Last week we started with a new series on Liturgy and we looked at Sacrifice – The Act of worship.
We read through the book of Romans chapter 12 where Paul is appealing to the church in Rome by the mercies of God to offer themselves as a living Sacrifice.
Sacrifice in the new testament is the act of worship where we offer ourselves, our bodies our minds into total submission to God and to one another not because we have to but because we want to.
In Romans 5:8 Paul writes “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood.
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
We firstly gather around the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And our response to that Sacrifice is our offerings in the form of Singing, confession and giving.
We don’t sing, confess and give out of religious duty.
Very often it is possible for us to look at these offerings as some kind of favor we do to God or as an obligation.
Remember the rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked what he should do to inherit eternal life. From the outside he seemed to be a great guy, was obedient to the scriptures, lived a righteous life, had a good reputation in the society, but Jesus reveals the condition of his heart, his heart was set on the worldly treasures.
Yes, Is it possible for a Christian to do all the rights things and bring the right offerings to God and yet have his heart set on the world and the things of this world?
The rich man’s acts of righteousness was done as a duty. In fact, His treasures and possessions were the center of his life. He just couldn’t imagine a life without his wealth and possessions and walked way depressed. He failed to recognize that everything belonged to God, that everything comes from God.
In Acts 17:24-25 the author writes
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
First and foremost we have to recognize that it is because of His mercies that we are what we are, it is because of His mercies we have what we have. Everything in our life works for good because we love him and treasure him more than anything else.
Therefore, our singing, confession and giving is a response to his great love and mercy.
Now, some may ask if everything belongs to God than what does he need from us.
The answer can be found in
v14 – offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
v15 – call upon me in the day of trouble
The 3 things God desires from us is
- Dependence on Him
Without these 3 our singing is meaningless, our confession is waste of time and our giving is worthless.
So, let’s fix our hearts in the right place as we now look into each of these elements in Liturgy.
Why do we sing?
We sing because the scripture says so
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Paul tells us that worshiping God together in song is meant to deepen the relationships we enjoy through the gospel. This happens in 3 ways.
1. Singing helps us remember Gods word.
Paul says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly…singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”
Last week in our community group we talked about how we can find ways to get rid of guilt when we sin and learn to live as the adopted children of God. One of the ways we talked about was to constantly remind ourselves the word of God.
Singing, especially is an excellent way to remind ourselves of truths from Gods word.
I remember a few months I kept playing and singing a song called “Father, you are my father” the whole day because I was low and discouraged with something that happened, reminding myself of the Father’s love for me. It took away my sorrow and filled my heart with joy and hope.
That’s what happens and should happen even when we gather on a Sunday morning to sing and celebrate. Reminding ourselves the word of God.
2. Singing helps us respond to Gods grace
We’re also told to sing with “thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Our wholehearted singing demands a response.
God gave us singing to combine objective truth with thankfulness, doctrine with devotion, and intellect with emotion.
3. Singing helps us reflect on Gods glory
Doing “everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,” implies bringing God glory.
Worshiping God together in song glorifies God. It expresses the unity Christ died to bring us.
It anticipates the song of heaven when we’ll have unlimited time to sing, clearer minds to perceive God’s perfections, and glorified bodies that don’t grow weary.
Singing is not about giving preferences to particular kind of music or a particular worship band. It is about glorifying God.
In our community group one other solution we talked about in dealing with guilt was to be able to confess our sins to one another.
Most of the time when we fall into sin we often think we can deal with it on our own without telling anybody, which is very dangerous place to be in. We allow the guilt to ruin our days and weeks until we find a solution on our own by sometimes moving to a quieter place, until we hear a preacher on the television who speaks words of encouragement etc.
Dealing with sin and guilt on our own is a very unhealthy and dangerous practise. Many have ruined their lives.
The healthy way to deal with it is to use the provision God has given us and that is to confess with one another.
James chapter 5:16 says
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
When we confess to one another we allow others to speak and remind us of Gods word, his love, our identity and lead us into devotion completely setting us free from guilt and shame and enable us to live a life of freedom and joy.
You don’t have to ruin even a single day with a guilt ridden, unproductive and unhappy mentality.
For Christians, confession of sin, ultimately, is application of the gospel.
James chapter 5 calls Gods people to a corporate confession.
Confession of sin in the presence of others is applying and celebrating the gospel, together.
Confession is part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. And that is why we Confess.
We give because Jesus said so. In Matthew 6:2 he said
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
We give because the early church gave and set aside a sum of money for missions work.
1 Cor 16:2
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
Proverbs 3:9 ‘Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops’.
Proverbs 14:31 ‘Whoever is kind to the needy honours God’
Motives For Giving
1) TO BLESS GOD:- 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, ‘Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ so we primarily give to bless and bring glory to God
2) TO BLESS THOSE AROUND US :- Because Jesus said in Acts 20:32 ‘It is more blessed to give than receive’.
3) TO BE BLESSED OURSELVES :- Not for selfish reasons but to be in an even better position to give even more into the work of God. In 2 Corinthians 9:11, Paul exhorts the generous brothers at Macedonia that, ‘You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion’.