Continued from Loving God, Part 2
November 9, 2011
I want to close looking at the promise, “he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21 ESV) This promise is perhaps the greatest gift that God has given us. How sweet our worship times are when we experience the love of our Father and the manifest presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Here is what I’ve discovered. The older I get, the more I come to know God, namely his unfailing love and amazing grace, the more wholeheartedly and joyfully I begin to reciprocate my expressions of love to him. These expressions are in part sung or spoken, but on a much grander scale lived out by obeying his commands. There is no better place to observe what this looks like and how it is expressed through worship than in Psalm 119. This chapter of God’s Word captures 176 poetic verses of declarations & prayers about loving God’s commands and following God’s commands. It’s all heart! To me, loving God with all of my heart means to know what God has to say about how I ought to live and then living that way according to the strength he gives me through his Holy Spirit. That’s why the sermon is such an important part of the worship service. We have it so good at Trinity, because God’s Word is central. My colleagues, the main teachers of Trinity Church, love God’s Word and bring it faithfully to us each week. They bring us the very words of God spoken to us – let’s make sure we are here each week fully present, with open ears and hearts, longing to know what God has to say. As we pray the prayers of Psalm 119, the Lord will move each one of us in the right direction toward knowing and treasuring his ways and better expressing our love to him through joyful obedience. The reward is the greatest treasure of all, an increasing intimacy with God realized through his love & presence. This is the promise for those who express their love for God through obedience.
The song, Like Incense, by Brooke Fraser, has become a favorite of mine. Here is a live version that we did in our worship service with dance, including a reading of portions of Psalm 119 beginning at 3:25.
Our praise is our “I love you,” statement to the Lord. Our declaration of his character, rejoicing in his unfailing love, lifting up his great name, giving thanks, proclaiming his mighty works, trusting him in hard times, celebrating the gospel, remembering his faithfulness, loving one another, showing hospitality, giving generously of our time and money, offering up our bodies as living sacrifices, maintaining a pure and holy lifestyle, repenting of our sin, laying down our lives, picking up our cross daily to follow him, sharing the gospel, serving the world. These are some of the wonderful things God has commanded. By doing them we demonstrate our love to God and to the world. Trinity Church, let’s unite together in leading our church in loving God because he is worthy.