For the last two weeks we have been in a series on living Christfollowing lives outside the 65 minutes we are in church. Somehow we need to get it in our heads and hearts that being in a relationship with Christ is supposed to be a transforming. We should be experiencing a spiritual transformation in our lives that makes us more like Christ instead of more like the world we live in.
There is no question that there is a serious need for this teaching. One of the ways we have responded as a church to help all of us is by offering the Discipleship 2010 classes. Let me just say there is not a person in this room that doesn’t need to be in some kind of a study of God’s word outside the 65. If God is who He says He is and we are to serve Him on this earth like the Bible says we should then we are in desperate need of more understanding and connection to God and His word.
When it comes to hypocrisy we learned that we all hate it and we learned that God hates it. We learned that we are to imitate God and love people. We learned that we should begin with our hearts and allow God to fill us with His Spirit.
How do we overcome hypocrisy in our public lives? Why do we struggle at times with this issue even though we profess to love God and we are living for Him?
A Theology of Hypocrisy
The Fact: We are new creations
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
The Evidence: New life always produces a new lifestyle
God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5b-7 NLT
New life always produces a new lifestyle: you can read a religious book or go to a church but if there is no evidence of change in your life then something didn’t happen. If you are in Christ or Christ is in your life there will be changes in the way you live.
The Dilemma: We have to deal with sin
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:8-9 NLT
In our new life we still have the ability to sin. We don’t have to of course but there is a struggle that we have to fight to overcome the power of sin in our life.
The Battle: The daily struggle should always be leading us to becoming more like Christ
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. Galatians 5:17 NLT
The Process: To surrender daily is normal activity for an authentic Christfollower
Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
1 John 3:2-3 NLT
17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NLT
Moses would speak with God and when he came back his face would be brilliantly shiny. Anytime you meet God authentically you will become like whatever He is like. Moses would come down from the mountain where He met God and his face would be so brilliant that he would have to wear a veil over it. The longer Moses was away from the presence of God the less “glow” there would be but Moses occasionally would still wear the veil even though there was no glow because he wanted to speak as though he had just talked to God. Do you know what that is? Hypocrisy.
The Fact is you are a new creature if you are in Christ
The Evidence is a lifestyle of change
The Dilemma and Battle is that you still have the capability to sin
The Process is by whatever means God has ordained, the more you get to see Him and experience Him you will be transformed and conformed to the image of Christ.
Let me tell you God’s plan for defeating Hypocrisy.
Worship: God’s Plan for Defeating Hypocrisy
When we worship we encounter God. When we worship we see God for who He is. We worship Him through His word, through prayer and even through music. When you see God you will be come like Him from the inside out. When we worship we think about God. We sing or read about His redemption or His holiness. When we worship we encounter the nature of God we become transformed into His image.
This is incredible simple yet I am convince the majority of people in this room do not encounter God on enough of a regular basis and the proof of that is the struggles we have in our lives. If you are intentionally encountering and worshiping God you will be changed.
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21 NLT
Remember last week:
Don’t be drunk with wine
Do be filled with the Spirit/ Saturated
b. Making music in your hearts
c. Giving thanks
d. Submitting to one another
Worship is God’s primary means of allowing us to “see Him” (significantly, but imperfectly) for who He is—and thus be progressively transformed into His likeness.” When we worship God we do not see Him clearly but clearly enough for it to transform us.
3 Modes of Worship: Today we will talk about one of them. (Corporate worship, Personal worship and Practicing the presence of God.)
1. Corporate Worship “. . .singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves.” v. 19a (speaking)
Corporate worship is the regular gathering of God’s people to meet and experience God so that we can give to Him the glory and focus and rightful place in our hearts that He already holds in our universe.
• Its Priority:
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage
one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews
We are commanded in the Bible to come together to worship God and to encourage each other in our faith. In a positive and healthy church we will find it to be a strong part encouragement and affirmation of our faith in Christ. It “spurs” us on. This word means to ignite, to challenge to instruct to inspire to engage one another. Our gathering together is a very high priority to God.
Listen to King David from the Old Testament:
“The one thing I ask of the LORD—the thing I seek most is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” Psalm 27:4
Think about what you have heard already today. It’s about unveiled faces and looking at God or in David’s words, delighting (gazing) and meditating. This obligation we have is to see God on a regular basis so that we can be transformed from the inside out. Corporate worship is the regular assembly of God’s people to meet God and see Him for you He is and to allow Him to have the rightful place He deserves in our lives and lifestyles.
