총 게시물 636건, 최근 0 건

Our worship should be lifted up

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2019-12-09 (월) 10:01 조회 : 70
설교일 : 2019.12.08
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
본문말씀 : Malachi 1:6-14

December 8, 2019

 

Our worship should be lifted up

Malachi 1:6-14

 

Rev. Eungyong Kim’s sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

What can bring happiness to our lives? Is it the material wealth, good job or business, children, or a new house? Every now and then, we think that our life will be made beautiful by external conditions and will try our best to acquire them.

 

But is our happiness solely dependent on the external conditions? Quite the opposite is true. A beautiful life is possible when the internal conditions are met.

 

What does the Bible say about our happiness? The Bible says the answer is found in our worship. When our worship is lifted up, our lives will be filled with happiness.

 

The book of Malachi tells us about this more in detail.

 

The background of today’s passage was that at around 5th century B.C., the lives of the Israelites were miserable, after they had returned to the land of Canaan from their captivity in Babylon. Zerubbabel had rebuilt the temple and tried to revive their zeal, but the people lived miserably, because they were still under the Persian rule with heavy taxes levied upon them, and there was continuing famine.

 

Under these circumstances, the Israelites began to have questions about God. Does He really exist? Does He really love Israel? Is He really Almighty? They were wondering if their worship to God made any sense.

 

Having questions about their God, their worship was certainly lukewarm and half-hearted.

 

The circumstances described in the book of Malachi were not really unique. How about our situations? How about our worship?

 

When I was growing up in Korea, there were glorious worship services, where so many people gathered to experience the grace of God. And they gathered for the Revival at their own church and then at other neighboring churches. There was glory in the worship.

 

Now, things are different and our worship has become different. Most of the Christians today think that it is sufficient for them to attend the Sunday services only, coming to church once a week only. And attending the worship services is not their first priority for them.

 

Malachi is giving us warnings for the worse things to come. The collapse of the worship for the Israelites brought the collapse of their lives. The Israelite men began to desert their wives whom they had married long time ago and chose to marry the foreign young women.

 

The important message of Malachi is that the collapse of their worship brought the collapse of their lives and now the Israelites are in worse shape spiritually than the foreigners.

 

How about us? How is our worship? Is our worship so full of life that it uplifts our life? Or is our worship a powerless and lifeless ceremony?

 

Let us think about this question about our worship, while meditating upon today’s passage in Malachi.

 

 

1. “Where is the honor due me?”

 

God was asking this question to the Israelites; “If I am a father, where is the honor due me?”(verse 6)

 

Why was God asking this question? It was because God disapproved of the way the Israelites worshiped. The worship should have included the honor due to God, but the way they worshiped God lacked the honor.

 

But the Israelites didn’t understand what God was saying to them and asked Him, “How have we shown contempt for your name?” They thought they had honored Him sufficiently by observing the Sabbath and by their tithing.

 

God was not talking about those things. He was asking about the hearts of the Israelites and the hearts of the worshipers.

 

There are two types of people; The accommodating people and the obedient people.

 

The accommodating people will accommodate themselves to the external rules, whether they like them or not. They obey the commands of their parents and are polite to the elders. They attend the Sunday services regularly and give generous offerings. They don’t pick fights with others and always act properly.

 

The obedient people are different. The obedient people will submit themselves to God’s will of their own accord. Their relationship with God is not superficial, and they pay attention to Him as their master every moment of their lives. Consequently, they are very obedient to Him.

 

Between these two types of people, which one does God think is honoring Him?

My parents always instructed these things to me; Never miss the Sunday services, wear clean clothes to church, never be late for the worship service, never forget your offerings. But these instructions helped me become an accommodating person, not a real Christian.

 

I became a real Christian, when I realized that my parents were truly obedient to God and following His commands willingly.

