1. We’re having a Potluck today. It’s a beautiful thing, when you have a big feast and
everyone provides some kind of dish to share, and it’s best in the purest form of no pre-planning so you don’t know what or how much is going to show up.
a. Anyone ever NOT had a potluck experience? Really?
b. If you have been to one you know there are five potluck essentials: deviled eggs, potato casserole, salad with fruit, brownies, and Jello with something unexpected in it like carrots
c. But the most essential thing about a potluck is that it needs
more than one person. It’s a group thing.
d. And potlucks don’t just spontaneously happen. Someone needs to call people together.
2. Our idea is that when the church gathers to
worship it’s a lot like a Potluck Supper. No matter where you go, essential things always happen, it’s always a group thing, and someone calls them together.
a. A church in the late 60’s AD, struggling to hold on to their faith in a world increasingly hostile to their religious beliefs, teaches us who calls Christians to worship.
b. Read scripture Hebrews 1:3-6 and 9:11.
c. Jesus calls his people to worship and is the one worshiped, because He is the radiance and exact imprint of God
3. And if worship is all about Jesus, and not about the humans involved, then it transcends what happens on the surface of things.
a. If Jesus calls and shows up -it’s going to be great. It’s going to be perfect. And it’s going to be for all of us.
4. Call to Worship
1. To explore the meaning of worship we are turning to the NT Book of Hebrews
a. It’s one of the most beautifully written books of the NT. Its use of Greek language is highly technical and difficult to translate.
i. We don’t know who wrote the book, although early on in church history people thought it was Paul.
ii. It seems to be written as a letter, but it’s more like the text of a sermon or talk… a motivational talk, actually, because the church
was really struggling against persecution and a highly resistant culture – were tempted to stop meeting for worship altogether.
b. It’s basically an argument for the superiority of Christ. If Christ is superior, then you
can trust Him to keep his promises. And they are pretty big promises, so that makes him worthy of consistent, regular worship and followership
c. This is based on the theology in Christianity that Jesus was more than a great teacher but God incarnate. And the whole Bible teaches people to worship God only.
i. The 10 Commandments: You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
d. But because having a relationship with God happens through the work of Jesus on the cross, forgiving sin and restoring our humanity, Christian worship is centered on Jesus Christ.
2. Some may have no problem with that statement, but some might feel it’s a little exclusive. What about other religions? Isn’t it arrogant to say Jesus alone is the object of worship?
a. You’ll never hear me denigrate another religious belief, or question its legitimacy. Jesus didn’t seem to need to either.
b. Yet when I think of what I believe Christ has done: came to earth, experienced humanity, suffered, was rejected and abandoned, died and rose from the dead so I could have God’s grace, be forgiven, be set free from shame and guilt, live in
abundance of peace, joy and love; have a fulfilling mission…
c. I have no problem making Christ the object of my worship – I am so grateful He has saved my life.
3. But why does He even need our worship in the first place? Doesn’t that make Him seem jealous, insecure? We could be followers of Jesus by studying the Bible and taking up His mission in the world, and not bothering with coming to worship services.
a. While it may seem refreshing to have a God who doesn’t ask for worship, what if it
wasn’t so much what God needed but what we need?
b. I don’t know about you, but I need some humbling. Too often, I make myself the Lord of my life, and worship my wants, accomplishments, and hopes. I want worship on my terms, of what I choose.
c. But the truth is I am a terrible Lord. I don’t deliver the goods, and
I’m not really worthy of worship. What I need isn’t myself, but a Savior from myself.
d. Worship focuses me on who God is, and who God isn’t.
4. But I think the best reason for making Christ the Center of your worship is that, if you do, Jesus actually shows up. Every time.
a. Look around, you can see him!
i. Yes, he’s in the stained glass windows. And there’s the cross on the wall. But His people are here, sitting around you. And their desire is to live in such a way that people see Christ. When they gather for worship is a great time to actually see Him.
b. And you can hear Him speak to you, too.
i. He’s speaking through the hymns and the praise songs and anthems, the spoken prayers, and the reading of scripture. It’s a message for all of us, but also just for you.
ii. But if really listen you will hear Him speak into your heart. Or you will hear Him when someone sitting near you says “The Love of God is with you.”
c. And you will see him doing things: when people share their gifts and talents, their precious offerings, their embraces and acts of kindness; how they put Jesus’ love 1st.
d. Did you wake up this morning and make plans to come here with the thought that you were going to meet Jesus?
5. There are other places and times in the world where you can feel God’s presence, and even worship him. But nothing beats this for actually meeting Him.
6. Paper Plate exercise – instructions: place your personal way of representing Jesus in center of plate (picture, symbol, word or name). We will be filling the plate throughout this potluck series.
a. Leave plate behind – someone else will get it and add to it next week.