Restoring the Glory of Worship

Sermon preached by Christopher Adams, November 24, 2008:

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“Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day!”

(Article from CNYCOC monthly bulletin on our upcoming name change.)
Historical Mission—A New Name
Why do we want to change the name of our church from Central New York Church of Christ to the Syracuse International Christian Church? Three compelling reasons come to mind: Vision, Unity and Mission.
Jesus gave Peter a new name in Mark 3:16: These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter). In Greek “Peter” meant tiny pebble, which shows the kind of sense of humor Jesus had with his guys, as he trained them to destroy Satan’s work in this world. We might think of his new name from our modern movie perspective as ROCKY! In Matthew 16 Jesus continues teaching Peter what his new name would really come to mean:

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Jesus gave him the vision that he would indeed have a special role in advancing God’s eternal kingdom established on earth–that one day, his Lordship and loyalty to Jesus would make him a solid rock, a pillar of the church that Jesus would build, which the gates of Hades would never overcome!

In the same way, I believe our family of believers here in Syracuse has been given just as special a role today, as Peter received directly from Jesus ca. 32 AD. We get to be ambassadors of a Christianity that reflects the intense love and faithfulness of that church Jesus established on the day of Pentecost! I only pray that our love and faith can ring out from here as it did from the disciples’ love in Peter and Paul’s day, to replace the world’s view of a hypocritical and powerless Christian church and rekindle the flames of God’s Holy Spirit in Syracuse. Our vision is to plant churches in cities across New York State, so that every person can find the visible church of God’s Kingdom here on earth without having to drive more than an hour and a half.
Paul wrote about the kind of discipleship that would trump worldly unity and human wisdom every
time in 1 Corinthians 4:14-17:

I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Paul built on the rock of Jesus Christ by building incredible relationships that reflected the daily denial and cross-bearing that Jesus expected in Luke 9:23-27. These were intimate, family relationships based on God’s standard of calling one another to faithful obedience. We in Syracuse are so grateful that we get to be part of a family of churches who are replicating these kinds of relationships around the world! Since we want to make it easy for anyone to find a group of sold-out disciples here in Syracuse whose life and doctrine would remind them of sold-out disciples being multiplied in every corner of the earth, we have decided to change our name; therefore, as of January 1, 2009, we will be known here in this city and around the world as the Syracuse International Christian Church.
I’ve heard it said that while our purpose is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind in response to God first loving us (Luke 10:27, 1 John 4:10), our mission is to seek and save the lost! And you can’t have the one without the other. We are excited about being partners in the gospel
with disciples around the world whose purpose and mission are clearly seen in the fruit that God is bearing in dynamically growing churches. We firmly believe that the Holy Spirit is working through men and women, such as: Kip and Elena McKean, Chris and Theresa Broom, Andrew and Patrique Smellie, DJ and Kaci Comsiford,and others in a powerful way to achieve Jesus’ dream to evangelize the world in our generation. As we change our name, we also want to continue to allow God to change our hearts so we can be built together as “living stones” to form a “new temple of God” called the International Christian Churches, where anyone could find that same amazing grace that
Jesus brought to our lost and hurting world over two thousand years ago!

“Restore the Glory of the Worship of God” preached by Chris Adams on Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ephesians 5:15–21
Question: What does it mean to worship God?
• God designed you in a way to worship.
Question: How does God define worship?
• It is challenging to restore the glory of worship.
• Whatever you do, do it as if you were serving the Lord.
• Worship has everything to do with living a life of submission to God.

Matthew 26:30
• The most difficult time that Jesus would go through.
• He was getting His heart prepared.
• There are no shortcuts to worship.

John 4:19–24
• Jesus shared with people of all walks of life.
• It is not about the place where you worship, it is totally about spirit and truth.
• This submission needs to happen in your heart.
Question: Are you living it the way God wants you to?
• Worshiping without spirit is horrible (same thing with the truth).
• Spirit and truth – that is what God wants from you.
• God is looking at the worship in the whole world.
• You worship something, bow down to something, it is not always God who you worship.

Romans 1:18–25
• Your wickedness suppresses the truth about God.
• God created you.
• There is tension between good and wickedness.
Question: What is the right order of things?
• God receives the glory; you give the glory.
• God gives the order; you obey it.

Romans 1:28
• You remember what you want to remember.
• You stop worshiping God with your life.

Genesis 3:1–13
• Adam and Eve walked with God, worship was their life.
• God’s plan was to walk with Him.

1. The idol of fear.
• Fear causes you to shift blame.
• Fear causes you to abdicate your responsibility.
• God is so merciful, he lovingly let them leave the Garden of Eden.
Question: Why did God give you pain?
• Pain is the thing that helps you to rely on God.
• You have got to be willing to take up your cross and go through pain. (Romans 12:1)
• Carrying your cross ought to be a joy.
• You are going to kill the idol of fear when you accept the pain in your life.
• Identify what you fear.
Question: How do you worship fear?
• Overcome the fear of calling other people to suffer.

2. The idol of emotion.
Genesis 4:1–14
• Cain lashed out; he did not learn to control his emotions.
• At the end of the day, you cannot put it on someone else.
Question: What emotion controls you?
• You are worshiping yourself when you are angry.
• If you are going to restore this worship of God, then you got to cast out these idols.
• You need to deal with your emotions.
• Emotionally, this is such a damaged nation.

1 Samuel 5:1–12
• The Israelites were struggling.
Question: How many times do you pick up your idols and put them back in their place?
• When the chest of God is involved, watch out!
• You can conquer anything in your life.
• God can work through you.