April 9-10, 2005
We love mirrors. Our culture is mesmerized by them. Most of us regularly look into a mirror. And we really can’t pass by a mirror without glancing at it. Some of us do it covertly—kind of a quick look. Others of us are pretty overt about. We check out our teeth, our hair, our clothing. We’re into mirrors aren’t we?
Why do we look in a mirror? We look in a mirror because the mirror tells us what we look like. There’s a rumor out there that some guys even flex in front of a mirror. It’s just a rumor, though. I don’t believe it.
Mirrors are very important. A lot of us live our lives without understanding the true essence and the depth of mirrors. We’re made as mirrors. We’re made to reflect stuff. And the stuff, the essence of what I’m talking about is God. We’re made to reflect God. We’re mirrors.
We’ve been talking about the Garden over the last several sessions now. Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had a perfect mirror. When God looked at them he saw himself reflected in a pristine fashion. Man and woman sinned. The mirror was marred. God didn’t say it was the end of the hunt. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our mirrors that were marred. And here’s what he said in John 19:30, “It is finished.”
Thus, if we apply the finished work of Christ, he can refinish our mirrors. That’s the good news. We can reflect something called the glory of God. What’s the glory of God? The glory of God is that we have the opportunity to mirror the majesty of our Maker, to display the design of God. Because God has the unique design for every single person here.
How’s your mirror? What is your mirror like? Is it cracked with anger? Is it all foggy with lust? Is it ornate with materialism? What kind of mirror are you? Who are you reflecting? What are you reflecting?
Think back over the last week. If you could freeze frame every conversation, every exchange, everything you did, would that mirror the majesty of our Maker? If God looked at that frame, would he see himself reflected back? Or something else? We’re here to glorify God. We’re here to reflect him. Was does it really mean, though, to reflect the glory of God? In one word it means “worship.”
What does it mean to worship? To worship means to have a passion for God’s fashion. What’s God’s fashion? We’ve been talking about that. It’s being clothed in Christ. Jesus Christ has given us this incredible garment. We either clothe ourselves in Christ or not.
How do we know if we’re clothed in Christ? We have got to look into a mirror. I’m not talking about a physical mirror. I’m talking about the mirror of the Word of God. The Bible is a mirror. The Bible says it’s a mirror. As we look in the mirror, we see who we’re wearing and how we’re wearing him. We’re seeing where we are. Are you looking in the mirror? Or are you just glancing?
In James Chapter 1 it says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” I think it’s interesting that James used a man looking in a mirror and forgetting what he looks like, because there is no way that a woman would! “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom”—that’s his ultimate mirror—“and continues to do this”—we don’t just look into a mirror once or twice or every other day—“not forgetting what he’s heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”
What does it mean to be blessed? It means to be on the receiving end of the tangible and intangible favor of God. God blesses us intangibly. He blesses us in ways that we can’t really measure—through love and through his grace and mercy and all that. But God also blesses us tangibly with stuff that we can measure, stuff we can feel, stuff we can touch. Matter matters. God blesses us when we’re clothed in Christ and when we regularly and constantly look at ourselves in the mirror.
I think back to Isaiah Chapter 14. Lucifer, who led worship, in essence, looked at himself in the mirror and said, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the greatest of them all?” And Lucifer said, “I am.” So he tried to elevate himself above the Lord. Because of that, God cast him out of heaven. He (Lucifer) took with him a third of the angels, which are called fallen angels, the realm of the demonic. It all happened because of pride. We have got to look in the mirror.
When I look into a mirror, I’m thinking about myself. But I’m also thinking about how I look toward others and how others see me. And you’re the same way.
And as I look at myself in this mirror (the Bible), it shows me who I really am. That’s why so often we’re kind of afraid to look at it. We might kind of glance at it, but we are afraid to look intently at the mirror. God wants us to make this awesome fashion statement. He wants us to model him. He wants us to wear him so everyone can see the difference that he makes. It’s all about looking in the mirror.