 

When I was first commissioned for my ministry, my parents suggested to me to go to Tres Dias Retreat with them. But being a Seminary graduate, I thought I didn’t need it and refused to go. My mother kept insisting that I should go, especially because the fee had been paid already. I ended up going to the retreat. On the second day there, there was the ceremony for washing of the feet, and I saw in the dimly lit room that my father was washing the feet of others and crying. That made me cry, as I realized how he loved God.

 

God asked the Israelites, “Where is the honor due me?” Isn’t God asking the same question to us? God is asking us if we have the honor for God in our hearts when we go through the worship service for Him.

 

I want to urge you to uplift your worship by honoring God.

You show the honor for God by your attitude of cherishing God above everything else in the world. This is the true worship; God tells us through the book of Malachi.

 

Why is God talking about the honor for Him?

He knows that we will be restored by the worship honoring Him and our lives will be changed by that worship. God only talks to those who honor Him and only those who feel the heart of God can follow Him obediently.

 

How are you worshiping God? Are you honoring Him in your worship? Are you just accommodating Him in your worship? Or are you obeying Him in your worship?

 

 

2.  Bringing blind animals for sacrifice

 

The second thing God said to the Israelites about their worship was that He was not happy with the blind animals they had brought for sacrifice.

 

Why was God not happy with their blind animals for sacrifice?

 

Leviticus 22:19-20 

“You must present a male without defect from cattle, sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf. Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf.”

 

There is a standard for sacrifice that God accepts and it has to be ‘perfect’ without defect. Why does God accept only perfect sacrifice? God wants to redeem the Israelites from their sins by sacrificing the perfect animals on their behalf. God wants the ‘perfect’ sacrifice not for Himself, but for the sake of the Israelites.

 

The real secret of God’s request is that God wanted the Israelites to be purified by their effort to bring the perfect sacrifice to God and to be reflective of their own lives to see if they had been perfect.

 

But, according to the book of Malachi, the Israelites brought blind, crippled or diseased animals to sacrifice to God. They went through the formalities of worship, but offered imperfect and blemished animals to sacrifice.

 

God called these offerings as ‘blind sacrifice’. Whose eyes were blind? God didn’t mean the animals were blind, but the people were blind when they brought such blemished animals to sacrifice to God. They tried to cheat God, but they only blinded themselves.

 

Their ‘blind sacrifice’ means that they didn’t pay attention to God’s eyes and didn’t look up to God.

 

The living worship does not mean having a wonderful sanctuary, good sermons or great singing of hymns. When all the congregation are aware of God’s presence and looking up to Him, it is a living worship. And that is the purpose of a true worship.

 

In Rev. Yong-Jo Ha’s book, ‘The Apostolic Church based on the Acts’, I came across an amazing scene. He wrote about his experience of the amazing worship he had witnessed while studying in England. It was filled with praise and worship for the Lord. He saw that those present were experiencing the presence of God, repenting their sins and breaking down. When he returned to Korea, Rev. Ha offered the same worship service to his church, the ‘On-nuri’ Church, and sang the praise songs for 1 and a half hours with his congregation, feeling the grace of God present among them. And he completed the worship with his benediction only, without delivering his usual sermon.

 

What impressed me the most was that no one in the congregation complained about this new kind of worship service. Why was there no sermon? Why was there no formality in the worship service?

 

Since then, many churches in Korea have followed the example of the ‘On-Nuri’ Church and adopted this kind of praise and worship service, so that the congregation can joyfully experience the presence of God among them.

 

How can they be so joyful? It is because they are focusing on God and looking toward Him only.

 

My dear congregation, I want you to focus on God during this worship and look toward Him for the next 6 days and then come and see Him again next Sunday. This is the power of a true worship.

 

 

3.  Who would shut the temple door?

 

What God said to the Israelites about their worship in the book of Malachi was really shocking; God asked first where the honor for Him was in their worship and then told them not to bring blind and blemished offerings to Him, as they had forgotten the true essence of their worship.

