November 21, 2023
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You can find it at a football game. You can find it in a concert. There are thousands of people drawn to a gathering, and they're talking excitedly about some star they've come to see or hear. Hands and voices are raised in praise and all eyes are on the star, or the stars. In fact, if you want to get people really agitated, use the name of their favorite musician in vain. Yeah, or say something negative about their favorite athlete. Uh-huh. I mean, people who might be relatively passive about minor issues like nuclear war, or abortion, or people starving to death are majorly aggressive about their heroes. I mean, we're excited about our favorite musician, or politician, or sports star, even our favorite spiritual celebrity...maybe too excited.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Misguided Worship."
Our word for today from the Word of God is found in Luke 4:5-8. I think you'll find the passage familiar; it finds Jesus in the wilderness just before He launches into His public ministry. And here is this cosmic confrontation between the Son of God and the enemy of God - the devil. And the story I want to point us to goes something like this, "The devil led Jesus to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. He said to him, 'I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.' Jesus answered, 'It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'"
Well, the issue in this, and it's the second temptation of Jesus. It's the issue I want us to look at for a couple of minutes today. The issue was worship. Jesus and the devil obviously both know that we're wired for worship. We're just built that way. We're instinctively worshippers. We want to lose ourselves in someone; find out all we can about that person that we lose ourselves in; identify ourselves enthusiastically with them. Talk about what we know about that person; tell about what we feel about that person.
But it's God alone that we're built to wrap our lives around... to think about most of the time. That's why Jesus said when given another worship option, "Only worship God; only serve God."
Sometimes I think we use up a lot of our - can I call it worship-ness - on someone human. Oh, we don't call it worship. But a lot of our thinking, our loyalty, our time, our energy, our passion, our money, our enthusiasm gets taken over by our favorite music group, or by an obsession with sports that finds us talking about our favorites most of the time, or even a politician.
There was an article in a New York area newspaper that had this headline, "Sport takes its place among the religions of America." Sometimes we can actually inadvertently worship some Christian teacher or personality. We quote them more than the Bible. We've gotten unbalanced without realizing it. We've got to guard this worship thing we've got. It's easy to become such a fan of someone on earth that the King of Kings gets pushed to the side - gets our leftovers. The devil's strategy is to just get our worshiping redirected. Because he knows we're going to worship something.
So let me recommend that we begin our day getting overwhelmed by Jesus Christ; focusing all of our worship-ness, our fan mail so to speak, on Him. Evaluate...maybe are you a little too excited about some earthly star? See, you're wired for worship, but save it for the only One who deserves it.