We continue our NEW sermon series entitled “Let’s talk about worship”. Preaching from Nathan Gordon.
What does our culture have to do with worship?
As we heard last week worship is far greater than a song or the articulation of our speech toward God. Worship is a stance of the heart, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s reflected in every area of our lives. However, this morning we are going to examine the significance of culture within our worship and devotion to God. In particular song worship within a diverse congregation, there can arise a plethora of challenges within the service. Often our learned culture has a lot to do with our preferences, likes, and dislikes.
What is culture?
“Culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we greet visitors, how we behave with loved ones and a million other things,” – C D Rossi
The Kingdom Culture
As Christians, we not only embrace our cultural identity through our nationality and upbringing, but we also seek to live and practice our faith through the lenses of the kingdom culture that is forged through the spiritual new birth.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
The style of worship is not greater than the substance of worship! Jesus encouraged the woman at Jacobs well that salvation would come through a Jewish messiah, but salvation would be far greater than just one ethnic group. The father is seeking people of all cultures, backgrounds, and nationalities to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
So, whether you prefer a more traditional worship experience with a somber and reflective ambiance or if you prefer a more contemporary and expressive style of praise and worship – All are welcome to worship the father in the beauty of His holiness.
The importance of the matter is not one of style but of heart.
My heart I offer to you Lord, promptly and sincerely. – John Calvin
Avoid limiting worship to one specific culture – v20
- The Samaritans saw themselves as the authentic Hebrew people only.
- The Jews believed the Samaritans were unclean and would avoid traveling through Samaria.
Challenge – we must be careful and watch out for cultural clashes within the church and worship. One culture should not seek to dominate the other, we should learn from each other’s differences and welcome each culture to worship God together.
Avoid limiting worship to one specific location – v21
- The Samaritan woman was adamant that worship could only be possible at Mount Gerizim for her people and Jerusalem for the Jews.
- Worship cannot be limited to the church building. Everywhere we go we can worship through our lifestyle, choices, interactions, and obedience to Christ.
- If we only see worship through the lenses of the church building, we will miss out on the endless potential of worship on the move.
Challenge – Like the Samaritan woman have we placed too much emphasis on worship at the church building? This week God is inviting all of us to worship each day without limitations.
Accept the invitation from the Father. – v23-24
- Jesus explains The Father is on the lookout for people to worship Him.
- Seek (Zeteo) (Gk) = to search or to crave. (Hebrew) (Heb Strong’s concordance) = to search out by any method
- The substance of our worship is based on the spiritual part of our being connecting with God in the truth of His deity and word.
For us to welcome and embrace a multicultural church we cannot dominate other minority cultures with personal preferences and norms. We must recognize worship is spirit engaging with spirit. We cannot limit worship to just one specific culture. God loves us all and welcomes us into His presence to worship His majesty.