June 6, 2021

Ultimate Worship


A small church history overview… In 312 AD, the emperor of the Roman Empire, Constantine, was converted to Christianity, and everything has changed for the church. For the first 3 centuries, Christianity was persecuted. It was persecuted by various emperors, but 2 of them distinguished themselves: Nero and Diocletian. Christians were burned at the stake, they were given to be eaten by the wild animals in the arenas, their property and children were take away, and sold into slavery. The church was not popular!

But when the emperor converted to Christianity, it became popular to go to church, because the emperor himself goes to church. Who among you would not want to sit on the same bench with the emperor? Yes, you will probably sing the loudest, perhaps, I will be appointed as the city mayor.

At this moment, the church first tasted popularity and attractiveness. Since then, with varying success, the Church has reverted to the idea of being popular. It was the season of the construction of the majestic Gothic buildings, then serious music, or bright speakers. But overall it was still in decline, until 1517, when Martin Luther began the Reformation in Germany. Again the church leaves buildings, music and return to the Word, the simple Gospel – salvation by grace through faith!

But in a very short time, from Protestantism, many denominations emerge, and they begin to compete with each other. Again, the church returns to the very problem – the desire to be attractive. After all, now you need to be more attractive than the church across the road. Again buildings, music, programs, bright personalities!

But few people think that by what you attract people to church, wo you will have to keep them!

A more direct and personal question; why are you in church? Why are you in this particular local church? No, I am not suggesting that you leave, but I ask you to double-check the real motives behind all of this. Maybe a building, programs, speaker, relatives, music, even your ministry? These are not biblical reasons!

What is the biblical factor that makes the church attractive?

Preaching about great and sovereign God makes the church attractive, because it leads people to ultimate worship! And if you have been attracted to church by anything else, I hope today’s text reforms your view on church and worship.

Read (Rom. 11:33-36)

3 elements of ultimate worship that make the church attractive!

I. Worship is a wonder of God (v. 33)

We humans are in constant search for something to adore… we are looking for an object that we could admire… unfortunately, we are satisfied with way too simple and unimportant things (like someone’s talent, athletic abilities, artistic ability, endurance, wealth, cleverness or great mind). We never get to something truly valuable and worthy of our worship… God!

“Oh, the depth” – the depth of god and his nature – incomprehensible… there is no end to God! Paul raked through God’s actions and plans, and realized that there is no bottom, no end!

“riches” – often associated with His love and grace, kindness to man!

(2:4) – wealth of kindness, forbearance and patience toward people

(5:2) – grace leading us to the hope of God’s glory

(5:17) – abundance of grace (no limit)

(9:22-23) – riches of God’s patience and his glory in mercy

(10:12-13) – God is rich in distribution of salvation

(11:30-32) – mercy to all nations!

“wisdom and knowledge” Wisdom directs all things to the best end, while knowledge knows that end.

“judgment” – court language, talks about decisions to penalize those who have broken the law. “ways” – speaks of God’s will.

Try to completely harmonize everything about the cross of Christ! The cross on which people crucified Jesus is a vivid manifestation of man’s rebellion and opposition to God, but at the same time this cross becomes as source of salvation for the very people that crucified Him. Through the death on the cross, we receive eternal life by faith! Only God can do this!

Most importantly, this verse does not say what God has given us, but who He is!

Imagine a guy who gave his fiancé an engagement ring (he paid $1,000), it is beautiful, sparkles, and the girl admires and shows off everywhere. But if she gets so carried away with this ring that she forgets the groom himself, this should trouble everyone!

There is one biblical example when a person received a very valuable gift from God, but at that very moment, he immediately drew attention to the one who gave this gift (Dan. 2:17-23) (v. 22!!!!)

This is why we admire good players in chess… you see, most of us barely know how to play chess, but when we meet a professional and see his knowledge and skills, we begin to respect, or better admire! In the same way we various great scientists like Einstein… we admire thinkers like Aristotle, we marvel at the military genius of Alexander the Great, and so on. Why? Not simply because of their achievements, but because we are not able to fully comprehend their genius, their way of thinking…

What we can know and understand about God is even more limited! We know very little about God!

Paul does not worship God because he understood everything about God, and this led him to worship and glorifying God. We are confronted with a God whom the apostle Paul could not grasp with his mind! And that makes his worship ultimate!

II. Worship is the humility before God (vv. 34-35)

Perhaps, what we’ve covered in previous chapters bothered some of us because God seems is holding too much of control over events in the lives of nations, and individual people; His handling of Israel and the Gentiles does not quite suit us… perhaps you have a certain disagreements inside you… warning – it will keep you away from admiration of God!

Three questions:

The first two from (Is. 40:13-14) – God is above all, and nations are like grass (you come home, and tell each other – today preacher told us we are grass) (Is. 55:9) – God’s greatness!

The third question is from (Job 41:11) – it is part of God’s showing Job His greatness, that ultimately led Job to humble worship (42:1-6).

We did not offer to God anything!

If we leave to ourselves something, even small that we gave to God, our motive to glorify God automatically dies! Where man-centeredness is preached, worship is proportionally is diminished.

When Paul came to the Greek philosophers in Athens, the capital of philosophy of that time, and presented his view on worship, it was like a bomb! Those philosophers, grew up in polytheism, and they were united by one, main idea – the gods they worship always wants something from people, they expect something from people, and here Paul comes and preaches that the God of the Bible, He is a giving God, and does not need to be given anything (Acts 17:25) – such understanding leads to humility and ultimate worship!

We all want to stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon and forget about our greatness, success, merits, and be carried away by something really great! This is how God created us!

III. Worship is the praise toward God (v. 36)

God is the source, executor/sustainer, and the goal of all things, and especially in salvation! What does “everything” mean? The context is salvation (v. 25)!

(1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 2:10) – God is all in all!

Our life, and especially salvation, not for us, but for God!

God must be glorified at the end! How?

(Phil. 2:6-11) – The suffering and death of Christ for our salvation by faith, is done so that in the end, all knees will bow down to Christ, and give Him glory (v. 11).

Glory belongs only to God!

(1 Cor. 4:7) – God gives salvation and everything, and if we do not understand this, we continue to praise ourselves (give glory), but when we realize that salvation and all that we have in life is from God, we automatically stop boasting (praising ourselves), but giving glory to God!

This trip to the top of theological mountain, always leads to ultimate worship – it is natural, it is wonderful, it is beautiful, and very attractive!

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