Colossians 1:16, “All things…” The word “all” here means everything. I just wanted you to understand that. “All things were created by Him for Him.” I love that verse. All things were made, were fashioned, by him and for him. God loves us. Why? So we can love him. Is God an egomaniac? No! It’s the God-centeredness of God. God loves us; he gives us the capacity to love him. Why does he do that? Because he knows if we love anything else we’re going to be gravely disappointed. How do we love God? We love God by clothing ourselves in Christ and by regularly looking into his mirror.
I want to toss out some statements about this topic, some statements that we need to unpack, because God wants us to understand the essence of why we’re here. He wants us to understand what it means to glorify him. What does that mean? It means to reflect him. What does reflection mean? It means to worship him. What does worship mean? It means to have a passion for God’s fashion. It means to wear his thread. Do you have your thread on your wrist? Man, people throughout the community when they see me [and show me the thread they’re wearing and say], “Thanks for the thread!” And I go, “Yeah!”
THE THREAD OF WORSHIP IS COMPREHENSIVE
Here’s the first statement: the thread of worship, or you could say the thread of glorifying God, is comprehensive. You see, it wraps around our wrist. It is comprehensive. We’re made to worship. All of us are worshipers. You show me the biggest hell-raising, skirt-chasing, crack-smoking guy in the Metroplex, and that guy is a worshiper. He might not call it that, but he’s worshiping. We’re all worshipers. We’re going to worship. And God says, “Don’t waste your worship. Don’t waste it.”
What do we worship? It’s very easy to tell what we worship. We can look at our calendars, our palm pilots, our checkbooks, talk to our friends, to see how we allocate our time. We’re worshiping something. The Metroplex is full of worshipers. Some people worship cars, clothes, houses, position, spouses, or friends. We’re worshiping stuff.
I hate to admit this, but one time I saw Celine Dion in concert. Rob [Johnson] and I joke around that we know you’ll always give a singer a standing ovation if that singer sings a Celine song. “Yeah, Celine!” It only takes one person for a standing ovation. Have you ever seen that? But don’t you feel like an idiot when you’re the only one standing and everybody else is like, “Why are standing?” Celine Dion. Women around Lisa and I were crying. People were standing with their cell phones up in the air, lifting their hands, and going bonkers. “Celine!”
I looked around—at that time it was in Reunion Arena—and I was like, “Man, great worship. Wrong object.” Celine?! Now she’s awesome and the girl’s great! She’s got some pipes, man. But don’t waste your worship. Don’t waste it.
We’re wired for worship. We’re going to do it. Everybody is a worshiper. God loves us so that we can love him. God loves us so we can worship him, because that is when we’ll discover the best for our lives.
We don’t come to Fellowship Church to worship. If we’re Christ followers, we don’t come to worship. We come worshiping. We don’t come here to glorify God. We come here glorifying God. We don’t come here to be clothed in Christ. We’re already dressed. Everything we do, say, touch, and feel should be an act of worship.
Go back to the question I asked you earlier. If you could freeze frame your life and if God looked at those images, would he see himself? Or would he see a mirror marred with anger, fogged up by lust, ornate with greed and materialism? Maybe it’s cracked with a character defect. Christians, man, believers; we should get more out of life than anybody! Unbelievers should look at us and their heads should just snap back like, “Whoa! Look at the joy you have in your life. Look at the freedom you have in your life!” because we’re living life the way it’s supposed to be lived.
I’m not talking about happiness. Happiness is based on happenings. I want to throw up, I’m sorry, vomit when someone tells me, “Well, God just wants me to be happy.” No he doesn’t! You will not find that in the Bible. It’s not in there.
God wants us to be obedient. When we’re obedient, then the feelings will follow. But I’m talking about joy, because that’s what the Bible talks about. Joy is tranquility of the soul. It’s deep. Happy is shallow. Joy is deep. We should be the happiest people out there as believers. But deeper than happiness, we should have the joy that is constant, the joy that is unending because we’re making a fashion statement of faith, man. We have ups and downs and all that. I understand that. But that joy thing should be constant because we’re modeling the majesty of our Maker.
We’re going to worship. Worship is comprehensive.
