We’re going to make a couple of points about worship and then we’re going to close with Communion. And our theme for the year is living Water, and it’s kind of interesting. I came across a story this past last week that reminded me of why this is such an important theme for us, and I want to share that with you. The story goes like this. It says one day God was looking down at Earth and saw all the evil that was going on.

He decided to send an angel down to Earth to check it out. He called one of his best Angels and sent the angel to Earth for a while. When that angel returned, he told God, yes, it’s pretty bad on Earth. 95% is bad and 5% is good. God thought for a moment and he decided, I’d better send down a second angel just to check this thing out.

He calls on the second angel sends him to Earth. When that angel returned, he went to God and told him, yes, the Earth is in decline, 95% is bad and only 5% is good. So God decided that he wanted to encourage the 5%. He said, well, I’ll send a text message to the 5% that are good, to encourage them. You need encouragement.

I want to encourage them and give them a little something to help keep them going. Now, does anyone know what that text message said? Oh, you didn’t get the text?

Oh, you got it. I’m proud of you.

Okay. George says that’s not right. Well, the good news, guys, is that we’re 100% bad. So if you didn’t get the text message, I’ll kind of encourage you. I didn’t either.

So let’s go ahead and get into our lesson for today.

Last week, we were challenged to think about and imagine the incredible victories God is going to have in our lives in 2022. And I hope you took the time to do what Marshall talked about in December, where he talked about us consecrating ourselves, consecrating ourselves, and getting ready for what God wants to do this year. I really believe it’s going to be a great year, but we need all hands on deck. We need to all worship God together. And that’s really the focus of the message, as I said, but let me remind you of our theme passage for the year from John chapter seven.

I’ll just read this for you in verse 37. It says, on the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me. As scripture has said, Rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this, he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

Up to that time, the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified. If you are a child of God, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you’ve you been baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, then you have God’s spirit living within you. And the Bible says streams of living water flow from within you.

I believe that means comfort for you. And I know sometimes we don’t feel very comforted with situations that go on, but I believe that means comfort for you, but also comfort that spills over to others. And we need that living water in our life, don’t we? Because we are sinful. We are people who fall short of God’s glory.

And sometimes with the failures that we have that occur to us, sometimes they’re small failures. Like, I remember the time when my wife was out walking in this park, and she came across this lady, and some of, you know, this story, she came across this lady and she said, when is your baby due? And she said, I hope never. So it’s one of those small failures that we get into at times. Or you could have even bigger failures.

Like, I saw a picture of this couple on their wedding day, and they’re getting ready to cut the cake, and the whole cake just toppled over. Now, if you’re superstitious, you start thinking, oh, my, is this an omen of things to come? But we’re not superstitious, so we don’t go there. And then I also saw a sign with a car that was wrecked and in a ditch, and it was right beside a sign that says, thank you for driving carefully through our village. Those are little bit bigger failures that occur for all of us.

But the Bible makes it clear that we all fail. Sometimes we don’t like to admit it. We don’t like to admit that we’re wrong or that we have a problem, but we all fail. We all mess up. And like I said, in reality, instead of 95% bad, it’s really more like 100% bad.

But what that simply means is that you miss the Mark. You miss the calling that God had for your life. In Romans three, verse 23, the Bible says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We’ve all sinned. We’ve all messed up.

I’ve been around the Church for 50 years. I know I look like I’m only 35, but, no, I’m just messing with. I’ve been around for a long time, and I still battle certain sins. They still come back. They still dog me.

They haunt me. And by the Grace of God, I’m continually trying to give those over to God. But the good news for you and me is that Jesus rose from the dead. Because he rose from the dead, he took your sin and my sin with him to the cross. And, guys, we have a bright future in front of us because we have promise, because of what Jesus did, he paid the price for our sins.

And sometimes in our independence, we can better be a bit stubborn and not really embrace that, but you need to embrace that today. God wants us to allow him to be more in our life this year than ever before. Some of you know I love basketball say a couple of comments about athletics. I love basketball. Always have.

I enjoy sports, period. I really do. And every now and then there’s a YouTube video that I’ll watch just for fun because it’s such a powerful video. And it’s about a guy named Clay Thompson. Anybody knows who he is.

I see hands going up. Clay Thompson. I think he’s scheduled to be back on the court today after being away for almost two years with injuries. Well, he had a quarter of basketball the third quarter, I believe. I can’t even remember the team where he scored 37 points in one quarter.

