Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Altared Living For Altered Lives

Peter Rowan, my homiletic teacher, preached on "Worship At The Kitchen Sink: Altared Living for Altered Lives" last Sunday and here are the sermon notes:

Where Does Worship Take Place?

The radical difference between early Christianity and the surrounding religions of the first century:

No longer is religion to be a sector of life as was with the case with the elusive and empty divinity cults. Christian worship is a total consecration involving belonging, obedience, brotherly love, in short, total service and adoration of the living and true God. (R. Corriveau)

1. Mind Your Language - Old Words, Wider Meanings

- Worship patterns in redemptive history (remember John 4): OT worship pointed forward to the ultimate sacrifice and the perfect high priest - Jesus and the Cross.
- In the NT, OT worship language is transformed and widened in its application.

2. Do As The Romans Do - Worship 24/7

The Build-Up to the Call of Worship:
- 1:18-3:20 - sin keeps humanity from a true knowledge of God, making true worship impossible.

- 3:21 - 11:36 - God has not abandoned His world. Through Christ's sacrificial death, God has acted to bring humankind back to Himself.
- 12:1ff - Paul's exposition of the righteousness of God and of justification by faith leads to 12:1 "Therefore, in view of God's mercies, ..."
- Romans 12 expresses a new understanding of worship based on a right response to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Understanding 'understanding worship'

- This kind of worship involves the obedience of faith (1:5 & 16:26) - worked out by those whose minds are being transformed and renewed by God so that their lives in their totality are lived according to the will of God.
- The Christian's spiritual worship involves an extreme of realism - the offering of himself (R. Corriveau).

3. Worship at the Kitchen Sink: Altared Lives for Altered Living

- 12:1 "offer / present your bodies..." The presentation of ourselves to God at the beginning of our Christian lives - in terms of a deliberate, decisive, demonstrable surrender to God, is to be renewed on a regular basis.
- Our death to sin in the death of Christ, which Paul has declared earlier in Romans to be and accomplished fact, must become real in experience too (James Philip).

Altared Lives

- Not a disembodiment consecration, but the consecration of our whole lives.
- Ruth Graham had a card above her kitchen sink: "Divine worship offered here three times daily." All of life lived to the glory of God.
- OT language of sacrifice is applied now to the offering up of all our live all the time to God.

Authentic Worship Flows from an Altered Life

- The life that is fully acceptable to God is the life consecrated to Him through self-abandonment to the saving work of Jesus Christ. It is the life that seeks to serve Him in the context of everyday relationships and responsibilities, in the power of His Holy Spirit (David Peterson).

- Altared lives will result in altered living

Altered Living - The Life of Comprehensive Worship is to be lived out in the concrete relationships and circumstances of life:

a. relationship with yourself
b. relationship with other Christians
c. relationship with enemies
d. relationship to authorities
e. relationship to God's standards

- Philip Yancey talks about the kind of alternative lives we are called to live: Stalin built a village in Poland called Nowa Huta or 'new town' to demonstrate the promise of communism...

- "All too often, the church holds up a mirror reflecting back the society around it, rather than a window revealing a different way..." (What's So Amazing About Grace)

4. Real Worship: Connecting the Real World with the Real God

- (Romans 15:15-17) Paul sees his mission to the Gentiles as an expression of his worship to God.

- Evangelism has as its chief purpose the multiplication of worship, praise and thanksgiving to the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Andrew Kirk).

- Corporate worship should encourage us to engage with the world, and not escape from it.

- There can be no place for fantasy religion - worship is real only if it connects the real world with the real God (Mark Santer).

5. Our Debt Problem: The Solution to Sustaining True Worship

A Life for a Life
- a debt of gratitude
- a matter of obligation
- a matter of honesty

To see the meaning of the cross and still withhold our whole being from God is an impeachment of our sincerity and integrity (James Philip).

This is the worship God so desires and deserves:

- a comprehensive worship that flows from the totality of our lives
- worship that leads us to engage with the needs of the world
- worship sustained by the gospel of Christ

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