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05.07.17 Giving God our Selves Through Worship Hebrews 10:19-25 Sermon Outline

by on May 8, 2017

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The Kentucky Derby put 9:2 odds on the winner. God guarantees 7:1 odds on Sabbath and worship.

Summary Points

  • Nature and worship
  • The “two days” of Christ: Priestly mediation and rest
  • Two reminders until we rest: Sabbath and worship
  • How God makes the most of our Sabbath and worship
  • Applying the perspective during Communion

Wisdom Spirituality looks to nature for evidence of God’s presence and guidance in our lives. “Consider the birds of the air,” Jesus preached. Psalm 84 says, “even the sparrow finds a home.” Wisdom Spirituality is valuable because it is the nature of creation to worship its Creator, and that includes us: It is our nature to worship.

For this reason Psalm 84 says, “Happy are those who live in God’s house,” and “It is better to be a doorkeeper at God’s house than a homeowner among sinners.” Thanks to Jesus, we have an opportunity to be more than a doorkeeper. Jesus invites us not just to pray outside the sanctuary, but to enter in, to rest a while, and to worship God up close.

The book of Hebrews is really more of a sermon. It’s about how Jesus is the new, great, and final high priest over God’s household, and thus it essentially about worship. It contrasts two eras, which it calls “days”: The day of Christ’s priestly ministry, and the day of Christ’s rest.

The day of Christ’s priestly ministry began in his lifetime, was marked by his death, but continues among us as “the priesthood of all believers.” The day of Christ’s rest, when his priestly ministry ceases, has yet to arrive.

To symbolize all this, Hebrews refers to the curtain in the Temple which separated the high priest from the worshippers. This curtain was ripped in half at Christ’s death, allowing us to enter into the sanctuary and creating the priesthood of all believers.

Such exceptional opportunities humble us, so Hebrews urges us to, “approach the sanctuary with a true heart,” not one falsified by ego-posturing. Hebrews urges us to a “full assurance of faith” in Christ’s work, washing us clean, because “he who has promised is faithful.”

Our eligibility, or qualifications, or the necessity of our earning or deserving access to God doesn’t depend on us. We have only to enter. “The cover” collected at the door has been paid. We just present the invitation by Christ and the door opens.

This is the perspective we are to have when we gather for worship week after week. It’s helpful to meet regularly to encourage one another, Hebrews says, because we can become discouraged or neglectful.

But we also need to continue in worship together because a day is approaching when the ministry of Christ will cease, when we will no longer need his prayers and the world will no longer need his priesthood or ours. There will come a day, Hebrews says, when God’s covenant will be written on our hearts and minds, and we will no longer need a mediator because we will be one with God.

Until that day, God has given us two reminders: The Sabbath and worship. It is appropriate to combine Sabbath and worship, but it’s important not to confuse them. But they may also be separated, as is necessary for those of us for whom worship is also our profession.

What does it look like to rest on the Sabbath and to give thanks in worship each week? A week has 168 hours. If you have a 50 hour work week that is 30% of your week. If you enjoy 8 hours of sleep each day that is 33% of your week. If you spend 2 hours watching a screen every day it is 8% of your week.

One Sabbath day is 14% of our week. And spending 2 hours in worship is another 1%. How does God make the most of that 14-15 percent?

Psalm 84 helps us to know. They were on a pilgrimage to Zion to worship God, and they were 100% into their worship. The song leader says things like, “How lovely is your dwelling place,” and “My soul longs and even faints for your presence.” When the author says “A day in God’s presence is better than 1000 elsewhere,” he’s saying that God’s presence is 99.9% better than anywhere else you’d like to be.

Psalm 84 exemplifies that we can make a decision to be 100% in regarding worship and regarding Sabbath. It’s a choice; it’s an attitude. And when we give 100% of ourselves to God in Sabbath and worship, God uses that 14-15% to sanctify the rest of our week. That’s a 7:1 return, and it’s guaranteed because the one who promised is faithful.

This is what Jesus made possible to those who respond to the invitation. Give God 100% of yourself for 14-15% of your week in Sabbath and worship, and discover God’s presence and activity through 100% of your week. This is how the exuberance for God in Psalm 84 is available to us. This is why it says, “Happy are those who live in God’s house.”

Think about this the next time you receive Holy Communion. Hebrews says the access to God’s sanctuary is through, “the new and living way opened to us by Christ.” It is new and living because the old way of animal sacrifice is over. It is now a living sacrifice because it is the resurrected Christ who invites us. It is now a living sacrifice because it is we offering ourselves as Christ did—by loving God and loving our neighbors.

When we come to the Table, Christ invites us to remember and to be fed, to receive his priestly ministry and to join his priestly ministry. Christ invites us to receive him 100% in this act of worship, even as we offer ourselves 100%. And by God’s blessing, the divine presence we receive in this hour will accompany us through the rest of the week.

 

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