• Its Purpose:
To recalibrate your soul around God’s Sovereignty
When we come together it realigns our hearts and minds to center our lives on Christ. This will affect our relationships. This will affect our lives to the degree that we participate in it.
Yesterday I received an email. Squeezed.
Let me tell you another reason we come together to worship. We come to give our offerings to God. That is taught in the Bible from cover to cover. The practice of giving to God first is a staple in the historical record of Godfollowers. We give our talents, our time and our resources. We have almost lost this in these days. We mostly think that we come to church to get something, to be motivated or entertained in some way. We have made it into a place for us when in reality God wants us to be giving our worship to Him.
You would never go before a King without something in your hands to give. Few people had access to the King but when they did they would bring an offering and they would bow to him in reverence. The reason we give Him the place He holds in the universe is because God is over all and He made all yet He chose to be in a relationship with us. When you love somebody you show it by giving to that person.
What offering does God want from us? Some of you will answer out tithe and while that is a critically important part of Christfollowing there is something more we have to offer Him. He want you. All of you.
• Its Practice:
We come together in worship to offer ourselves and to connect with God.
When we come to worship God wants us so connected to Him that we don’t have to gauge our response to God by who is preaching or what kinds of songs we are singing. Really most of that doesn’t matter all that much. We come prepared to say that this is the most important meeting of the week and as I come I am going to offer myself to God and then I am going to offer my gifts to God. I am going to offer my heart, and affections and my body to God. I am offering my time and money to God and my attitude is one of awe that I get to be in a place with God’s people to sing and pray together and learn as a group from God’s word. I will come and bow to the God of the universe.
Is that how you think about it?
How do we practice this? We are to sing Psalms. Those are scriptures that reveal God’s character and nature. Hymns are songs old or new that sing directly to God. They are vertical in nature and if we pay attention on a Sunday morning or our led to understand what we are doing we are singing directly to God about Him and our intentions toward Him.
Corporate worship is God centered and the fact is that music plays a vital role. There is something incredibly powerful about taking God’s character and who He is and putting music to it and singing it to God. Music affects as human beings. When we listen to music it does something to us.
Here’s a question for you: How do you prepare for the most important meeting of the week?
You and I have the opportunity to come before the God of the universe. He is the Sovereign Lord of all. He loves you and invites you to do life with Him all week. He has commanded us to meet regularly and systematically. How do you prepare to come to this place? How do you personally prepare your heart, your family, your offering that you are bringing?
How do you prepare for the most important meeting of your week? This time lets you see God for who He is. It lets us recalibrate our souls and align ourselves with His word. It allows the Holy Spirit to speak to us and touch our emotions. It provides for us a place where we are changed because when you see God you are changed from the inside out.
Do you prepare to come before God like you would to go see a playoff game or some other event that means a lot to you? You see sometimes I am afraid we follow earthly things with more devotion than we do God. I’ve been to a few Ohio State games and you know what I notice, the majority of us are in the place ready to go long before the game ever starts. We are prepared. We dress up. We have our tickets. The point is we make preparations.
IF you or I had the invitation to visit the President of the United States how would you prepare for that meeting?
If you had a major job interview what do you do to prepare?
Here are some things I think you and I would do in all of these situations: I think we would be mentally prepared, we would think about it in the days leading up to it and the night before, we would be punctual or on time, we would have focus and clear expectations.
If you and I are not approaching our time to gather before God as a group on a Sunday morning like we would for earthly things we are going to miss so much that God has for us to receive from Him.
If you and I can start preparing for our time together we will walk out of here on a Sunday different than what when we came in.
Now we have already sung a couple of songs but I am wondering if you might not like another chance to worship and allow God to recalibrate your life.
2. Personal Worship “. . .and making music to the Lord in your hearts.” v. 19b
• Its Priority: Romans 12:1-2, John 15:5-11
• Its Purpose
• Its Practice
Resource: My Heart Christ’s Home
3. “Practicing His Presence” Worship “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. v. 20
• Its Priority – 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
• Its Purpose
• Its Practice
Resource: The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence