Worship is how you Walk

Worship walk

Sunday 01/26/20

Series: Do we Really Believe?

Message – Worship is how you Walk

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Worship is how you Walk

A few weeks ago I presented you with a question which I told you we should NEVER again fail to ask whenever our hearts are exposed to His Word – especially when it is here in His house as a church body.

Now many in today’s world will challenge the fact that the LOCAL assembly is God’s house – claiming that is old Covenant and that now WE are His temple. Well this is not an either/or proposition for BOTH are clearly taught as THE TRUTH in the scriptures.

1Tim. 3:14-15, “(14) I write these things to you, hoping to come to you soon.  (15) But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to act in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

Life Peace

Tell me how this truth should impact how you read and hear scripture?

Last week was training in this very thing. 

The portion of scripture we “HEARD” last week was Ephesians 4:11-13.

Again I am going to ask you to answer this INWARDLY – 

Did you spend time examining your life in light of what those verses said? If not, then your only one week behind. If you don’t do it this week with both messages you’ll be two weeks behind… and so on. 

Now, if you remember Eph. 4:11-13 says, 

“(11) And He personally gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,  (12) FOR 

  • the training of the saints in the work of ministry
  • to build up the body of Christ,  (13)  
  • until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, 
  • growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.”

We then asked ourselves some questions but the most obvious ones in light of this passage were what?

  • Have I surrendered my life enough that I am willing to be His minister?
  • Am I intentional in seeking to be matured into Christ’s image every time I am exposed to those God’s has given me as Gifts – whether Pastor, prophet, evangelist…etc.

I told you that to miss this is to miss the entire message and purpose of the Gospel and the church. 

  • Perfecting Christ’s image within you 
  • and being His minister.

Which is why He gave some as Gifts or “energies” to the body to equip you for both!

We then broke down the “how tos” of this by spending time with Two, New Covenant words which are PARAMOUNT to the Christian faith – THAT IS TO SAY – they are absolutely necessary in order to Mature you in Christ and train you in ministry.

What were those words? [There was only TWO of them and we spent nearly 2/3rds of the time examining how they are used in the New Covenant.] 

Life & Peace – the purpose for Redemption.

Why are these two SO imperative that they are the very purpose for the Gospel of redemption?

  • Peace is agreement with God > producing righteousness
  • Life is union with God, the result of righteous living.

Remember a KEY verse for this is found in Amos 3:3,

“How can two walk together if they are not AGREED?”

So we are going to press forward as though you took last week to heart and really understand it with a new depth that compels you to action! 

Because remember – true belief causes obedience. 

If you do NOT obey – you really do not believe.

Remember our question? 

So, today we are going to consider the word and concept of “worship”.  Turn with me to James 1.

Now there are several words for worship in the scriptures. We will address two of then today. The first one has to do with the external worship and another with true heart worship.

  • External worship is NOT bad – but it can be faked. It is seen in actions. A man can serve his fellow Christian without truly loving them, or they can serve BECAUSE they love them. 
  • Internal worship cannot be faked – and it will always produce external worship.

Real worship is to LOVE the Lord your God with all of your life!

The Devil HATES love and devotion to God…and that is where our encouragement from James comes in…when the devil attempts to tempt you away from heart devotion to God – it tests the true heart of worship in a believer. 

James 1:1-27, 

“(1) James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion. Greetings.  (2) Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials (temptations), (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

One PRIMARY way testing FAITH happens is by testing your obedience to what you have heard!

I will not turn there, but briefly in your mind recall Jesus’ teaching on the heart soils.

If you remember ALL of the hearts HEARD the word! The difference what HOW they heard. Did they hear with a pure love and worship of God in mind or did their obedience have a price tag?

  • Wayside heart – This heart’s approach to the Word is casual. This is the “Yeah but…” heart. If you EVER use that phrase in relation to something God and His Word says, then His Word to you in that moment is no more than one opinion among many.
  • Stoney Ground –  The intended meaning of “stoney” here is actually shallow. You can readily see that this heart doesn’t sound “stoney” at first in that it IMMEDIATELY, receives the Word with gladness. However, it is only a surface and emotional response. There is no abiding respect for or commitment to God and therefore there is only a fleeting respect for His Words. When the devil comes to take it away – he finds it is not as easy pickings as the wayside heart since, the word actually entered the heart. The devil has NO authority to remove something from your heart which you, of your own freewill let in! So he has to influence you (“tempt”) to let go of it willingly. For the Stoney or shallow heart this is NOT too difficult. All it requires is a more tantalizing option. THAT is LARGELY what James is talking about. The reason temptation works with the Stoney or shallow heart is because of the “WAY” they heard the Word – which was out of selfish ambition. When, in their view, the apparent advantage was removed – or something else promised greater advantage their devotion to the Word they heard fails!
  • Thorny Heart – This heart is conditioned to desire God’s Word and even value it on some level but is NOT 100% committed to it. Do you remember “Dori” from that Disney cartoon? This is a “Dory” heart…meaning, it is flighty and easily drawn away. They deliberately place themselves in positions to HEAR the Word, but their respect for it is an externally religious one – not a relational one. These are “Sunday” Christians and fair-weather friends of Christ. They have an emotional love for Him – like Peter…“Peter do you love me with a self-sacrificing love? Peter responded, :Lord, you know I have an emotional fondness for you like a friend.” ~ John 21:15 but not a devotional love like Jesus was clearly wanting! Their attentions are SO divided that any slight thing will remove it from focus on Christ’s words to them…be it worldly cares and concerns, financial needs and desires or any other “earthly things” which competes for their attention and allegiance.

One more thought about this heart is TRUST. This heart has very little of it! It hears the Words of Jesus, but does know the Jesus of the Words. They are familiar with Him, but they do not truly KNOW Him and therefore, His words concerning worldly cares and concerns, financial needs and desires or any other earthly thing, seems distant, archaic or simply not sure enough to warrant complete trust with no options and no back doors. As such this is a divided heart. It has a large compartment for natural cares and concerns labeled “real” things, while God’s Word falls into that heart file category labeled “religious things” in which the non-real world of Scripture is placed.

* To this heart, all Scripture is good for sure, but it is NOT real in that it is NOT where they place their trust. To place all their trust in Christ’s Words without a natural “backup plan” for insurance, seems risky and fearful to them – making Jesus’ words little better than those of a stranger. The ears they hear with are religious ears, not ears of valued relationship! They do not in reality TRUST Him. 

  • Good Heart –  This is the heart which while it may indeed struggle against all those tendencies listed above, always come back to that same truth which Peter embraced, “Where would I go? You have the Words of eternal life.” This is a Jacob heart. One that wrestles with God, but in the end always give Him the final word! This heart loves, cherishes and values Christ first – offering the net result of a heart which also clings to and highly values His words! This is the heart of a true worshiper of God!

Now back to our chapter in James…

“(4)  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

In light of our scripture from last week in Eph. 4:11-13, your relationship with Pastors, Evangelists, Prophets and such should produce the fruit of endurance in your life – since maturity is the result of endurance in faith.

“(5)  Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.  (6) But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. (7) That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  (8) An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.”

This is reminiscent of something I said on Wednesday about hearing from God. I told you your focus had to be GOD – NOT the answer you need. This verse says ask and trust God without doubting. NOTHING is said about focus on what the answer might be – the entire focus is on God and trusting His good nature to lead you!

“(9)  The brother of humble circumstances should boast in his exaltation;  (10) but the one who is rich should boast in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a flower of the field.  (11) For the sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will wither away while pursuing his activities.”

Both the above are brothers and both have a heart focus given to them. The poor brother should glory in God’s exalting him, but the rich should live humbly remembering he is just dust and will return to that one day just like the poor man will. He has no real and lasting advantage!

“(12)  Blessed is a man who endures trials (temptations), because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him.”

Crown of Life = Honored with greater intimacy with God, which is true and valued riches for the one who loves Him.

“(13)  No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone.  (14) But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. (15) Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.”

We’ve spent MUCH time with those verses in the past so I will not take the time now but notice the outcome for the one who does NOT overcome is the opposite of the one who does. DEATH – a void where intimacy with God should dwell. 

“(16)  Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers.  (17) Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.  (18) By His Own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.”

Notice it was HIS idea and His PURPOSE was to make you LIKE Him.  “How can two walk together unless they are agreed?”

“(19)  My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger,  (20) for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. (21) Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.”

QUICK to hear – the word actually carries a meaning which I have been trying to instill in you for weeks – “let everyone be READY to hear…prepared to hear…prompt in hearing!” This places the responsibility upon YOU not only to have the right heart WHEN you hear, but come READY to hear! 

This works in lock-step with your ability to be a doer!

worship walk

“(22)  But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  (23) Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror;  (24) for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. (25) But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts–this person will be blessed in what he does.”

Sounds a lot like Jesus’ message about the heart soils!

“(26)  If anyone thinks he is religious,” 

Now this word actually means DEVOUT or DEDICATED.

So…

“(26) If anyone thinks he is DEVOUT and DEVOTED to God without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless!  (27) Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

So we have two things here…

1. Fake worship to God has a clear and obvious proof – AN IMMORAL TONGUE. This is ALWAYS true!

Why is that true? Because if anyone’s worship of God is true – meaning with all their life – then what would come out of the heart is God – since it is He alone Who is within it in abundance!

What does it mean by not controlling their tongue? Well James gives us some insight into that later in his letter. Does anyone remember what he says?

2. Pure religion – This is that second word I told you about early in the message. It is INTERNAL HEART WORSHIP! If I truly love and am devoted to God, I will love what He loves and do what He would do. This manifests itself in Christ’s likeness & ministry.

In particular, James brings up something God has been showing concern about since the time of the flood. Separation from the world and caring for those who cannot help themselves – especially orphans and widows.

So now – give me some questions you need to be asking yourself to help you “take these words of Jesus seriously – as if you believed they were true enough to obey them and as if He is watching your obedience to them.”

Summary points were :

  • Worship is devotion from a heart of love. 
  • Obedience is rooted in trust in relationship with Him. A trust that He and His ways are better and devotion enough to confine your life to them. 
  • Temptation attempts to question that relationship of knowing & trusting = obedience. 
  • Receiving God’s words as expressions of His person… of His being… Drawn into yourself to be cherished and obeyed. 
  • Living out your union and devotion to Him will result in maturing into His likeness and ministry. 

God Bless!

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been shepherding in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!