He was twelve for twelve shooting. He didn’t miss a single shot. After a while, it got ridiculous because people started bowing. They started bowing to this guy because it was like watching a God at work, I guess, to them. And guys, that’s what I want to talk about.

We need to feel that way about God. And we’re going to look at passages where people had that response to Jesus. They saw things that Jesus did, and all they could do is fall down and worship. It’s like, really, dude, I can’t believe you just walked on water. I can’t believe you just healed this person.

I don’t know about you, but I want to worship God this year more than I ever have. I really do. I want to know him better. I want to make sure he increases a lot more. In John three, verse 30, John says this he must increase, but I must decrease.

I want God to be much more prominent in my heart and in my life. I really want to worship him more. And so that’s why I want to talk about worship. In Matthew 28, verse 8-9, this is when the women found the empty tomb and they saw the angel who was there guarding that tomb. Look at the reaction of the two Mary’s. Matthew 28, verse eight. So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid, yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them. Greetings, he said, they came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Notice what it says.

It says, they came to him, clasped his feet, grabbed onto his feet. They’re on the ground. We are worshipping him. And you remember. And notice Jesus doesn’t shoo them away.

He doesn’t say, okay, stop that. The Apostles had that happen to them. And they say, hey, stand up. We’re men just like you. But Jesus lets them worship because he knows he is worthy of worship.

Have you fallen at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him? When was the last time you fell at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him? Guys, we need to worship him more this year. And so I have three quick thoughts about worship that I want to give you today, and I hope these will help you out. First of all, we got to worship him only. Worship him only. Matthew four, verse ten. Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan. For it is written, Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.

Notice, he says, Worship the Lord your God and serve him. Jesus had fasted 40 days and 40 nights. He was hungry. Satan comes to him with three strong temptations. And every single time Jesus got through the temptation with the word of God.

And he said to Satan very plainly, There is only one true God, and he alone is to be worshiped. Romans 1:21. Passage very familiar to many of you. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him. But their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and serve created things rather than the Creator who has forever praised Amen. Creation is never to be worshiped or served only the Creator. Why do I say that? Because sometimes we worship our families, we worship our kids, we worship our job, we worship our financial security, we worship our 401K or our 403 B.

If you don’t have either of those, you’re probably not worshipping those things. But I pray that you get those at some point going on.

We are never we are to worship the gifts, we are to worship the giver of the gifts. Every good and perfect gift comes from our Heavenly Father. We are to worship him only. Secondly, we are to worship him everywhere. We are to worship him everywhere.

Follow along. As I read Matthew 14 starting in verse 22. Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

Later that night he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before Dawn, Jesus went out to them walking on the Lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the Lake, they were terrified. It’s a ghost, they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them, Take courage.

It is I. Don’t be afraid. Lord, if it’s you, Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water. Come, he said. And I can imagine Jesus saying that with a smile on his face. I can imagine him saying there goes Peter again. Come on, Peter. Come on out here, man. He says, come. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink cried out, Lord, save me. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and called him, you of little faith. He said, Why did you doubt? And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him. There’s our word again, saying, Truly, you are the Son of God. What’s the scene that’s going on here? Well, Jesus, before all this, had just learned that King Herod had killed his cousin John. And when there’s a death in the family, it’s customary for us to want to get some time away.

When there’s any kind of tragedy, you want some time alone. So Jesus tries to break away, get some time alone. But the crowd found him, and he wound up serving 5000 people. He fed 5000 people. He fed them with five loaves of bread and two fish, little boys lunch box.

And then they took up enough pieces that all the single brothers had something to eat. I mean, it was pretty amazing. Then Jesus finally goes off by himself and he prays. That’s what he talks about in verse 23 and worships God. And then he walks on the water and he comes to the disciples.

He teaches them an incredible lesson about faith. I mean, what a day in the life of Jesus. This is incredible stuff. Don’t just let it wash over you. This is amazing stuff.

What an incredible day. And so in verse 33, what does it say? Then those who are in the boat, excuse me, worshiped him, saying, Truly, you are the Son of God. We have to praise Jesus everywhere. We have to worship him everywhere.

Have you worshiped Jesus in your boat? How about in your car? How about in your home or your workplace? How about when you’re mowing the grass? Or if you’re Carlos Gallejo or you’re painting the building?

