Sparta Baptist Church

Advent Day 3

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“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:  to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say:  Here I am.”  Isaiah 58:6-9

What is true worship?  Is it singing songs and going to church every Sunday, or is there more?  Jesus said, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)

As Christians, we want to be the kind of worshipers the Father seeks, those who worship in spirit and in truth.  But how do we do that?  We can certainly worship the Lord on Sundays at church, but the God who saved us deserves much more than that!  Just like the Israelites, who had special days of worship and fasting set aside each year, we have a special day for worship set aside in our week.  We take that time to go to church, study God’s word together and worship Him with His people; but what about the rest of the week? How do we live our lives as soon as we leave church on Sunday? 

Knowing that worshiping Christ means loving Him more than anything else, we must ask, “How do we show our love for Him?” 1 John 5:3 says, “This is love for God: to obey His commands.”  We show our love for Christ by obeying His word.  Just as God told the Israelites in Isaiah that He did not desire days of fasting, it is not a weekly day of worship He desires from us so much as our obedience every day.  So, what are His commands? 

Matthew 22:36-40 tells us that when asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus said, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 

Jesus taught that we are to love Him and to love others.  As we show His love in our daily lives, we are worshiping Him because we are being obedient.  Consider how you can show His love today.

Worship:  Read Matthew 25:31-46.  Discuss people in your lives who might be considered “the least of these.”  How can you minister to them?  How can you show your love for Christ by loving them?  Pray.  Ask God to open your eyes so that you can see the people around you in need and prepare your heart to meet their needs.  Thank Him for the many blessings He has given you and ask Him for an opportunity to share those blessings with someone else today.

Family Focus:  As a family, choose a project to help meet the needs of others.  You might clean out the pantry together, taking items to the church’s food pantry.  You may have a “spring cleaning day” in December and donate clothing and other items to the local Crisis Center.  You might identify a family in need and take a meal to them; participate in the Angel Tree project or sponsor a child through Compassion International.  The opportunities to help others are endless!