginning, the devil is trying to misrepresent and mislead people. I would say hey how many times have we heard something like that? Maybe not about this apple thing, but something else that the devil is giving us thoughts and we have believed them. And then because of that we can’t worship God properly, and then we have this, a you know, a little bit, you know, incomplete picture of God, or we have faulty understanding of God. People sometimes refuse to believe God and who God is, and then that’s just, it’s making it so difficult to worship Him properly.
Now God is not a brutal guy that is just somewhere up there and just trying to bully us, but that’s what the devil will want you to believe. You’re going through a difficult time, oh it’s God’s fault. Someone came and said something. And listen, the best thing that is probably in his like trick books, is that someone from church does something against you, and then you all of a sudden is like wow, Christians shouldn’t be doing this. And then he, like he’s got you, because right there and then you have began to believe his lies.
Another obstacle is unconfessed, or like unforsaken sin. If there’s something in our lives, we need to ask God for forgiveness. I think that we need to treat sin seriously. Do you guys agree? Sin is a serious thing. I mean sin is such a serious thing that God thought, that it required the death of his son. That’s how serious sin is. And so you and I we need to look at sin and understand it, and move away from it, confess it, move away from it, leave it completely, and move towards what God wants us to do. So for you, if you’re a child of God, to tolerate sin, it’s breaking your fellowship and your relationship with God. Now I don’t mean don’t associate yourself with people, with friends who don’t know Christ, that’s not it. But to tolerate sin in your life, live in sin, contribute in sin, that’s a different story.We need to be in the world and tell people about Jesus, but we need to be strong to not be swayed.
Now the lack of also another obstacle, is the lack of this attitude of expectancy. How many of you came here, and look I’m so happy I came, I’m so happy we all came, but how many of us came here expecting that man God is going to change my life completely, from today, from this morning, from this day forward, I will not be the same, things will be different. Have you come expecting this? Have you come, or have we just come out of just we’re used to coming, and getting up on Sunday. Kudos to all of us, we got up even earlier today, with the time change. Here’s what Matthew 18:20 says
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them
There is this expectancy, that were you and I, we come in Jesus name, then He’s there with us, then He’s gonna be changing our lives. There’s always something new that is going to happen, that He’s gonna invest in our hearts, in our lives. We need to begin to see that, and live like that. Those are the obstacles in us, that we can do something about.
Now there’s also some other obstacles, and those obstacles are in people that are around us. Those that are around us often distract us from worship. Have you ever been distracted by someone who is in front of you and it just throws you off? Someone’s sipping on coffee and they go too loud, and it’s like oh okay, and it just kind of, it takes you out. Someone is whispering, someone’s talking, and it throws you off, it distracts you. Have you ever been annoyed by someone sitting in front of you and talking, they’re too loud, or doing something right? We have been. Sometimes as a parent I know I get distracted by my kids, I want them to you know sit, and worship, and sing. And we have conversations before church but then we come here, and it’s amazing how quickly they just have their minds on something else, and so we have to remind them. But that’s what happens.
I don’t know if I told you that, but when I was in Sunday school, I was you know maybe eight, nine, back in my home church, all the kids were sitting in front. I don’t know why they did that because like all the kids were sitting in front, just to show that you know, I think hey you know the kids it’s a proper place, they can worship. But kids were, you know talking and and whatever. So I would sit and just play with something, with my friend and stuff, and you know that I, my dad would just clear his throat, just to let me know that he has eyes on me right. So just on the other side of the room he’s like *clears throat*. And I mean man, I knew that *clears throat* and I knew what it meant. And so I would just I, I didn’t even look back or anything, I just heard and it was like a big smack on the back of my head. And then when I got home, my dad talked to me and is like did you hear? Do you know what that means? And you know, but right away I was distracted, I was distracting people around, and my father, and others. So it is possible that people, sometimes it’s nice when we don’t we don’t get distracted by people around us, it happens all the time. And so we have to watch out for those things.
