Worship and idolatry

tss-well-done.jpgSunday morning, Rick Gamache delivered an excellent sermon on worship in light of idolatry (Worship God!: The Heart of the Right Response; 10/28/07). His main text was Philippians 1:18-23 (esp. v. 21).

Here are a few scattered highlights from my notebook …

  • God does not make worshipers, each of us already worships. If we follow a trail of where we spend our time, money, energy and affection and we will be led to the throne of what we worship.
  • “Pleasure is the measure of our treasure” – Jon Bloom
  • Tragically here is what we often find enthroned: unworthy idols like money, status, reputation, career, promotions, relationships, children, s-ex, possessions, hobbies, books, leisure, education and even ourselves!
  • Evil is forsaking living water for broken cisterns; seeking to be satisfied in something or someone other than God Himself (Jer. 2:12-13).
  • Worship is not a Sunday thing, it’s a way of life.
  • God and idolatry are at war for our worship.
  • Our worship of God is intended to bring us pleasure! “For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant” (Ps. 147:1). God’s demand for our worship is a demand for us to be happy and to experience our greatest pleasures! If we are not worshiping God, it’s to our detriment.
  • The essence of worship is to find our deepest satisfaction in Jesus Christ alone — in this life, and even in the face of greatest loss and personal death (Phil. 1:18-23). We can be content in the loss of all things only if we treasure Christ above all else (Phil. 3:8). Further, to say that death is gain — because we long for greater intimacy with Christ — shows that Christ is the supreme object of our hearts. This is worship.
  • So if my circumstances never change, can I be satisfied? Even if my child continues in rebellion, my health never improves, I never get married, etc., can I be satisfied in Christ? (This is a question of worship).
  • God does not need our worship, nor does our worship add anything to Him (Acts 17:24-25).
  • Thinking that our worship gives God something He didn’t already possess is man-centered legalism that kills worship. We come to worship God to receive from Him. “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord” (Ps. 116:12-13). This lifting of the cup is a call for God to fill us (see also Heb. 11:6).
  • This worship is not man-centered, it’s radically God-centered. In Psalm 73, where did Asaph’s thinking radically shift from saying God has forgotten about His people (vv. 3-13) to where Asaph breaks out in praise of God’s sufficiency (vv. 25-26)? The change came when Asaph met God in worship (v. 17).
  • We need to recognize, like Asaph, that “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (v. 26). Our hearts are weak and frail and prone to idolatry.
  • In the end we need to pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit to see more of the glory of Christ. A prayer our Father gladly answers (John 16:14; Luke 11:13)!

These are only my scattered notes to whet your appetite for the whole sermon. You can download the mp3 or listen below. Excellent sermon worthy of your precious time!

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Related: Rick Gamache sermon jam (audio)

Related: Seeing the glories of the Cross requires a deeper understanding of God’s holiness and the depth of personal sin.

Related: Spiritual questions to ask your children

Related: Depression, Worldliness and the Presence of God (sermon on Psalm 73).

2 thoughts on “Worship and idolatry

  1. Christ-centered worship, preaching and Sunday services are sadly becoming a rarity in the U.S. God help us. I pray that is changing. Thanks for the great notes.

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