Meeting God on Sunday – Acts 3

  • Read Acts 3:1-10 here.
  • This week’s sermon wasn’t recorded, but you can read the text of it here.

This week’s sermon was more of a character study than an exegesis.  I’m not sure that Luke would have pictured this story being applied in this way, but I still think it’s valid.  The basic idea was that the apostles and the beggar both came to the place of worship, the temple, but with very different expectations.  The apostles came looking for ways to honour God, while the beggar seems oblivious to worshiping God and is only looking for coins.

I believe that it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of adopting the beggar’s attitude.  We come to worship every week, but not always with the expectation that we will encounter God.  In contrast, the apostles set an example for us.  They came to worship God, but were still looking for opportunities to share the Good News with others they may meet.  They expected to meet God and witness His power.  What do you think?  Does this story have lessons for us?  How do your expectations change your worship experience?

The difficulty with preaching a sermon on worship is that the topic has so many facets that any single presentation seems extremely inadequate.  Let me throw out a few perspectives we could discuss on worship:

  • Worship as praise to God.
  • Worship as God speaking to us.
  • Worship as God speaking to unbelievers.
  • The role of emotions in worship.
  • The role of logic in worship.
  • The importance of practices in worship.
  • The importance of motives in worship.
  • Worship as obedience to God’s command.
  • Worship as an natural response to God’s grace.

I list those just to demonstrate that any single sermon not only omits the flipside of the coin, but also a whole range of other perspectives.  Can you suggest some other approaches to worship that could be added to this list?

Songs & Scripture

Our songs this week focused on meeting God in worship.  Do you have any other suggestions?

  • There’s a Stirring Deep Within Me (original to Annie Herring 1989, also recorded by Caedmon’s Call in 1994, and later Mercy Me)
  • Come to the Table (Michael Card, 1983)
  • Come to the Table (Sparrow Records, 1991)
  • We Declare that the Kingdom of God is Here (SFP)
  • We Have Come into His House (SFP)
  • Breathe (Michael W Smith on the 2001 album Worship)
  • On Bended Knee I Come (SFP)
  • My Eyes are Dry (SFP – originally: Keith Green on the 1978 album No Compromise)
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3 comments

  1. Bonnie Kennedy

    I have enjoyed reading your posts and would like to share with you my thoughts on how Kingdom expectation is expressed in the worship setting.

    I personally believe the presence of the Lord and the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts should be evident so we will recognize that God is doing something within us.

    We must be conscious of the Kingdom of God within us, and when we praise him with our voices, we need others to see and hear us praising God. I truly believe we need to surrender and become more obedient to the power of Holy Spirit.

    As a soloist at church I turn my attention to God and I pray my songs and music lead people into prayer and interaction with God.

    Yes, I do expect the spirit of God to show up in our worship service. Sometimes it is not always visible. It can be a quiet embrace or a powerful emotion.

    The following quote better expresses my expectations of worship.

    “In worship we speak for God, to God, and to one another as well as reaching out to touch others in God’s name. All that happens in worship depends on God, but it occurs through the instruments of human speech and the human body.” [1]

    [1] James F. White, Introduction To Christian Worship, Third Edition (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000) 83

  2. ozziepete

    Bonnie, thanks for your comments. You raise some valuable points, and I think your quote at the end is a good one.

    While I appreciate your emphasis of a visible presence of God, in this post I chose to emphasise the Word of God. My question is not just do we expect to experience God, but do we expect our lives to be changed, our lifestyles to be challenged, by encountering God and His Word and Spirit in our worship?

    I have often heard people describe worship as recharging their batteries for the coming week. This is a good thing and maybe reflects a changed attitude. But do we expect our behaviour in the coming week to change because of our encounter with God?

    I also appreciate your point of how our worship impacts others. I’ve usually heard Ephesians 5:19 used to describe how or why we should sing to God. I’ve seldom heard a discussion of how our psalms, hymns and songs speak to “one another”. Our worship should certainly be God-focused, but it’s not one dimensional.

  3. Bonnie Kennedy

    Peter,

    Do we expect our lives, lifestyles and behavior to change because of our encounter with God and His Word and Spirit in our worship?

    We most definitely should. But I know that we can sometimes become complacent and go through the motions of worship without experiencing the fullness of God’s Word.

    Worship should be a time for us to refresh and renew our spirits each week. Our worship should remind and encourage us to walk in the ways of the Lord and to please God.

    We need to earnestly desire to hear the Word of God and to seek his will not only during times of worship but everyday of our lives.

    As Christians, God wants us to avoid certain desires and to choose to pursue the things that are good for us. We must live by God’s Word under the Holy Spirit “in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).

    I certainly believe that our attitudes, lifestyles and behavior should be changed as we grow in the knowledge of God and His Word.

    I know that my world has changed as I have grown older. I am still learning and growing in God’s Word. I pray that I can honor God in all areas of my life, including my thoughts, words, and actions.

    Thank you for sharing the Gospel.

    Bonnie

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