Those around us, they often discourage us and disappoint us. So you see they might be doing something like this and we get discouraged by that. But then someone will come and tell us something, and they will just devastate us. Sometimes before worship, sometimes you know and so, we are as human beings, do you know that we are just absolutely, just habitual fault finders. We look for faults in other people. You may train yourself not to, okay and that’s awesome, but you will find yourself, I’m finding faults in those people. So this can be absolutely deadly to your worship. There are people that come to church just to look for something and someone. It’s sad but it seems like it’s all they come for. I mean, my heart wants to believe no, no, they’re there for other reasons too because they’re there, they came to worship, here the Word of God, the Word of God can change people, but it seems like you know, someone doesn’t like this or that, or that, and all the time something, something, something. Something new.
And so we need to search our own hearts, to be to be honest. It’s not true that in the moment you begin to criticize your neighbour, it’s actually true in the moment when you begin to criticize, you stop worshipping. So when your thoughts, you know it’s like, “Ah you know this guy, look at what he’s wearing” you know, that thought right there causes you to stop worshipping. You can’t, like those two don’t go together. You can’t be critical and at the same time worship. It just does something to you that changes you. I know we don’t have any people that try to find faults in other people, but if you are, you know right there, you can probably find a lot of things that are wrong with me, with the leaders, with other people, it’s just the way it works. I think a person like that needs to stand before God and just make God a friend. Have a relationship with God, then you can connect with God, you can worship Him properly.
Do you guys remember the story of the Pharisee and the publican that came to the temple and worship? And do you remember the Pharisee, how he prayed in the temple and he was actually patting himself on the back, and complimenting him himself, how good he was. He was actually also congratulating God on how you know, man you have a good servant right here, yeah look at me, congratulations. Right there he was unable to worship. He was telling God look I come during Sabbath, and I do this, and then you know his prayer was just absolutely a waste of his breath, because God does not delight himself in prayers like that. God does not like that. He knows us, He sees our hearts, and He knows what we’re all about. But then there was this other man, the publican and he was saying, “Oh God, I thank you I’m not like this guy” and you know stuff like that. It’s just wrong, it just stops us from worshiping.
Now the last thing I want to share and then we’re gonna go into communion is that this world also hinders us, or throws some obstacles on us, and you know the claims of false gods clamor for our worship every single day. So you might worship another person other than God. That might be you might worship your wife, your husband, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, they may mean more to you than God. Even to parents kids, if that is the order, if the kids are more important, or the parents are more important than God, then we don’t know how to be good parents, we don’t know how to be good children. We first need to love God and then He will show us how to be good parents, husbands, wives.
There’s also some worship pleasure, I think we live in times that are just so saturated with pleasure. Pleasure this, pleasure that, pleasure, pleasure, pleasure. You can go ahead, you know have some pleasure, go down south pay for it later, you know like just pleasure, pleasure, pleasure. Some people are just so consumed with that and it prohibits them from true worship. Some also worship other things, other pursuits, so it might be education, that might be relationships, it might be some political goals, something in your life that is more important than God. I think that even right now, this current spirit in this world does not encourage us to to true worship. We now live in the times where, science is everything. So we live in a scientific age, where the scientific method is applied to every area of our lives. Before people lived on getting to know God on faith, now it’s like if it doesn’t check against science, it’s you know science is God now, it has to be. And I’m not saying that science and faith have to be different, I’m saying that some people just put so much emphasis in science alone, and not their faith.
The pressure to succeed right now, I don’t think it has ever been bigger than this, greater than this. You need to succeed, what is your life all about. You need to succeed, people need to know about you, and you need to be great, and whatever you do you need to succeed. There’s so much pressure, that people can’t just simply live for God. Can’t just simply live to please God. You have to be successful, you have to show something. So this simplicity of living for God and pleasing him. And yes being fruitful, yes, you need to be fruitful in your life, to see fruits in your life, that you have accomplished things. But this pressure of success and success now, it’s just I think preventing a lot of people from this true worship. So we need to invite the Holy Spirit to come and just take us over.