5 Jun 2004, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
TITLE: SPIRITUALLY FIT
Scripture Reading: 3 John 2, 11
"I Pray that you will enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along. Dear Friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good."
Our last sermon was about the Christian's Ordinary Day. Our key text was Colossians 3:12-17. We paid particular attention to Paul's instruction on behalf of our Lord , where he said, "Whatever you do in word or deed let it be representative of the Lord Jesus."
We noted that Scripture indicates that we must emulate the Lord in Every Relationship, Every Activity and Every Situation one hundred percent of the time. This is a tall order and humanly speaking impossible. Therefore we are covered by Jesus Christ's life on our behalf. His life is a type of insurance policy against our shortfall. The premium is our complete and total trust in Him always. Jesus alone is one hundred percent always.
We also noted Bruce Machiano's summary of Christ's total holiness on our behalf. He stated it as, "Love unbounded, truth unrestrained, purpose maximized, victory realized, enemy, pulverized, humanity eternalized, God glorified." Ellen \White reminded us that we, "cannot equal the pattern." So we concluded that spirituality cannot be our performance for Christ, but being in partnership with Him daily. Now that is real spiritual fitness.
What really is spiritual fitness? As our Scripture reading above states, good health for John included the physical, mental, spiritual, social, financial - the entire soul or personal being. It is the balanced total you and I. Pastor Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 that our bodies are " the temple of the Holy Spirit." Both are given "of God" and we are not our "own" property but His. We are His kids. We have been "bough with a price", - the life of Christ given on Calvary for our sins. For this reason we owe it to God to "glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Again in 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul gives emphasis to the total balance spirituality which covers the entire soul. " Whatever you eat, or drink , or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Now that is spiritual fitness. This fitness has another ingredient which we need to take note of now.
SPIRITUAL FITNESS = WORSHIP
In Romans 12:1 KJV, Pastor Paul makes this appeal, " I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy , acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Paul no doubt here is using the pre-cross sacrificial system of offerings to God in faith of the coming redeemer Jesus Christ our Saviour. Note the following paraphrases. The Message says, So here is what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking - around life - and place it before God as an offering." The Clear Word puts it this way, "Therefore, I plead with you , … because God loves you and has shown such compassion, don't offer yourselves to Him like dead sacrifices, but as sacrifices pulsating with life, holy and pleasing to God . That is the kind of worship that should be rendered to God." Now the NIV version of Scripture makes it very clear, "….this is your spiritual act of worship." Do you get the issue? The real point is that Spiritual fitness covers every facet of life and includes the entire you body, mind and spirit. The complete you as a soul or person. That is called worship. Worship is not one day a week but all the time. Church worship is only part of worship.
CREATED FOR THE LIFE OF TOTAL WORSHIP.
Pastor John recorded the following amazing statement in Revelation 4:11 KJV, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all thing, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." The NLB says in modern parlance, "You created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created." That includes you and I as His creation. Isaiah makes this clear in Isaiah 43:7, "Bring to me all the people who are mine, whom I made for my glory, whom I formed and made."
You and I were planned for God's pleasure. To bring enjoyment to God. God is an emotional being we were created in His image and He enjoys our continual worship of Him with our lives. God feels deeply and grieves at times. God feels compassion and pity, sorrow, sympathy, anger, happiness, gladness and satisfaction. Scripture also makes it clear that God, loves, delights, gets pleasure, rejoices and enjoys our faith response to Him. Those who live for Him, love and trust Him and worship Him, give Him pleasure. Worship with the total you the total time. Worship is multifaceted and all inclusive for the genuine Christian. Our mental ideas of worship need expanding to be all inclusive of our lives. Chuck Swindol, has suggested, Our tendency is to worship work, work at play, and play at our worship." It sounds like a fair description of too much of modern Christianity. James Emery White is credited with the following brilliant statement about Worship. He said, "The role of worship is to help us order our lives around God." I would like to say, 'Worship is the garlic in the salad life of the Christian. Like garlic, it must permeate the entire being- soul.'
WHAT IS WORSHIP and WHAT IS IT FOR
We were created for worship. It is life and living daily. We were hard wired by God to be continually connected to Him as the central console in our lives. We have an inbuilt socket into which God is meant to be plugged in. When we fail to be worshipping God - plugged in , we find substitutes of which the supreme is self. Worship is to be a natural full-time relationship and experience with our Creator. The human soul is restless until it finds God as the true object of worship - life. Paul, in the Scriptures we have read states precisely that worship is lifestyle. It is all we are, do and say all the time. Worship styles at church are only a fraction of what worship really is for humanity. That is another issue and must not detract from our theme here.
THE SUPREME GOAL OF WORSHIP
Worship is falling in love with the God Family. To know and love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our supreme purpose and goal should be to bring pleasure and glory to God. Isaiah 29:13, 22-24, NIV records God's own summing up of our theme today.
The Lord says, "These people come near me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men." Worship is more than the ritual at church worship. It includes the emotions and minds of the entire soul all the time. In verses 22-24, notice what makes the change to worship which is acceptable to God and which gives Him pleasure and glory. " No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will their faces grow pale. When they see among their children, the work of my hands, they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding: those who complain will accept instruction." Spiritual fitness is being in tandem with God all the time. That is worship in total.
In Isaiah 1:10-20 God's words are recorded again explaining what worship is and is not. Please read it in the NIV. Notice all the worship rituals that God gave in the first place but He here condemns them!! Why? Verse 11, "The multitude of your sacrifices- what are they to me?" …" I have no pleasure in.." Wow no pleasure. The whole purpose of Worship is not there nor accepted.!! Verse 13, "Stop bringing meaningless offerings!… I cannot bear your evil assemblies." Nothing wrong with worship ritual. But everything is wrong with it if it is meaningless and the understanding of it is not fully comprehended. Worship is more than ritual. God here, outlines what it is and how it is more than church ritual. Verses 16-20. "make yourselves clean." "Stop doing wrong." Take your evil deeds out of my sight" "Stop doing wrong, learn to do right." "Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the widow." Evil and sin spoil our lives and our worship ritual. Get it. Worship covers the entire gamut of life all day and every day. It is not spasmodic and irregular acts of worship which God says can be "evil". It is the total act of life for the total time of our lives. Holy worship including ritual brings pleasure and glory to our God gives us the bonus of salvation and with it peace of mind.
God says to us today, "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord, "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow;… If you are willing and obedient you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Verses 18-20 NIV.
What a reasonable God our God is to us. He offers to take all our sin and evil and give us true total worship in exchange. Let us all in His power, do true worship every day.
Remember, Our worship must include every facet of our lives including the ritual that is acceptable to God. Christ is our Lamb. Christ is our ritual. Christ is our life.
Let this be your motto
Continual consistent worship with the Lord more in 2004.
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