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[This was a sermon I gave to the youth group at my local church when serving there as a youth leader. It was about 25 minutes and was focused on helping students understand worship in a series that paralleled our church’s series at the time. This was apart of a series on life with God that we did as a youth ministry, which again was similar to our church’s same series.]
Throughout this series, we have been exploring what it means to have life with God. Andrew and David talked about our identity in God, Dan talked last week about walking with God, and today we will talk about what it means to worship God in the Spirit. To worship in the Spirit is a combination of three things: obedience, reverence, and wonder.
But why should we worship God in the first place? Pastor A.W. Tozer puts it this way,
“We are born to worship, and if we are not worshiping God in the beauty of His holiness, we have missed the reason for being born. Worship is a delightful, awesome, humbling, wonderful experience, which we can have in varying degrees, but if you have all those, you can live in the middle of it (2).”
Basically, worship is ingrained in our DNA. It’s just part of who we are as humans. As people who bear the image of God and represent Him here on Earth, we were made to worship. Think of it this way: true worship is a lifelong thank you to God. Or better yet, worship is the expression of love itself.
Just like two people in a relationship, they obviously love each other. But their actions and words validate their love for each other. As Voddie Baucham puts it, “love is an act of the will.” Love is proven by our worship. What we worship reveals what we actually love.
One way or another, we all worship something. Some people worship money, while others worship their sexuality. Bottom line: everyone worships something or someone.
Now worship in the Spirit is not some mystical force that compels us to do crazy or weird stuff. To worship in the Spirit is to honor God by the power of the Holy Spirit. The personal Holy Spirit gives us the ability to worship God in the first place. He guides us through the three main ways we worship God: obedience, reverence, and wonder. Let’s start with the first reason: obedience.
We can worship God with our obedience. This can be anything from obeying our parents to obeying our teachers at school. It even means obeying the law and rules given by our government. Romans 13:1b says that “there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Our obedience is one way to worship God by loving those who have authority in our lives.
David and Paul Watson write that “it appears that God spells love o-b-e-y (3).” To obey the authority around us is to demonstrate how much we actually love God. We worship with obedience because God is king.
One more way we can worship God is with reverence. The word reverence is just another way of saying admiration or respect. We can worship God by admiring or respecting Him because He is goodness personified. Asaph, a worship leader during the reign of King David once said “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works (4).” Whether it is in the beauty of Creation or the joys of friendship, every work of God is good because He is good.
Just by the fact that God sent Jesus to die on the cross for us is enough reason to respect Him. God’s grace leads to our gratitude. God is worthy of our worship because He is good. He is perfect and He is love. To worship in the Spirit is to constantly admire what God has done for us and who He is on a personal level. We worship with reverence because God is good.
Finally, the third way that we can worship God in the Spirit is with wonder. Why with wonder? Because God is mysterious. If we knew everything about God, then He wouldn’t be God. In the book of Isaiah we read “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts (5).” God is worthy of worship because He is greater than us.
One way that God is greater than us, but is also mysterious would be His triune nature. What is God’s triune nature? It is the fact that God is one being, but three persons. [In my sermon journal I wrote “volunteer joke” right after this section, but I literally don’t remember what that joke was about. If anything, the joke was strategically placed to break the tension and refocus the students on the principle that I’m trying to teach, which is the doctrine of the Trinity. Humor is always a great tool to help others learn.]
What does that mean? I don’t know! But that’s the point. Because I don’t know how that all works, I can have full confidence that this must be God. Joe Rigney wrote that the “Trinity is the heart of the Christian religion, the great mystery that makes all other mysteries understandable (6).” In other words, I cannot explain to you how light actually works. But I can show you how light changes everything in sight. We worship with wonder because God is mysterious.
To wrap up, worship in the Spirit is the combination of obedience, reverence, and wonder. We obey God’s authority, revere God’s goodness, and wonder at God’s mysterious nature. True worship is made up of all three of these things. Let’s pray.
This sermon I think was a big improvement overall compared to my last two sermons. Those being Created In Christ: Three I’s in the Pursuit of You and The Armor of God message, which was 10 days before this one. The biggest improvements being the rehearsal process and a refined structure, plus the fact that I used a sermon journal.
It was my first time translating a message to a different audience, yet I think it went well. By simplifying my process, I think the main idea came across clearer than previous sermons. On a side note, I remember loving the prep and research for this message too. A solid sermon and it was really fun to share this one with the youth group. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.
- The Purpose of Man: Designed To Worship, P. 118
- Contagious Disciple Making, P. 45
- Psalm 73:28
- Isaiah 55:8-9
- The Things of Earth (P. 35)
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