 

The third thing God said to them was; “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar!”

 

God wants to have someone shut the temple doors, what a shocking statement!

How difficult it had been for the Israelites to rebuild the temple, after they returned from their captivity! Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah and countless others worked so hard to complete the temple!

 

Now, God wants to have someone shut the door of the temple. What is the reason for this?

 

What kind of place is God’s temple? It is the place for God to be present for our worship and meet us to have fellowship with His worshipers. How can we meet God during our worship?

 

The unholy and sinful sinners like us are allowed to meet the holy and righteous God during our worship. A true worship will help us reflect upon our unholy lives and sinful ways during the worship.

 

< I had been blessed to get to know a great professor at the Seminary, and every time I was at his door, I checked myself a few times before knocking on it. I couldn’t help making sure my clothing, my looks and my life were in order, before presenting myself to the professor. >

 

It is the same with our worship.

The most powerful thing our worship does to us is helping us reflect upon our lives and our sinful ways, before God. After reflections, we seek for the mercy of God to forgive our sins. A true worship makes us feel that we have been bestowed with the grace of God.

 

But, in today’s passage, God wants to have someone shut the temple doors. What does it mean?

 

Isaiah 1:12-13

“When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations – I cannot bear your evil assemblies.”

 

God couldn’t accept their meaningless offerings. This means there were offerings God would accept, and God would not accept those offerings which were offered without any reflections or repentance.

 

According to today’s passage, the worship of the Israelites was so dead and meaningless that it could not revive their spirits, so God said that it would be better if the temple doors were shut, which meant the end of their worship. How hurt the heart of God must have been to say this?

 

Of course, God didn’t really want to shut the temple doors. And we know that. God was just seeking the true worshipers.

 

God is seeking not only those who are righteous and thankful for their wonderful lives, but also those whose lives have collapsed and who are asking for God’s forgiveness for their unrighteous lives. God is looking for these worshipers.

 

God is waiting for those, who are seeking the grace and mercy of God desperately, to come into the temple before Him. As no one among the Israelites worshiped with such a zeal and dedication in the book of Malachi, God said He would rather have someone shut the temple doors.

 

Then, in verse 11, God says:

“My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations.”

 

What does God mean by ‘my name will be great among the nations’?

He means that there will be great many people among the nations who are the true worshipers of God.

 

God is seeking the true worshipers always.

Who are those worshipers that God is seeking?

I hope and pray that the members of the Korean United Methodist Church are those true worshipers of God. 

 

 


   

총 게시물 636건, 최근 0 건
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632 2020.02.02  God is seeking for His people 1 Samuel 2:27-36 Rev. Eungyong Kim
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630 2020.01.26  Hannah's God, my God 1 Samuel 2:1-11 Rev. Eungyong Kim
629 2020.01.26  한나의 하나님, 나의 하나님 사무엘상 2:1-11 김응용 목사
628 2020.01.19  The LORD remembered her 1 Samuel 1:19-28 Rev. Eungyong Kim
627 2020.01.19  여호와께서 그를 생각하신지라 사무엘상 1:19-28 김응용 목사
626 2020.01.12  When you can tell the fake prosperity from the genuine one, your life will… 1 Samuel 1:9-18 Rev. Eungyong Kim
625 2020.01.12  가짜 풍년과 진짜 풍년을 알아야 인생이 달라 집니다. 사무엘상 1:9-18 김응용 목사
624 2020.01.05  Understanding Peninnah will end tribulation 1 Samuel 1:1-8 Rev. Eungyong Kim
623 2020.01.05  브닌나를 알아야 흉년이 풀립니다. 사무엘상 1:1-8 김응용 목사
622 2019.12.29  The Blessed Life Psalms 1:1-6 Rev. Eungyong Kim
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : The work of God
설교일 : 2020.02.16
본문말씀 : 1 Samuel 3:10-21
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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