Created for Connected Series
The Worship Connection
September 17, 2014
For the past several weeks we have been studying the fact that we were and are created for connection. God has designed the universe it such a way that nothing meaningful transpires without connection. Both physical and spiritual growth as well as maturity are impossible without connections. Built into the natural of our world is an interdependency.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. NIV
Did you notice the usage of the pronoun “us” in the text? While worship is a truly personal experience the Bible always portrays it in the light of community. Meaning full and powerful worship always makes both a horizontal and vertical a connection. My vertical connection with God and my horizontal connection with others. The circuit is not complete until the both of these are accomplished.
The bible tells in this text that there are four stages to a powerful worship Connection. Please none they are all interdependent of each other.
The first stage initiates when I am determined and say, let us ….
- Draw Near (v.22)
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith,
- To God …
- Notice the qualifier, if we want a powerful and meaningful worship connection we must be intentional about drawing near to GOD. Look over at your neighbor this morning and tell them, “You’ve got this!” What I mean by that is that by being here you are headed in the right direction.
Important to note that our text is addressing believers not the unbelieving who have not come to faith in Christ. They don’t have any intention of drawing near UNTIL SOMETHING rattles their world! Reminds me of the story I read about…
A farmer who had three sons: Jim, John, and Sam. No one in the family ever attended church or had time for God. The pastor and church members tried for years to interest the family in the things of God, but to no avail.
Then one day, a rattlesnake bit Sam. The doctor did all he could to help Sam, but the outlook for his recovery was dim. So the pastor was called. He decided to draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith by praying:
“O wise and righteous Father, we thank Thee that in Thine wisdom thou didst send this rattlesnake to bite Sam. He has never been inside the church and it is doubtful that he has, in all this time, ever prayed or even acknowledged Thine existence. Now we trust that his experience will be a valuable lesson to him and will lead to genuine repentance. And now, O Father, wilt Thou send another rattlesnake to bite Jim, and another to bite John, and another really big one to bite the old man. For years we have done everything we know to get them to turn to Thee, but all in vain. It seems, therefore, that what all our combined efforts could not do, this rattlesnake has done. We thus conclude that the only thing that will do this family any real good is rattlesnakes. O Lord, send us bigger, and better rattlesnakes. Amen.”
- Praise God your drawing near to God today and it didn’t take a rattlesnake to get you here!
- But Millions of lukewarm, indifferent, in name only Christians rolled over in bed this morning – hit the snooze alarm and in essence said, “I’m too tired to draw near to God today.”
- One of the greatest of the greatest travesties of the church today is that we who call ourselves Christians have taken “Drawing Near to God” for granted!
- Where once we pursued Him with passion, our hearts eager to know Him. Once we hungered for his presence and the opportunity to sit at His feet but now the spirit of Laodicea shrouds our hearts.
- Today our nation is filled with many Convenient Christians – Worship God ‘only when I feel like it”
- Today our nation is filled with many Part time Christians – Worship God on Church days their confession of Christ has NOTHING to do with how I live and act…
- The context of the Bible reveals when we draw near to God we will draw near To His Family –
- Look at the context of the verse. Verse 21 that we read speaks of a great high priest (Jesus) being over the house of God.
Paul in writing to Timothy clarifies who and what this house of God is:
1 Tim 3:14-15 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. NIV
- Let me tell you bluntly – You cannot be the Christian God intended you to be if you are not Drawing Near to God connected to HIM and HIS family – His Church.
The second stage of this powerful worship connection that the Bible instructs us to take is found in verse 23. Read it out loud with me.
- Hold Unswervingly (v.23)
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
This time tell your neighbor, “Get a good grip!”
Many years ago, a captain of an English ship sailing near Turkey was caught in a storm. As there was no harbour nearby he let down the anchor, but the wind blew so fiercely that it began to drag the anchor. It couldn’t get a grip on the sandy seabed and so the ship began to drift. Another anchor was let down but it too refused to take hold and the ship was drifting nearer and nearer the shore and soon would be stranded. There was only one little anchor left and the captain felt sure that it wouldn’t be of any use. But it was let down and to his surprise the chain tightened. Soon the ship was held fast and by the help of the little anchor it rode out the storm.