How about when you’re doing the cooking or you’re doing the dishes? That’s my job at my place. You worship God then? Or you’re doing your homework. Students, if there are that many among us, or you’re just walking down the street, or maybe you’re jogging.

Have you worshiped God while you’re jogging and maybe why you’re involved in your exercise? Have you worshiped God when you’re stuck in traffic? And if there’s any time you need to worship the Lord is when you’re stuck in traffic because that Satan will mess with you there in a great way. How do we worship God when we’re doing all these things? You can just whisper words of praise to God.

You can just whisper words, God, I thank you for this lawn. I thank you for this lawn mower. I thank you that I have this house to mow this lawn in. I thank you for even giving me something at all.

There are times, guys, when I’ll go jogging and almost without fail, I’ll start that job just thanking God that I can still get out there and do it. Oh, my goodness gracious. And then I usually have to apologize to God because I’ll get out there and I’ll get started and something is aching that didn’t ache before I got up. And I think, Why? This is hard.

And I said, God, please forgive me. I’m sorry. I’m grateful. I can run. I don’t know about you.

And this is very serious. I know people who have never walked, they’ve been in a wheelchair all of their life. They didn’t have the privilege of being able to go jogging. So I said, God, please forgive me. I remember for a long time I struggled when Lepatic and I got immediately pregnant after marriage.

I’m talking a month and a half, and she starts telling me things about women and how your females work. And I said, what does that mean? And all this stuff. I mean, I was struggling. A brother was struggling.

And I used to say like, yeah, we had our first kid nine months and two days after we said, I do.

But you know what’s happened since then, I have talked to so many people who would love to have a family, who would love to be pregnant. And I said, God, please forgive me for not being grateful for the blessings that I have. Guys, there’s so much that we can praise God for with sports and athletics. As I said, I love sports. I enjoy.

I have a great time. Even now, if I go to YMCA and I’ll have a little workout, I’m on the treadmill, do a couple of weights. I know you can’t tell, but I may do that. And then I’ll go to the front desk. I said, Give me a basketball.

I just go to the gym and shoot a few Hoops. And I’ve reminisced about the good old days. I remember the good old days. Going to Freddie Bryant’s, groom honoring and from a standing position under the basket, I jumped up and slammed dunk. I had a serious vertical back then, but now I have a serious three inches and I’m grateful for that three inches. That’s all I have and I’m good with that. The main point I want to help you to understand is that God, we need to praise God, period. If you’re fishing and you haven’t caught any fish, praise God anyway. So what if you can’t dunk anymore?

Praise God anyway. We got a lot to praise him for. We need to praise God even despite the backlash that we sometimes get from others. And I thought about that because there was a situation where a preacher went to a restaurant, he’s going to have a meal. And the restaurant was particularly crowded.

It was kind of full that day. And he goes there and he sits down, he’s ready to eat. A guy comes over to him because the restaurant was crowded and said, hey, can I join you? And he says, sure, grab a seat. Then, as was his custom, the preacher bowed his head to pray for his meal.

And when he opened his eyes, the man looks at him and says, well, do you have a headache? And he says, no, I don’t. And the guy says again, well, there’s something wrong with your food. He said, no, I was simply thanking God for my meal, as I always do before I eat. And the man said, oh, you’re one of those.

Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow, and I don’t give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in. And the preacher looks at him and says, yes, you’re like my dog. That’s what he does, too.

Guys, we need to praise God. Even if there’s a backlash from others, we need to praise God, period. Psalm 150, verse one says, Praise the Lord, praise God in his sanctuary. Praise him in his mighty heavens. You know how big the heavens are.

It just simply means, Praise him, period. Praise him here, praise him there. Praise him everywhere. So not only are we to worship God only, we’re to praise him everywhere. But the third thought, and the last thought I want to leave with you before Communion is that we need to worship God sincerely.

Tyler brought up why we are here, and that’s the question that I wanted to pose for you. Why are you here? Why do you come? Why do you give when he talks about the offering, why do we do? Do you do what you do because you want to worship the Lord?

Or is there some kind of pressure that you’re putting on yourself, either internally or some pressure you feel externally? When I was young, I used to go to Church with my mom, mainly because she took the four of us younger ones with her, because I have a big family. There are eight siblings total, but she took us to Church, and Church was never really a bad experience for me. I kind of like going. We’d have Sunday school and all those memory scriptures, and my mom will always give us money to put in the collection plate.

