Waynedale United Methodist Church
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

May 20, 2018 Sermon

Worship Preparation”

Exodus 30:17 – 33

Ted Jansen May 20, 2082 Waynedale UMC

 

1.) How many of you follow the Komets? They are in the midst of the playoffs now. They hope to become the champions and win. All of the teams have the hopes and dreams of being named the champion. Teams prepare all year. The teams cannot experience victory, achievement and fulfillment without a high level commitment. A big part of that commitment involves being prepared. Preparation comes from a coach and players who agree on a consistent and disciplined teaching approach.

 

2.) What helps you get prepared for: a presentation at work, leading your football team, a music performance, a semester exam, a Bible study lesson, a sales call you will make? How do you get prepared for the important things in your life?

Perhaps you have a consistent and disciplined pattern, routine or focus that prepares you.

Apart of what helps me get prepared for preaching is to practice my message two times before I preach and pray in the sanctuary for each of you. That prepares me.

 

3.) God gave His word to Moses about the design for worship. From that design we see the desire of God. As God’s word from the Old Testament shows us it is important for preparation to be done before worship.

Worship wasn’t something that could be done as people desired or just making things up. No, worship was to be prepared for with a consistent and disciplined approach. Listen to this quote from the “Handbook of Bible Application,” (Page 661) about the OT plans for worship.

“A true worship experience is often a direct result of preparation for worship. Offerings had to be brought regularly and presented according to prescribed rituals under the priests’ supervision. Following these rituals took time, and this gave people the opportunity to prepare their heart for worship. Unless our heart is ready, worship is meaningless. In contrast, God is delighted, and we get more from it, when our heart is prepared to come before him in a spirit of thankfulness.”

We are exploring two practices from the Old Testament on instructions that were given by God in order to prepare for worship.

 

4.) The first practice we are looking at is that God wanted the priests to do was to wash their hands and feet as a way of preparing for worship. God wanted a basin made out of bronze to be built for that purpose. We read in Exodus 30: 20, 21 these words.

Whenever they enter the Tent of the Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also when they approach the altar to minister by presenting an offering made to the Lord by fire, they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die.”

They prepared by washing. If they didn’t they would die! That makes you realize that worship of God is important, really important.

Why was it important to have the priests wash? What was the meaning?

 

5.) When the priests were washing their hands and feet it was an act of purification. When they washed, they were cleaning the physical dirt from their hands and feet and they were getting pure and clean.

When they washed it was a symbolic way to clean the spiritual dirt, or uncleanness that they had. They were pure after they washed. The basin reminded them of their need for spiritual washing. The basin focused on their nee to become clean.

6.) We prepare for worship by an understanding that each of us is dirty spiritually and in need of forgiveness, cleansing, salvation, grace. We are sinners. We allow the water of God’s Spirit to be grace and love and make us pure, like we are washed. We can have the assurance of forgiveness through Christ.

What if we asked each person to wash their hands when we entered the sanctuary for a worship service? Or what if we had a bowl of water that would symbolize our need to be clean and pure.

In the Catholic Church they have a bowl of water for people to dip their hands in as a way of remembering their baptism as they enter the sanctuary.

 

7.) Psalm 51:1 – 7 shares words are from David, who was the King, after he had comitted adultery with Bathsheba. He was reminded of his sinfulness in these words.

  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

We prepare for worship by acknowledging our sin and our need for cleansing.

 

8.) The second practice we read about in Exodus is when the furnishings along with Aaron and his sons were anointed with oil. In Exodus 30:25, 29, 31, 32 the word sacred or holy is mentioned seven times. The oil is a symbol of the Holiness of God. When Moses and Aaron put the oil on the furnishings it made them holy; they were set apart. The priests were to have a sense of the Holiness as they prepared for worship because of the oil on them. They were set apart. God’s Holiness was to be remembered. The oil had a fragrance that reminding all those that God was Holy.

We anoint people today with oil as a sign of God’s presence and desire for healing.

What if we anointed each person with oil as they came to worship to remind them that God is Holy?

 

9.) We prepare for worship by bringing our sinful lives before a Holy God. We do our best with this as prepare but at times life changes our focus.

When Sue and I were at the New Haven UMC we had Kevin baptized. When Kevin was baptized I shared with the Senior Pastor that I would like to have no responsibilities that day, I only wanted to be a dad with my family. So, I was at home helping Sue get Erica, who was a two year old, and Kevin ready. I normally came to the sanctuary by myself and Sue got herself and the kids ready.

So, this was new. I wanted to have the entire experience of God’s presence when Kevin was baptized and not have to be concerned about the worship service.

What I remember about that day was the Sue was holding Kevin and Sue’s family was with us. Then Erica was getting fidgety and I was trying to focus and enjoy this moment and time. Then Erica said in semi-soft voice, “Daddy, I have to go potty.” Well I tried to ignore her at first and thought she can hold it. Then somehow Sue looked at me and gave me the “eye.” I think Erica said it again this time a little louder and the people around me heard it. It was then that I had to get up, in the middle of the worship service to take Erica to go to the bathroom. People were chuckling at me as I sought not to be a distraction to others that day.

I had my focus on God shifted because of a two year old who was being potty trained. I was stressed out but then I realized that this is life and what are you going to do.

 

10.) What do you find helpful to prepare for worship? What symbols, practices, sights, experiences help prepare you best?

You might say what helps prepare is a sense of quietness, softness, and solitude. This is needed to help you let go of the noise, voices and distractions of the week. It is important to be “quiet” before the Lord. With this perspective we engage our focus on the Lord.

Others might say that making a connection, joining in fellowship and conversation is helpful. They needed to be humanly connected in friendship to remind them of the divine connection, God’s relationship to them.

With this perspective we engage our focus on people, other disciples of Jesus, who anchor our hearts as a way to prepare for worship.

We are all different and we respond to different worship aspects. What can we do to help us be free from distractions as we come to worship, to be prepared to worship God?

11.) I want you to take a few moments and share with a person near you what you find most helpful. Or what do you find that is most distracting to you. (Share with each other. Then open this to a sharing time with the congregation.)

 

12.) Songs can help us in worship. The words, the music, the way the Holy Spirit brings away from our present circumstance to being closer to the Lord.

There are two songs that I invite us to sing. I want to share the words first and then I want us to sing them as we think of Holy God.

13.) The first song is the first verse of “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The second song is “Majesty.”

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee. Holy, Holy, Holy, merciful and mighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

 

Majesty, Worship His majesty, Unto Jesus be all glory honor and praise. Majesty, kingdom authority, flow from His throne, unto His own His anthem raise. So, exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus. Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus the King. Majesty, worship His majesty, Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings.