The Horizontal Choke To Worship

The Horizontal Choke to Worship

Pastor Don Carpenter

Worship: What’s Stopping You? / Isaiah 1:11–17; Amos 5:21–24; Matthew 5:23–24

Last week, as we began our series: “Worship: What’s Stopping You?” we were reminded that Jesus wants us to worship God in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23 KJV

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

In order to do that we need to have a river of Grace that flows unhindered. We discovered that worship is about relationships/ We have a vertical relationship, between us and God, and a horizontal relationship between fellow believers. Last week we discovered that a wrong vertical relationship can choke the flow of Grace that allows us to worship in spirit (genuine passion) and in truth. Tonight we will identify the barriers in our interpersonal relationships that can also choke the flow of Grace that aids our passionate worship. We will discover and stop the horizontal choke to worship.

Unresolved Conflict

Matthew 5:23–24 KJV

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Ephesians 4:26 KJV

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Proverbs 25:9 KJV

Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; And discover not a secret to another:

Romans 12:17–18 KJV

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Bill White, of Paramount, California, talks about his friend, Greg, who recently put together a mini high school reunion when he went back home to Indiana to visit his parents. He hadn’t seen many of his classmates in over 17 years; but when they got together, they had a riot reliving their glory days and finding out what was currently going on in everyone’s life.

As the night was winding down, Greg noticed that his friend Debbie was getting teary-eyed, and he couldn’t help but ask what was going on. Through tears she said, “It’s sad that there are some things you just can’t forget.”

Certain that something spiritual was going on, Greg pressed Debbie about what she meant. Finally she told him. In the second grade — 27 years previously! — a girl named Karen had started the “Debbie Haters’ Club.” Debbie had never gotten over the pain of that, and she had never forgiven Karen.

Knowing that Karen was at the reunion that night, Greg told Debbie she should talk to her. Debbie refused, but Greg insisted. In fact, Greg ended up orchestrating the effort toward reconciliation! When Karen was collecting her coat to leave the party, Greg pulled her aside into a separate room, and asked her to wait for him to return. Then Greg went to get Debbie. When both women were together in the room, Greg stepped out of the room and stood guard outside the door. Greg couldn’t hear a word that passed between them, but he didn’t need to. As they both left, he could see the freedom on their faces — a freedom that only comes with reconciliation.

Unfair Treatment of Others

Something Makes Our Worship Stink Before God

Amos 5:21–23 KJV

I hate, I despise your feast days, And I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. 

Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: Neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. 

Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; For I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

It is a Lack of Justice or Fairness

Amos 5:24 KJV

But let judgment run down as waters, And righteousness as a mighty stream.

Micah 6:8 KJV

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; And what doth the LORD require of thee, But to do justly, and to love mercy, And to walk humbly with thy God?

A family went to dine at a restaurant and the six-year-old boy was asked to say the blessing.

As they bowed their heads he said, “God is great. God is good. Thank you for this food. And I would even thank you more, God, if Mom bought us some ice cream after dinner with liberty and justice for all. Amen.”

This brought several chuckles from other customers and also one strong remark from an older woman seated nearby, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why I never!”

Tears welled up in the little boy’s eyes as he exclaimed, “Did I do something wrong? Is God mad at me?”

The mother reassured him that he had done nothing wrong and that he had done a great job as an elderly gentleman walked up and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer!”

“Really?” asked the little boy.

“Cross my heart,” answered the man and with sly grin nodding toward the woman, “Too bad she never asks for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Of course, mom bought ice cream for everyone. The little boy stared at his ice cream for a moment. Then he slid out of the booth, took his ice cream and placed it in front of the older woman.

With a big smile he told her, “This is for you. Sometimes a little ice cream is good for the soul and my soul is good already.”

Apathy Toward The Oppressed.

Isaiah 1:11–17 KJV

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; And I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 

When ye come to appear before me, Who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: They are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: Your hands are full of blood. 

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 

Learn to do well; Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

 • To ignore the oppressed and suffering is to do intentional hurt (evil) by omission

James 4:17 KJV

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Arthur Pink wrote about how some people do not worship:

They bring their bodies to the house of prayer but not their souls. They worship with their mouths but not in spirit and in truth.

They are sticklers for early morning communion with God but they take no thought about keeping their hearts with all diligence.

They boast of their orthodoxy but disregard the precepts of Christ.

Multitudes of professing Christians abstain from external acts of violence, yet hesitate not to rob their neighbors of a good name by spreading evil reports against them.

They contribute regularly to the church but shrink not from misrepresenting their goods and cheating their customers persuading themselves that business is business.

They have more regard for the laws of man than those of God for his fear is not before their eyes.

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God wants us to worship freely and passionately. We need His Grace and power to flow through us in order to do that. If we are mistreating our fellow man, that Grace gets clogged. Let us resolve our personal conflicts, treat others fairly, and stand for those who have no voice. Then we can remove the vertical choke to worship.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 8:10 PM April 15, 2021.

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