This morning, we’re continuing our message series entitled “re:THINK”. In this series, we’ll be dealing with the issue of repentance.
Repentance is a churchy word that’s been given a bad reputation by critical and judgmental people and churches. However, repentance is necessary and really quite encouraging. Repentance is all about re:THINKING and repurposing our lives in order to live them in complete freedom and to their fullest potential!
So far, we learned about what repentance actually is and what our response should be whenever we find out that we need to re:THINK our perspective, purpose, or behavior (whenever we need to repent).
This week, we’re going to learn about a root issue that causes many areas of wrong thinking that we need to repent of. This area that we need to re:THINK has been plaguing mankind since the very beginning of creation back in the garden of Eden and it has afflicted each of us sitting here this morning. This area of wrong thinking is the root source of sins such as:
Greed – Lust – Drunkenness – Fits of Rage – Idolatry – Jealousy – Sexual Immorality – Coveting – Hatred – Discord – Murder – Thievery – Lying – Drug Addictions – Selfishness – Divorce – Adultery – Gluttony – Dishonor – Neglecting the Sabbath – Arrogance – Pride – Lack of Love- Gossip – Strife
This list could go on and on all day… However, whenever we have the right perspective on this single root issue, everything else in life becomes so much easier. Decision making comes with clarity. The lies and deceit of sin are clearly revealed. Human reasoning and logic which sway us into sin are demolished. Our priorities fall into perfect alignment. Our purpose in life and the reason for which we exist become crystal clear. Everything that we do takes on a new meaning. The way that we treat ourselves and others holds much more value.
Are you ready to hear this fundamental truth that we all need to re:THINK?
We were created to worship. Specifically, we were created to worship the one true, living God.
There is a war that rages around us that we are far too often ignorant of. We won’t go into full detail this morning, but we must understand this truth. The battle is intense and the valued treasure at stake that is being fought for is nothing other than that of worship.
Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14, and Luke 10 reveal the scene whenever Satan was kicked out of Heaven – that guardian cherub created by God to worship. Whenever he became prideful because of his beauty, his wisdom became corrupted. In his heart, he decided that he would be like God and be worshiped. He, and a third of the angels, were thrown from Heaven to earth.
Bent on vengeance, they now work together to keep us from worshiping God. Revelation 13 reveals that during the end days that Satan will have authority over every tribe, language, and nation on the earth. What will he do with that authority? He will demand that they worship him. In fact, any who do not worship him will be killed.
We were created to worship. Specifically, we were created to worship the one true, living God.
We were created to worship and if we aren’t worshiping God, we will worship something else. This is when so many of our sins come rushing in.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines worship as: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem
Many sins all have a root of worship. It is not an issue of us choosing not to worship God because of other things, it is literally because we worship those other things instead of God. We have extravagant respect or admiration for and devote ourselves to many things. We worship people, jobs, money, material possessions, titles and positions of authority, the list can go on and on.
Jesus left us no middle ground to hold to. He said:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
We must re:THINK this matter! We cannot be a Christian and devote ourselves to other things and think that God is just OK with that. We serve a Jealous God and He simply won’t take second place to anything in our lives. He cares about us just too much to let us go down that path.
Whenever we struggle with these many sins, we are making a choice in what we are going to worship. Let’s turn together to Romans chapter 1 and dig into this truth. Let’s change our minds about these sins and see the reality of what we are doing when we choose them! This verse makes this matter as crystal clear – as black and white – as it possibly can be.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator
Let’s read through and get a better grasp on the context of this verse.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Wow, what a heavy word! All these things simply because they believed a lie and worshiped created things over the Creator…
If I were to ask you as you were walking in the church this morning if you worship with Satan, how would have you responded? Probably a resounding and offended, “NO!”. However, Satan’s problem is that he felt that a created thing should have been worshiped instead of the Creator. He thought that he, one of God’s creations, should have been worshiped.
Whenever we choose to worship created things instead of the Creator, we’re agreeing with Satan and worshiping along with him.
Think about a few of these examples. Sexual immorality – isn’t this nothing more than us worshiping pleasure, one of God’s creations? Lust, jealousy, thievery – aren’t these nothing more than us worshiping and longing for created things? Pride and arrogance – aren’t these nothing more than us worshiping ourselves, a created thing, over God? Gluttony – isn’t this nothing more than us worshiping and indulging in created things?
Most sins can be traced back to this root issue of us worshiping created things instead of worshiping the Creator.
The clearest example of this can be found in someone bound by drug addictions. I recently heard a leader from Teen Challenge speak on this matter and revealed that they worship created substances to an extreme. They sacrifice their health, finances, families, friends, freedom, even their very own lives all on the altar of a created thing. The only true solution that will break the bonds of that addiction is to make a choice to give that worship to the One who deserves it – God alone!
Now substance abuse is frowned upon by our society in general, which makes it an easy target to observe. However, what is our altar that we sacrifice these same things to? Gluttony is socially acceptable – even encouraged in the church at times – however God calls it sin, just the same, because it is worshiping a created thing instead of the Creator. Worshiping the almighty dollar is encouraged and celebrated in our culture – to live the American dream – yet Jesus said that we cannot love both God and money.
The heart of the issue isn’t what we are doing. Being successful in the workplace is not sin, possessing money is not sin, experiencing sexual pleasure is not a sin (in fact, God created it!), no created thing is sinful. What turns these good things into sin is our choice of worship.
I can work hard and be dedicated to my employer and worship God through that. I can also work hard and be dedicated to my employer and worship that job, my position within the company, and the money that I make. They both look very similar from the outside, but there is a very significant difference!
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
This morning, our challenge is to repent (re:THINK) what we are worshiping. Jesus said that we can’t worship two different things – that we’ll love one and hate the other.
Allow the Lord to reveal to you areas where you’ve begun to worship created things instead of the Creator. Analyze what you spend your resources on. If we give more to our cable company than we do to missions, there may be an issue with what we’re worshiping. Whenever Jesus was speaking about not being able to serve two different masters, He also said:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
This morning, let’s repent! Let’s have a change of mind about what we are truly worshiping. Let’s turn to the Lord and receive all that we need to turn away from worshiping created things and to wholly and completely worship the Creator in all that we do and all that we think. Let’s stop worshiping along with Satan and start worshiping along with the Kingdom of Heaven – giving God alone all honor, glory, power, and praise!
So, the next time we turn on our computer, the next time we turn our TV, the next time we light up, the next time we go shopping, the next time we think of or speak about that person, who are we worshiping? Will our actions and thoughts honor and glorify God or will they deny Him and instead exalt His creation?