Core Value #3: Cultivate Worship
The following is the summary of my October 16 sermon on the Cornerstone Church's core value: Cultivate Worship.
Today, we’re looking at the third Cornerstone Core Value: Cultivate Worship. We’re going to study Philippians 1:20-21. Paul was under house arrest. He was chained between two Roman soldiers. If it were me, my top priority would be getting out of jail! But not Paul. He was focused on spreading the Gospel and honoring Jesus Christ. Let’s read …
BIBLE READING: PHILIPPIANS 1:18-21
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
You were designed by God for a very special purpose - to be a 24/7 worshipper. That’s God’s design for your life. Sadly, most people live for themselves and ignore God. They are like ducks trying to be dogs. We know that's all messed up because ducks weren't designed to bark. And humans weren’t designed for self-glory. We were made for the glory of God.
At the Cornerstone, we want to make God all in all. We want to lift him high. To treasure him and exalt him and delight in him. We don't want to do this on Sundays only, but we want to develop a lifestyle of worship.
Today, I'm going to show you how to bring 24/7 glory to God. We can learn it from Paul who wrote: “… now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” - Philippians 1:20-21
HOW TO BE A 24/7 WORSHIPPER …
1. WORSHIP GOD EVERY DAY
Worship is more than a special hour on Sundays. It’s more than singing or praying or goosebumps feelings in a special place and time. That's just the cream on the cake of a lifestyle of worship. We were designed to worship God every day, 24/7: “now as always.” The Bible says worship now and worship always. All the time. Don't stop!
When I was a new believer I could not figure this out. Did I have to go around looking pious and prayerful? Everyone would think I needed medical attention. The thing that unlocked this for me was Romans 12. The Message gets it right:
“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”
Every one of us can offer up to God whatever we do. And that will be worship. Changing diapers. Working at a machine. Sleeping, eating, driving, kissing. Every minute of our lives can be used to honor God.
Make every day the Lord's Day. Worship God every day by offering your self, your work, your family, your problems, your decisions, your successes, your failures, your thoughts, your emotions, your words, to his glory.
“Here God. I want this all to honor you. I want to bring you glory with my whole life.”
Then live it out …
2. WORSHIP GOD IN EVERY WAY
The Christian faith is 2000 years old. And for almost all that time, the church has had to stand against a very serious error. It shows up in different statements:
“Because of grace our lifestyle does not matter.”
“Profession of faith is always the same as possession of faith. I can say I’m saved even if I have no intention of living like I’m saved.”
“Faith is spiritual, so it doesn’t matter what we do with our bodies.”
But look what Paul wrote here: verse 20: “… now as always Christ will be honored in my BODY.” Paul wanted to honor God with his BODY - that’s talking about lifestyle. It’s saying: we worship God in all our ways. When Jesus saves us, he also sanctifies us. If Christ is in me, he will live through me.
I got help on this from another passage in Paul. This time he's talking to people who had a guilty conscience about eating meat. The problem was that the meat was bought in the market after it had been sacrificed to idols - all the meat in those days.
Does eating matter to God? Can something so mundane and daily be an act of worship? According to the Bible, eating matters to God:
“So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you—you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory.” - 1 Corinthians 10:31 (The Message)
What that tells me is this: even the smallest parts of my life matter to God. Everything matters: Our words. Our honesty. Our relationships. Our sexuality. Our money management. Our politics. Our work ethic. Our treatment of the weak and the vulnerable.
Our lifestyle matters because: the way we live can either honor God or not.
C. WORSHIP GOD IN EVERY SITUATION
Worship is so much more than what happens in special buildings and on special occasions. I used to enjoy going to Christian conferences. And they can be exciting and encouraging. But they can also be spiritually harmful. Big crowds, great speakers, powerful experiences are not normal. We don’t live in the glory realm on Monday mornings. Here’s reality. God does not want us to live at conferences or revival meetings. The highs don't stay high. Everyone has to come down the mountain some time and go home and pay the bills and go to the parent teacher conferences, and walk through the ordinary things of life.
Here's what we must learn: how to bring glory to God in inglorious places. How to make the routine and inglorious (changing poopy diapers) and hard things into acts of worship to God. This is what Paul wanted to do - “Christ will be honored in my body, whether BY LIFE OR BY DEATH” - Philippians 1:20.
Here’s the thing: where was Paul when he wrote that? Under house arrest, chained to two Roman soldiers, awaiting trial. There was nothing glorious in Paul’s life in chains. He was under indictment and penniless.
How can we turn every situation into worship? By choosing to! It’s not your situation that honors God. It’s you! You bring glory to God. We honor God in the same way Paul did: trust God, obey God, wait for God. When we do that it will show up in our words and on our faces. Positive, confident, optimistic, expectant and grateful lives. In every situation.
The Lord Jesus did exactly this just before his crucifixion:
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” - John 12:27-28
There was nothing glorious about crucifixion. But Jesus made it into an act of worship by trusting God and his promises and by being obedient to death, even death on the cross.
The Cornerstone is a worshipping church. It’s in our DNA. A core value. We believe it's God's design for us. The inspiring songs we sing on Sundays translate into glory to God on Mondays. We offer our everyday, our every way, and our every situation to honor Christ in our bodies. That is our highest calling. That is the reason we were born.
Bill Bright, the late founder of Campus Crusade for Christ was once asked, “Why did God use and bless your life so much?” He said, “When I was a young man, I made a contract with God. I literally wrote it out and signed my name at the bottom. It said, ‘From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ.’” (Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, page 108-109)
Rick Warren wrote: “Have you ever signed a contract like that with God? Or are you still arguing and struggling with God over his right to do with your life as he pleases? Now is your time to surrender.”
Surrender is the choice we're all asked to make. Daily. Hourly. Moment by moment. Don't rob God of his glory. Offer him your life in 24/7 worship!