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Love Wins - Part 5, Why We Worship
Marcus Preciado - March 20, 2016

Message Recap

In the current series, we are learning about love: 

  1. Love is the heart of God.
  2. To love God is to imitate the heart of God.
  3. To love others is to encourage them to imitate the heart of God.

As we continue with our Love Wins series, today Pastor Marcus spoke about why we worship. 

Just as we are physical beings who need food as nourishment, we are also spiritual beings who need to worship. Throughout the ages there have been many gods worshiped throughout humankind. Some of them may look very odd to us now, but in our culture today we have some "gods" of our own that may go easily unnoticed. Pastor Marcus gave an example of a March Madness bracket and called it “Bracketus,” a god that makes many people do crazy things in the spring!

The little gods we worship can do things for us. They can make us happy, let us have fun, and satisfy some need or desire we have. At least for a little while. But they won’t save us.

To set the scene for today’s scripture from John 12, Pastor Marcus reminded us of the story of the Passover from the book of Exodus. Before the first Passover, the Israelites had been in slavery in Egypt for about 400 years and after God’s people cried out for a deliverer for so long, God sent them Moses. Moses was God’s spokesperson to Pharaoh on the Israelites behalf and conveyed the message that God wanted His people released. When Pharaoh refused again and again, God sent plague after plague to show His power. Pharaoh contended that his magicians could do these same types of things, but finally God had enough and showed He would do something no little god could do - save His people. 

The little gods we worship can do things for us. They can make us happy, let us have fun, and satisfy some need or desire we have. At least for a little while. But they won’t save us.

God announced that in His final plague, every firstborn in Egypt would die, but Pharaoh did not relent. God instructed His people to get a perfect, spotless male lamb and kill it (this is a picture of Jesus!) and that the lamb’s blood should be put upon their doorposts. When the Angel of Death came that night, all the firstborn in Egypt were killed, but the Angel of Death passed over the houses of God’s people and they were spared. 

Now in John 12, 1,300 years after the first Passover, millions of people would be coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and Jesus enters the city to become the Passover Lamb for all who would believe.

1. We worship God because we are wired.

We all have an innate need to worship and we will worship something: either God, idols, or ourselves. In America today, we may worship money, sex, drugs, fame, sports, achievements, shopping, and the list goes on. But we have a void in our hearts and if we don’t fill that void with the one true God, it can never be filled. 

2. We worship God even if it’s weird. (John 12:1-3)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  John 12:1-3

This display of gratitude was quite a site for those present. The nard was an extravagant and expensive perfume worth about one year’s wages. And she lets down her hair to wash Jesus’ feet, which in this culture was bold because only a woman’s husband was supposed to see her hair down. Why does she give such an extravagant display?

Remember that shortly before this, Mary’s brother Lazarus was dead and Jesus called him out of the tomb! Mary doesn’t care what anyone is thinking. She is overcome by what Jesus has done for her and her family. 

If you are new to worship in church, it may feel odd to see people moving around, singing aloud, and even lifting their hands in praise. But once you realize what God has done for you, you don’t care what people think when you worship. It’s appropriate to be excited and joyful about the miraculous love of our God, who still does radical miracles!

3. We worship God because He is worthy. (John 12:4-6)

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,  “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. John 12:4-6

Judas didn't like that Mary was “wasting” the nard on Jesus because of it's monetary worth (equivalent to about $55,000 in today’s value). But Judas was in a spot where he couldn’t see the value of worshiping God.

The next day as Jesus prepares to enter Jerusalem for the Passover, the city is buzzing with crowds and excitement. People have heard of Jesus’ miracles and are excited to see Him. They take palm branches and go down to meet Him as He enters the city. 

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13

Most of them were worshiping for the wrong reason. They wanted to see what God was going to do for them, expecting a political leader who could free them from Roman oppression. But He is worthy of praise just for who He is, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 

Some of us may be worshiping for the wrong reasons, even our own self-gratification. Maybe you don’t like this worship leader or this particular song. Maybe you walk away if you see that Pastor Miles isn’t at the pulpit, but God deserves our worship no matter who is leading or what song is playing. We worship Him because He is God, not because of what He can do for us or what we like.

When Jesus first called Matthew the tax collector, Matthew was far from perfect. He was a known sinner, a tax collector whose reputation by virtue of his profession was to skim money off the top of the taxes he collected. But when Jesus called him, he went immediately and left everything behind. 

Jesus is calling all of us today to follow Him. He knows that you aren’t perfect and that you may have blocks to your faith. Maybe you have things in your life that you feel need to be fixed or given up before you can be a believer, but that isn’t true. You can follow Him today, imperfect and broken. Somewhere along the way, Matthew changed and found he was really a believer, and you can too. 

Today God is asking you to take a step closer, realize what He has done for you and what He is offering you - salvation and eternal life. Don’t let ANYTHING keep you from following the King of kings!

Love Wins

This 7-part series examines what love is and how we can learn to express God’s love through our relationships. In Part 5, Pastor Marcus examines different Biblical events to take a deeper look at the true meaning of worship.

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