Pastor Darren Carrington, the Rock's Marriage & Family Pastor, opened today's message today by asking us to examine our worship of God. Is it real, authentic, and from the heart, or are we going through the motions, looking for what we can gain rather than what we can give?
In Luke 19:32, Jesus is about to make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, humbly riding on the colt of a donkey: So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, "Why are you loosing the colt?" And they said, "The Lord has need of him." Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. Luke 19:32-36
When Jesus asked the disciples to go and find the donkey for him to ride, they went immediately without question or argument. And when the owners of the donkey asked why the disciples were taking it, they gave the answer as Jesus instructed them, "The Lord has need of him." Immediately, they give the donkey.
Do we give to our Lord this way? If we truly worship Him, we freely give whatever He asks of us! But many times, we are out for ourselves above the Lord. Sure, Lord, I'll love whomever you ask me to, just so long as it's not that person I don't like. We can be what Pastor Darren termed, "Souplantation Christians" who only take what feels good to us, but not what causes sacrifice or discomfort.
There's a certain way we are supposed to worship Christ, but we can miss it. Sometimes Jesus' message and promises are right there in front of us, but we don't see them because we have other desires or perceptions of how we think things should be.
Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: "'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!' Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (v. 37-38)
Sometimes Jesus' message and promises are right there in front of us, but we don't see them because we have other desires or perceptions of how we think things should be.
The people greeting Jesus in this passage have their own ideas of who Jesus is. They believe He is a powerful military leader sent to wipe out all of those who have done them wrong. Instead, He comes on a donkey-a sign of peace-and they completely miss it. These people shouting, "Blessed is the King!" are the same people who end up shouting, "Crucify him!" when Jesus' actions do not match their expectations.
We must worship Jesus His way, willing to take what He brings us and give whatever He asks. Just think about what our worship would look like if we gave time, beauty, love, obedience, faith, money, talent, possessions-whatever and whenever He wanted!
Next, Rock U Pastor George Clerie shared with us Jesus' instructions for worship. How do we arrive at a condition of the heart in which worship is our first response rather than our last resort?
1) Don't miss the significance of who Jesus is.
Is Jesus significant enough in your life to worship Him?
In Luke 19: 41-44, Jesus rides into Jerusalem, He looking out in sorrow and tears because He sees that His people there are not going to "get it." It breaks his heart that they are missing out entirely on who He is and why He has come. He isn't coming to conquer the Romans, but sin and death. He is not coming to make their earthly lives easier, but to give eternal life.
The very people Jesus has come to save do not understand the significance of who He is. The Creator of the universe allows them whom He created to abuse Him, mock Him, torture Him, and kill Him. And as He dies, He asks God, "Father, forgive them," because they just don't get it.
Do we get it? Do we get how extraordinary Jesus is? Are we awestruck by his patient, humble love? Do we understand that He walked on water, performed amazing healings by his words, cast out demons and raised the dead? Do we really understand that He spoke the world into being, conquered sin, has absolute reign, and gives everlasting promises?
Jesus is significant! When we are in a place of true worship to this amazing God, our prayers graduate to another level entirely. We don't seek for Him to simply make our lives a little better, to help us get better jobs, or to bring us a "holy hottie." Instead, we ask Jesus to bring His holiness into our hearts.
2) Don't get too much of the world into our lives.
Do you make the world and its material and temporary pleasures the most significant things in your life?
In verse 45, Jesus starts to "clean house" in the temple of Jerusalem, which has been overrun with merchants and materialism: Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, "It is written, 'My house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"
Jesus desires to clean house in our hearts as well, for we learn in 2 Corinthians 6:16, For you are the temple of the living God.
Don't let the world's stuff crowd out your heart, making it difficult to connect with God. This "stuff" may be impure relationships, materialism, greed, entertainment, too much busyness, unforgiveness, etc. God never intended us to live in guilt and shame, but in freedom and adoration. He loved us enough to die in order to clean it all away.
Do you need God some drive some of those thieves and robbers out and clean house today so that you can come and approach God in worship Him in spirit and in truth. Let Him in and see how your heart will change.