Today, I want to continue our study through the book of Romans and speak on the topic of worship. In my last sermon, I talked about the importance of fixing our eyes on Jesus. He is the only essential thing that ultimately matters and all other non-essentials from our past, present and future need to be put away.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus. Gazing at him. Adoring him. This is worship. King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes that God has set eternity in the hearts of men. This means we are eternal beings and things on this earth may satisfy us for a short while. But only something or rather someone that is eternal will satisfy us now and for all time. We were made to worship God.
Guys know that we were meant for worship around this time of season when college football and the NFL begins. You get a bunch of football fans watching a game and cheering their team, and it’s not just hanging out, it’s an event, it’s a worship service.
Or you listen to a good piece of music, some Mozart or Bach, you get lost in the music. That’s worship.
Or you watch a beautiful performance like Twitch doing a hip hop dance on “So You Think You Can Dance.” You see that and you wish you could do that, but you can’t do it. You look nasty. Like me when I dance. I’m nasty, I know that. So when we see Twitch, we just raise our hands in surrender. That’s worship.
Or for a Caltech student, you come across a mathematical formula that is so profound yet you marvel at its simplicity and elegance. That’s worship.
Or when you go on a vacation and you see the beauty and majesty of nature. Like Yosemite or Banff or the Grand Canyon or my personal favorite, the Berkeley Marina overlooking the Golden Gate bridge. The scene is breath-taking. It takes our breath away. We are awestruck. That’s worship.
Or for a parent, you gaze into the eyes of your newborn child and you feel like time stands still. You can stay in that moment forever. That moment reveals our need to worship, that we were made to worship something, or someone.
This is how our relationship with God should be. He is more exciting than our favorite football team winning the championship. He is more of a genius than Mozart or Bach or Einstein or Newton all put together. He is a better dancer than Twitch, at least I think so. And we gaze into God’s eyes and we lose ourselves, all of problems get reduced down to size and we gain perspective, we are awestruck by his glory and his majesty.
What happens when we stop worshiping God? Naturally, we begin to worship something else. We call this idolatry. This is what we read in Rom 1:18-25.
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21For 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. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen… 28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. ~Rom 1:18-25, 28-32
Because we have eternity stamped on our hearts, we will always look for something or someone to worship. And Paul argues that every single person should be able to conclude that there is a God in the universe. There are no excuses. Why? Because it says in Rom 1:20, since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen from what has been made. His creation shouts of God’s existence.
You can’t look at the beauty of a flower, or the starry night sky, or the amazing complexity of a single cell with a nucleus and mitochondria and conclude that this universe is the byproduct of random chance. This is Paul’s argument.