Sermons

Merle Shenk - August 9, 2020

Worship as Warfare

"Consider the words of the Evangelist John: “We know that we belong to God, but the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.” These cool, stark words bring us straight to the place of healing because, as healers, we must face the Evil One while stay¬ing safely in the embrace of God. Thus healing is mourning as well as dancing: mourning over losses that the world, captive to the forces of Evil, inflicts on us, and dancing in the house of God where we belong. We tend, however, to stay away from both mourning and dancing: too afraid to cry and too shy to dance. We say, “It is not as bad as you think, nor as good as you hope.” We prefer to fuss about our own petty problems instead of dealing with the ominous presence of evil, and we prefer to cling to our little self-made moments of happiness instead of entering fully into the joy of God’s Kingdom. Thus we become narrow¬-minded complainers, avoiding not only real human pain, but also true human joy. But true healing calls us to face the harsh realities of our lives and to come to grips with the truth that, while we live in a world subject to the power of the Evil One, we belong to God. That’s what mourning and dancing are all about. So let’s mourn and let’s dance,..."   Henri J.M. Nouwen – "The Duet of the Holy Spirit: when mourning and dancing are one." Our Response in good & hard timesPrayer and Praise both do 3 things: Stir our faith Moves God’s heart to intervene on our behalf Changes us.   It is time to start celebrating!  - Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”   - Isaiah 58:13-14 (ESV) 13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; 14 then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”   It is time to start celebrating as a prophetic act!  God turns our mourning into dancing- Psalms 30:11-12 (ESV) 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!     King David gives us examples of how to praise in Psalms  The sons of Korah write in Psalms 42 - Psalms 42:11 (ESV) - 11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.   The Psalmist says that the answer to a downcast soul is to Hope and PraiseSomething happens when we choose to praise!   - 2 Chronicles 20:18-23 (ESV) 18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. 20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 22 And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. 23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.   Judah goes First – The name Judah means praise- Judges 1:1-2 (ESV) 1 After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the Lord, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” 2 The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.”     - Judges 20:18 (ESV) 18 The people of Israel arose and went up to Bethel and inquired of God, “Who shall go up first for us to fight against the people of Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Judah shall go up first.”   What happens when we dedicate ourselves to lifting up God’s name in Praise & Worship?  Isaiah 42:10-17 (ESV) 10 Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. 11 Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. 12 Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands. 13 The Lord goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. 14 For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. 15 I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. 16 And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. 17 They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, “You are our gods.”   Something happens when we choose to praise and worship God in spite of challenges that go on   Psalms 149 (ESV) 1 Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! 2 Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! 3 Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! 4 For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. 5 Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, 7 to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, 8 to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, 9 to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the Lord!   Psalm 150 1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! 2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! 3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!     We are made for Celebrations!Move in the opposite spirit of this ageWhen the world says that God is not Good, We need to openly celebrate God’s Goodness. When the world says that all hope is lost, as the church, we need to celebrate God’s Hope. When the world is full of anxiety we need to celebrate Faith in God. When the world is full of fear we need to celebrate the Love of God. When the world is in chaos around us we need to celebrate God’s Order. When the world is under the Spirit of Heaviness we need to put on the Garment of Praise as Isa 61 says.    Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV) 1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” The Result!Isaiah 61:4 (ESV ) 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.   It is time to war in the spirit realm with our worship! Notes:

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