Challenges In Our Worship We are challenged all the time about our faith, and the stand we take on various doctrines.
Introduction • We have a tendency to consider our assemblies as a worship service. The New Testament does not describe our services as “worship services”, but in our language we understand that the services are considered a period of worship. • However, let us not forget that Romans 12:1 speaks of our spiritual service….and some versions use the terminology “spiritual service of worship”. “ I URGE you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” NASB
Challenges To Our Worship • Comes in two forms. • Those which attack us as a group or congregation, • And those that attack us as individuals. • Both of these have external attacks and internal problems.
External • Laws of man make it increasingly more difficult to speak the truth in public. • Some countries hold the Bible to be hate speech. • Efforts are taking place in our country to do the same. • Example: homosexuality, fornication, covetousness, • We are even forbidden to discuss other religions.
Externally • The opinions of other “so-called” Christian groups • making fun of us. • mocking us in our teaching • 2 Peter 3:3 knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts,4 and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. • Jude 1:18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts • Persecuting us • 2Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. • If you are not being persecuted in any form or fashion, you are not doing your job of living godly in Christ.
External Challenges • The answer we must use. • Romans 8: 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Accusations Against Us • accusing us of falsehoods:You guys teach you are only ones going to heaven; we answer:Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”.
Accusations Against Us • you guys teach baptismal regeneration. • Our answer: Titus 3:5, “washing of regeneration”---technically true, but not as they are using it. There is a regeneration---a making new again. • Answer: Ephesians 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ,21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. • Yes a regeneration takes place in Baptism. It is the restoring of our fellowship with God, and that happens only if we have been cleansed of our sins or “had our sins washed away”.
Accusations Against Us • You guys teach instruments are sinful. • 10 passages use the word sing, we know singing is right, we do not know if instruments are right or wrong, but to him that thinks it is wrong, it is wrong. • Romans 14: 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. • We cannot in good conscience sing with an instrument.
Accusations Against Us • You teach that everyone who does not know God or does not keep His commandments is going to hell. • 2 Thess 1:4-8” so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. • How dare them to accuse us of teaching what is in the Bible. <sarcasm>
We Also Have Internal Problems • The first problem is what we perceive others think about us. • This may not address this congregation, but does reflect some attitudes around the country among the brotherhood. • Why can’t we be like the others: Response: (1 Samuel 8:5) The people wanted a king just like the nations around them. • Why don’t we bring in instruments of music for our worship? • (is it authorized?) (can you prove it is acceptable for worship?) No you can’t. • Why can’t we make our services more appealing to the masses? i.e.Entertainment: Refreshments: Monetary incentives: FUN….
Internal Problems • Why don’t we have contemporary worship services? • Praise teams, entertainment, musical instruments, skits and plays • Just about anything that goes against tradition is called contemporary. • Come on folks, we need to get out of the dark ages! • Answer:Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (KJV)They do the same today.
Internal Challenges • The opposite extreme: • We have always done it this way and we are not going to change. Probably to most prolific attitude in today’s church. • “ you may be on the right track, but you will still get run over if you just stand still” Unknown • Yes we know we should do some things, but who is going to do it. • “Here am I, send me” Isaiah 6:8 • “Let the church do it” • Sounds like something good, but no, we should not abrogate our duty to the church at large. And of course, this is so easy to do. Let the church do the teaching and preaching. Let the church take care of the needy. Let the church…… • Let’s discuss this at the next business meeting. (Procrastination.)
Internal Challenges • A second problem is the fact that we fail to build each other up, and fail in our duty not only to God, but to our fellow saints. Over 70 passages of scripture uses the phrase “one another” concerning our relationship as a body of Christians. • The third problem is that we forget that our worship is to be all about HIM, and not us. • Sure we have this need that needs to be fulfilled. But more often than not, our likes and dislikes of what takes place in the worship service is our personal opinion. • Sometimes we keep it to ourselves, but if we believe strongly enough, we are bound to tell it to others.
Internal Challenges • Thus the difficulty in bringing many different people together and melding them together in one spiritual mind and course of action.1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment”. • Philippians 2:1-5 (read) • The fourth problem is failing to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) Most want either one or the other, but do not always want them together. • Spirit to stimulate the emotions---and truth to make sure we do it right. • A spirit filled church is usually void of truth and a danger some perceive is being so animate about truth, BCV and technicalities, we lose the spiritual intent of our assemblies.
Individual Challenges • External Internet/computer yes, it has value, but also in privacy of your own home, office or bedroom there is plenty of naughty stuff to be involved in. • 2. Entertainment media: Movies, TV, Rentals, Books, Magazines • 3. Public Opinion: calling us fanatics, fundamentalists, anti’s, Bible-beaters (thumpers), extremists. • 4. Mockings, persecutions, making fun of us, rejecting us • 5. Social climate: we know most people are not interested in serving God, and it appears that we are just out of place when we try to socially interact among our friends, coworkers, and others. • We don’t like the rejection and try to minimize our relationship with Jesus so that we can avoid these problems when we should be doing all we can to magnify God in praise.
Individual Challenges • Number One problem is Self and we often deny such. • But God has the answers for us in His word—written 3400 years ago, the word applies just as much to us as to whom it was written. • Deuteronomy 6:1 "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess,2 "that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.3 "Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you-'a land flowing with milk and honey.'4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. • v13 “You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name”. NASV
Individual Challenges • We take it personally when people reject us or persecute us or accuse us or challenge us in our faith. • Samuel took it personally that the people wanted a physical king. • We also have a tendency to take things personally1Thessalonians 4:8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. • Luke 10: 16 Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.“ • Jesus taught us that it is Him that people reject, not you.
Individual Challenges • We fail to recognize that worship is the same as Servitude.Over 70 verses use the phrase “one another” • We forget that this earth is temporal, while our souls are eternal. • 2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. • We are here to help each other get to heaven.
Conclusion • This sermon did not touch the hem of the garment, or the tip of the iceberg. But let us not forget that we must learn the right things to do and do them. Remember James 4:17. • Remember the challenge as a congregation: External which we are ready to defend against and Internal which is our greatest dread. • And the challenge to our personal faithAs we stand against the external influences, we must be watchful for our internal problems. • And let me emphasize once again that our biggest problem does not come from outside, but comes from our own hearts. Our pride, arrogance, and our selfishness present more problems than all the others combined. And it is our heart that will keep us out of favor with God. • Invitation.