And sometimes I think maybe that’s why I’m as consistent as I am today. Maybe it’s because of my mom’s example, I don’t know. But she will give us money to put in the collection plate. But the part I really liked is that she would give us extra money to go to the corner store after Church. And that was something I really look forward to, and I’m grateful that my mom did that for us.

My dad’s attitude was, if those kids want to go to Church with you, fine. But if they don’t want to go, you are not going to make them go. And so there was conflict in my house about that. But I’m grateful my mom took us anyway. Because I tell you what, guys, if we don’t give our high schoolers and middle schoolers at least a taste of righteousness, they ain’t getting none of it at school.

They’re not getting any. I know what little boys talked about on the back of the bus when I would go to basketball games. It was always about girls and sex and alcohol. It was nothing good. It was nothing pleasant.

So I am grateful that my mom exposed us to those things. And then as I got older and as I got older, I thought a lot about heaven and hell, and I thought about sin. And I knew I wasn’t right with God. I knew I was not right with God.

And yet at the same time I had a lot of pride. There was a lot of self reliance. I was a decent student in high school. I was not valedictorian or anything like that. But I was a decent student.

I was an honors student and that kind of thing. I was also on the basketball team and track team. I actually got a scholarship to go play ball at Stetson University. So I wasn’t the best athlete in the world. But I was decent.

I was okay. But those things made me self reliant. I really felt like and some of you may laugh, but when I got ready to go to College, I thought, I am worried about two things. The first one was food. I was used to my mom’s cooking.

I didn’t Cook. My grandmother said, Just go get some Spam and bread and you’re good to go. And I’m thinking, Spam, is that as good as it’s going to be for the next four years? So I was worried about food, and that was a big worry. But the other big worry was academic.

I really believed that I could major in anything. And I said, There are too many majors. I don’t know how to choose. How do I decide what I’m going to major in? And that’s how self reliant I was.

That’s how much I was prideful about myself. But then when I got to the University of Florida and I got with some of the brothers and spent some time and they shared with me, they studied the Bible with me. They helped me to see that despite how reliant I felt on myself, I could not deal with sin. I remember them talking about purity to me and understanding that lust was wrong. And I thought, how do I change how I view women?

I mean, come on. And then one brother shared Philippians 413 with me. And that verse simply talks about how we can do all things through Christ. And that really just relieved my soul. I said, okay, sign me up.

I got baptized into Christ. And in Galatians three, verse 26, it says, you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who are baptized in the Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

If you belong to Christ and you are Abraham seed and heirs according to the promise. Then after being baptized, then I started learning about sincere worship and what that’s all about to do what I do because I want to please God. I want God to be pleased with me because I love God. And so again I asked you, Why are you here? Why are you here?

Are you here because you want to worship Jesus? The women fell at Jesus feet, clasped his feet and worshiped. When Jesus got back into the boat after walking on water and allowing Peter to walk on water, the Bible says they worshiped Him. Our response to God has to be worship. The alternative, if we don’t worship Him sincerely, is scary.

Matthew 15, verse eight. These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teachings are but rules taught by men. We all need to examine our hearts when it comes to worship.

Our worship to God can be in vain, which means it’s futile. It’s useless. It’s not helpful at all. It’s hopeless. It’s pointless.

We need to worship Him sincerely. Two Corinthians 13, verse five. Another great passage. Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.

Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you? Unless, of course, you failed the test. This is a test that we simply cannot fail. Brothers and sisters, we must not fail this test. Let me conclude with the passage here in Psalm 95, verse 6-8.

It says, Come, let us bow down in worship. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not Harden your hearts.

Jesus told the woman at the well. He says, if you knew the gift of God and who it is who is speaking to you, you would have asked Him and he would have given you living water. I really believe sometimes that’s how God looks at us. And man, if you understood who you were talking to when you pray, if you understood what I have done, if you understood how incredible my love is for you, if you really understood this, then you would be falling on your knees before me in praise. He is our Maker.

He is our Waymaker, our miracle worker, our promise keeper, our light in the darkness. That’s who he is. We need to praise Him. He mends the broken hearts. Heals the broken hearts.

He is our living water. And so right now as we get ready to take Communion, I pray that you’ll embark with me on a journey this year to worship God like you never have before to really be aware of his goodness and his greatness and his Holiness. I mean every person who met Jesus fell in worship before him. That was the reaction he always had. So let’s go ahead and we’ll pray for the Communion and take that together now.

So pray with me please.