When the time came to lift the anchors, the big ones came up easily for they hadn’t caught on the seabed, but the little anchor refused to come up. They pulled ever so hard and at last it came up little by little and it was very heavy. Something came up with it. It was another anchor. The little anchor had caught in the ring of the anchor of a great battleship that had been lost there years before, and that’s why the little anchor held so firmly.
God’s Word divulges just exactly what we need to have a good grip of in our worship connection…
- Get a good grip on the Hope we profess
- This profession – THIS ANCHOR IS:
- A confidence in The Blood of Jesus V.19
- Because of it our hearts ARE cleansed from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water v.22
- Grip our Anchor is a heart fully assured …
- This worship connection is rooted in His Faithfulness
Hudson Taylor founder of China Inland Mission) used to hang in his home a plaque with two Hebrew Words on it: EBENEZER & JEHOVAH JIREH. The first word means ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us’ and the second, ‘The Lord will see to it or provide.’ One looked back while the other looked forward. One reminded him of God’s faithfulness and the other of God’s assurances.
The third stage of this powerful worship connection that the Bible instructs us to take is found in verse 24. Read it out loud with me.
- Consider (v.24)
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Consider – deliberate, contemplate, ponder
Spur – goad – provoke (in a good sense) NOT offend or irritate but excite cultivate action towards two things:
- Provoke, spur, goad Toward Love
You see the root of a powerful worship connection is love – Jesus said that everything can be boiled down to
Matt 22:37-40 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ b 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ c 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” NIV
- Spur Toward Good Deeds – “See your love one for another”
- To be seen something tangible, visible must be apparent
- Clearly these are good deeds.
The actions of one several of our church members comes to mind. A couple (Chuck and Linda Carter) were absent last week – not because they hit the snooze alarm but because they had considered how to spur … (this verse) They travelled to Lumberton, TX which apparently is just a few miles outside of Beaumont TX. Went helping the people devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Ripping up/out carpet, tearing out sheet rock, etc. Got to pray with several — NOW they when because they had a connection to people in the town of Lumberton.
You may or may not get to go to the Houston Area to practice this verse. BUT this verse can and should be practiced right here in this community when you and I do we make a powerful worship connection with God and His people!
The fourth and final stage of this powerful worship connection that the Bible instructs us to take is found in verse 25. Read it out loud with me.
- Not Give Up (v.25)
25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. NIV
Play igniter “Around Here” video
- The Great Importance of Meeting Together
How many of you know someone, friend, family member or acquaintance that is bodily able to attend church but they no longer go? They have given up meeting together. (Raise your hand.)
In Matthew 24 after the disciples had asked Jesus about the sign of His coming (return) among the things he told them he said, Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 1 Matt 24:12-14 NIV
It is incongruous, an oxymoron if you will, that in an age of greater access to the Word of God – mobile phones, computers, pod casts, radio and T.V. and the love of many would grow cold.
I boldly submit that the reason is because we must have community, be meeting together to have a powerful and meaning worship connect. You see a fire dies out if the logs aren’t close enough to each other!
- The Great Importance of not giving up Encouraging One Another
- Satan is a master of discouragement – He is an equal opportunity discourager!
- This encouraging one another is paramount as we see the “Day approaching” – none of us knows when but told to watch the signs
- Perhaps that is why in there are 15 different NT verses that speak of encouraging the church
Discover the power of encouragement. God wants you to be encouraged, and He wants you to be an encourager to others.
*It was on March 23, 1945, during one of the last major offensives of WWII. General Dwight Eisenhower was walking near the Rhine River and fell into step beside a young infantryman. The young GI seemed depressed, and Ike asked, “How are you feeling, son?” “General, I’m awful nervous. — I don’t feel so good.”
*And Eisenhower replied, “Well, you and I are a good pair then, because I’m nervous too. Maybe if we just walk along together to the river we’ll be good for each other.” SOURCE: www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,853471,00.html
God created you to be connected to HIM to have a real personal and vital relationship. (Sin separated us from him good news – blood of Jesus cleanses!
Those discouraged – pray for you today that the spirit of discouragement and heaviness be lifted. (Once come forward and prayed over – need connection – connect groups.)