Summary: Helping the audience to develop a sound theology of worship by identifying some of the necessary elements of worship

1. Title: Essentials of Worship

2. Text: (several)

3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd., October 1, 2006, First in the series on worship “Stand in Awe”

4. Objectives:

-for the people to understand what constitutes an “essential” in worship; to understand why the essentials of worship matter so much

-for the people to feel glad to worship God and Him only; feel strongly that the body of biblical doctrine regarding worship is very important

-for the people to regard worship as a privilege and a vital part of our relationship with Jesus; review in their heads what is the object, system of belief, and resulting lifestyle that accompanies their worship life; make changes in their lives where they don’t accurately reflect their worship

5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to have a more biblical understanding of worship and a greater conviction that results in life change that they need to be in continual awe of God

6. Type: topical

7. Dominant Thought: Worship of God consists of a few essential elements

8. Outline:

Intro: In essentials unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity.

How many of you recognize that saying? In Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, you may often find or hear it. Some say it was first coined by St. Augustine. It’s one of a few “slogans” that were repeated early on in what’s known as “The Restoration Movement.” We don’t have “creeds,” so we have slogans. In fact, one of those slogans is, “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no name but Christian.” I’m helped by those creeds, I mean, slogans. Those sayings remind us of the great ideas from which this church grew. They help us because they simply point to Bible truth and insist that we keep the truth of the Bible ahead of all human ideas, rather than treating them as important as the Bible itself. They’re valuable because they remind us of the mistakes of the past and encourage us to live wisely in the future.

In essentials unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity. Can you amen the idea behind that? So, what’s an essential? Before we can get very far with this, we have to be able to answer that.

Identifying essentials has become a great challenge over the centuries. In fact, some even balk at the idea that there is such a thing as a non-essential. But, let me be quick to point out there are some non-essentials in the Lords’ Church – all of them our own creation. You know what they are, but sometimes someone needs to get up and remind us – they’re the things that churches sometimes decide to split over – things in the realm of opinion – things that the Bible doesn’t even address – things that we must keep in the realm of opinion – things like whether we should serve a big breakfast, a small breakfast or serve no breakfast at all in the fellowship hall or whether we should have a fellowship hall, and whether we should call it a fellowship hall, the gym, the family life center, or something else. They’re the things like the color of walls and carpets, and pew pads.

You have an opinion about some of these things. That’s great. So do most other people. But we have to make sure that we hold those opinions and share those opinions with an attitude of love and a view toward unity. They’re non-essentials. They’re things that God doesn’t even talk about in the word because, frankly, God doesn’t care about them! He’s all caught up in other stuff like saving people from hell forever and things like that! The moment we start to make preferences an issue between people is the moment that we’ve dropped this very good idea. In matters of opinion we should cut one another slack and not make non-essentials important. If we’re going to argue, if we’re going to throw lots of emotion into something, then let’s do that over something that matters – like the authority of the Bible or the deity of Jesus or the fact of the resurrection or the plan of salvation or something else. Please, contend for those things! But let’s not let Satan direct our concerns to things that are about as important as whether you use sugar or the pink, blue, or yellow sweetener in your tea! I don’t care what kind of sweetener you use. Just make sure you use enough sweetener to make sure that you’re real sweet, OK?! This life’s too short to devote much of it to things that don’t matter.

In essentials unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity.

So, here we are this morning, introducing a new series on worship, and we’ve done something different – we’ve deliberately not used music this morning. Last Sunday, just by coincidence, we had no video – first time in years - but we still managed to worship together. This morning, we’re finding out that worship can also take place even if there’s no music. One of the ways we can identify what we have to have and don’t have to have in order to worship is to remove elements. But that’s not the point this morning – to prove everything we don’t need. The point is to refocus us on the things that really do matter – the things that are essential to worship – and not just here on Sunday mornings, but then the rest of the week as we worship on our own and together in smaller groups. What is essential to worship?

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