Worship is our destiny

John 4:10–24

Jesus’ second temptation was to worship Satan, and his answer to Satan was an instruction for all of us. ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 but many other places in scripture say the same thing about worship.
When faced with orders such as this we instinctively ask the simple question, Why? We do this because we are naturally rebellious and lacking in humility, not to mention stubborn and suspicious. I still think it’s a question that demands a better answer than, Because God says so!
Today in the first of our series I want to say that it is a law, not a demand. That’s to say it’s a law like the law that says you must breath a very specific mixture of gasses in order to stay alive. This is by volume 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen and small amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, neon, helium, and hydrogen. Breathing and worship are essential to life. You must worship God, or spiritually suffocate and die.
This is why worship is the first and most important of the seven spiritual laws. But what in fact is worship in a personal and individual sense?
Deep inside you there is an instinctual desire to breath and an instinctual desire to worship. This is because you are designed and created from the beginning to engage freely and intelligently in worship. Worship is an elementary principle of being a human.
Some of you may not realise that worship and praise are different. Praise can thought of as appreciating God for what he does. He does many things and there is much to praise him for. Worship is to adore God for who he is, and to be in awe of him. Worship isn’t prayer or intercession, but love. Worship is gazing at God in love and adoring him for who he is.
One of our greatest failures as Christians is to put work before worship. God is calling us to worship, and to enjoy a loving relationship with him. Only when we are people who worship are we ready to start work. It will then start to naturally flow out of ourselves without any effort, and it will be God’s lasting work instead of hay and stubble that is consumed by fire.
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gave the great commission to ‘go and make disciples of all the nations’. An important point to note here is that first the disciples worshipped Jesus. Jesus gave the great commission to worshipping people as it says in verse 17 – “When they saw him, they worshipped him.”
If we are not first in a loving relationship with Jesus, we have nothing to offer this world. See him and worship him before you even think of working for him.
Our first obligation is to worship God. Jesus is the way, and we cannot go around him. We must first come to Jesus before we can go to the world. God does not load us with heavy burdens and great tasks that he requires us to do. These tasks and burdens come from our own inner compulsions and from circumstances, not from God. They are often urgent, but they are never more important than worship.
That doesn’t mean work cannot be worship. Of course our work can be an act of worship as Paul says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (Romans 12:1)
What I want you to see here is how important is the attitude of your soul, the atmosphere of your spirit. I urge you to live and move and have your being in God. Unless you do this, your work will never be worship even if it looks spiritual.
Have you ever thought it strange and egotistical for God to demand that we worship him? Did it ever make God seem like a person who wants to be praised and have their ego massaged? Is God a narcissist, so self-centred he needs us to say nice things about him? If God did actually needs flattery, why would he bother with us? It would be like me craving the approval of my dog for a sermon or a new jacket.
When we understand worship we might come to see that we have been thinking about it backwards. What happens in worship is that we open a door to God, and God comes to us through that door and makes a relationship with us.
In doubting God’s intentions for telling us to worship we reveal the root of sin – we don’t trust God. As long as you are suspicious of God, you won’t be able to worship him. You will be able to stand up and sing songs of praise, but your heart will be blocked from God. We are called to trust God even when we cannot see his finger moving in our life, when bad things happen to good people. If you see God as punitive, distant and judgemental it will be almost impossible to worship him, because you won’t find intimacy.
God is really trustworthy, reliable and good, and when you learn to see him like that it will be easy to worship him for who he is. However powerful and dangerous God might be, he is always good and you can always trust him. When bad things happen to you, trust him. When bad things happen to people you love, trust him. God doesn’t send down bolts of lightning to stop murderers, rapists and child abusers, but he is always caring for our spirits.
The most important thing in our life is not what we can do for God. It is what God has done for us. If you get it backward and think the most important thing is what you can do for God, you will certainly have great difficulties. “We love each other because he loved us first,” it says in 1 John 4:19. That’s the first thing, and we must put the first things first. Then we might get all sorts of second things thrown in as a bonus.
When we put second things first, we lose everything.
When we serve God it is because we have already been saved. As we think about that we can feel a change in our heart and we start automatically to worship.
What does Jesus say to the hard workers, driven to accomplish much for the kingdom? “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
When worship is first, then it’s all about God and who he is. When anything else takes first place, it can become about ourself. The danger of service first or work first is that we start to think our point of view matters or our ideas are important. We find we our are putting ourself into the situation, instead of God.
When our work or our service flows out of worship, it doesn’t matter if others seem to be ungrateful or fail to appreciate our sacrifice. It’s all being done for the sake of God and he is our whole reward. We might feel hurt by their attitude, but we will still worship and not want to stop growing closer to God.
What happens as we put worship first is that we become beautiful. As we worship and we are filled with the beauty of God, that beauty drips off us. It radiates, it flows outward, it infects the world around us and changes it.
Worship is to think first about God’s nature and his character, to dwell on what he is like. As we ponder the creator or the universe we start to see him more clearly. We are changed as he comes into us and fills us with glory. And so I say to you, this is the first law.

The first law of spiritual success is to worship. 영적인 성취의 제1 법칙은 경배함이죠.
Be a worshipper before everything else. 하는 모든 일마다 경배하는 이가 되십시요.

Amen 아멘

About Pastor Simon

Pastor at Jinju International Christian Fellowship. Formerly of Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK. I am Simon Warner of Jinju Church. We speak English at Jinju Church, South Korea.
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