Pastor Kirk

Reflections from a spiritual pilgrim in Toledo, Ohio

Purpose

Awesome God: Who We Worship, 9 September 2012

Big Idea: We worship and seek to glorify an awesome God.

What does glorified mean?

It means to make glorious!
To make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration
To light up brilliantly
To give glory to, as in worship

That’s the bottom line of why Scio exists...and why you were created.

It has been often said that we live in a consumeristic culture. Thousands of messages bombard us every day telling that it’s all about us. Have it your way. You deserve a break today. Obey your thirst. Part of human nature is to glorify or worship ourselves rather than God.

Have you ever heard of the Ten Commandments? What are they?

We usually think first of don’t steal, kill, or lie. Those are important, but the first ones are most important.

“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:3-11)

  1. No other Gods
  2. No idols
  3. Do not misuse the name of the LORD
  4. Take a Sabbath to the LORD your God

These are not suggestions, but commands. These are more important than no adultery or coveting. The Ten Commandments begin with God. He wants to be LORD, King, Master.

Why? Because He is insecure? He has an ego problem? He is arrogant? No, because He is God! He deserves it! As we sang earlier, He is the Creator of all things. He Created the game, He can set the rules! Even better, He initiated this thing we call life and humanity and the universe and He loves it! He wants it to thrive! He saved His best for last when it all began.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

In 1647, a gathering of English and Scottish theological writers set out to summarize the Bible in order to train people in the faith. For hundreds of years it has been used in countless churches. The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with a question:

What is the chief end of man?

Why am I here? What is my purpose? What meaning is there in life? The answer follows...

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

I love this statement because it provides two responses. The first is that we were created to glorify God. That is the purpose of this series. That is why Scio exists. That is why you exist! It is to glorify, honor, bless, love, serve, obey, recognize, follow God.

There is a real danger, though, in being told, “glorify God.”

Kids, have you ever asked your parents “why?” only to be told, “Because I said so!”?

The fifth commandment is to obey mom and dad, but sometimes we naturally want more incentive than “just do it.”

In two weeks, we’re going to focus on the why of worship. Today I want to show you one simple thing about meaning and purpose in life: it’s about God.

Not long ago I mentioned John Piper’s definition of a Christian hedonist:

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

How can we be satisfied in God? It begins with meditating on who He is.

I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. (Psalm 145:1-12)

Going back to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, we were created to glorify God...and to enjoy Him forever.

The more we know Jesus Christ, the more we not only learn of the command to love Him, the more we want to love Him. The more we understand His love, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, His hope, His joy, the more we naturally want to love Him, know Him, obey Him, and enjoy Him...forever!

Piper adds

We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure—pleasure in him. By Christian Hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. We mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. We should pursue this happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy you cannot love man or please God.

We serve a truly awesome God. He spoke or possibly sang into existence the galaxies, the fish, the platypus, and humanity. The more we see how great God is, the more it puts into perspective our lives, our hopes, and our challenges.

This week I was reminded of this yet again. We received one of those dreaded late-night phone calls that said that one of our children was being taken to the ER. Panic set in. Fear gripped. Our first tangible action was prayer, not simply because we wanted to fire off an SOS to God—though we did—but also to be reminded that God is good, He is faithful, He is trustworthy, He is all-powerful, He is the definition of love, He is sovereign and in control, He is all-knowing and wise, He is an ever-present help in times of trouble, He is great and mighty, ...and somehow what seems so difficult and overwhelming to us seems downright manageable to Him!

A few days later I was meeting with a group of college students and one walked in, visibly stressed, and on the verge of despair. He said unless a miracle took place within a few hours, he would be unable to continue his education. His was a big deal! People were kindly giving advice, but it was obvious that no action on his part would solve the issue. We prayed, and a few hours later I received a phone call that a miracle had, indeed, occurred and that he would be able to stay in school.

Sometimes God answers prayer in the manner in which we want, but not always. In the case of our child, we’re still uncertain as to the ultimate outcome. To be honest, I worry and fear, and then I am reminded that though those are natural temptations, it is in. Worry says I don’t trust that God is able. It often means I have forgotten Him or who He truly is, an awesome God who is worthy of praise and worship and glory—not because of what He does, but because of who He is. Circumstances don’t change God, nor do they change His worth.

Conclusion

Our God is awesome. People use that word flippantly—that car is awesome, the Detroit Lions are awesome, that hamburger is awesome. I rarely use the word for anything but God. He awes me. He amazes me. His character and love and power and understanding and presence have no end. He is worth my time and talents and treasures. He deserves my devotion and love and obedience, just because of Who He is. The more I keep my eyes and ears and heart focused on Him, the more peace and joy and hope and purpose I inevitably experience as my attitude, priorities, and heart shift to the One who initiated it all...in the beginning. He is my pleasure. He is my treasure.

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