THE THREAD OF WORSHIP IS COMPETITIVE
Here’s something else about worship. This is the second statement I’ll throw out. Worship is competitive. Worship is like you’re on a battlefield. If you take your Bibles and turn to Acts Chapter 17, the apostle Paul was talking to some Epicureans and some stoic philosophers about Jesus. They brought him to a place called the Areopagus. The word Areopagus means “a place of battle,” “a place of competition.” It was a place littered with all of these idols. They had idols for this and idols for that; God’s for this and God’s for that. Paul saw one idol, and on the bottom of it was this inscription, “To an Unknown God.”
So let’s peer over the apostle’s shoulder as he gives this sermon to these people. This is a microwave message that’ll blow your mind. It’s all about the competitive nature of worship, because we’re all at the Areopagus. I’ll tell you in a second.
[Acts 17:24-27] “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” In other words, when we met in MacArthur High School for all those years, God didn’t live in MacArthur High School. When we moved out here to Grapevine, we didn’t move God into another building.
Verses 25-27, “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
Isn’t that awesome? “God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him…” You see, we have a choice don’t we? “…though He is not far from each one of us.”
And Paul began to talk and reason with them. We all have a search engine inside our spirit. We’re searching, we’re seeking, for the ultimate worship. God is the ultimate. We’re wired for it. He loves us so we can love him, because that is when we’ll hit on all cylinders. That’s when we’ll reflect the majesty of our Maker.
But see, we’re all worshiping in the middle of Mars Hill. We’re all at the Areopagus because there are so many idols vying for your time and mine. Am I right? We have all these idols that say, “Worship me. Worship me. Worship me. Worship me.” And a lot of people bow down and worship sports and we worship relationships and we worship this situation or that adrenaline rush.
Don’t waste your worship. Seek God first. Reflect Him. Make the fashion statement of faith. And you’ll know you’re doing it as you look in the ultimate mirror. And then you’ll get the most out of this one and only life. You’ll get the most out of it.
That’s why Christians should be the most joyful people on the planet—worship. It’s competitive. In Matthew Chapter 4, Jesus was tempted by the evil one. After he fasted 40 days and 40 nights he was out there in the wilderness, and what did Satan say? “Hey, you know, if you want to, you can turn those stones into bread.” And then he said, “You know, if you’ll serve me, I’ll kind of make you king. You can run the show on earth. And, you know, you can jump off the temple because you know the angels will catch you.”
And Jesus said, “No, no.”
And then Satan said, “Well, I tell ya what. Why don’t you go to the beautiful mountains with me; and if you bow down and worship me, then, you know, everything will be cool.”
And Jesus said, in Matthew 4:10, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
Worship is competitive. The enemy has all these things vying for your time and mine. He wants to waste our time. He wants us to waste our worship. And we come to the end of our life and we miss it. And speaking about the end of our life, here’s the third statement I want to toss out to you about worship.
THE THREAD OF WORSHIP IS CONTINUOUS
Worship is continuous. Those of us who are clothed in Christ will spend eternity with Jesus. At the end of our life, we’ll face him and he’ll say, “You know, by my grace and mercy you clothed yourself in me. You worshiped me. You didn’t waste your worship. And because of that you’re going to get a greater measure of that in heaven.”
Every time we see a glimpse of heaven we see worship. And I’m not talking about a church service. I’m not talking about a sermon. Worship is a 24/7 deal. In heaven, we will continue about our purpose and our plan in a perfect environment. Our mirrors will not be marred with sin. They’ll be perfect. It’ll be incredible. I think if the Bible told us more about heaven, a lot of us would be jumping in front of cars on the freeway just to get there. I believe that.
The Bible also talks about hell. And don’t get mad at me when I talk about hell because Jesus talked about hell more than anybody. He’s the one that says if you have a problem with it, talk to him about it. But God does not, as I always say, hurl anybody to hell. We make that choice. We make that choice.
But the Bible says, specifically in Romans 14:11 (KJV), “Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue confess to God.” I’ve always wondered about that verse. Wait a minute, how could every knee bow when some people are going to hell? That’s kind of, you know, different. That’s kind of weird.
But it’s not weird. It’s truth, because it’s in the Bible. Those people who’ve chosen to reject God, those people who have done the Heisman in every, every opportunity, they will get a greater measure of that in a place called hell. But before they go to hell, they will see God face to face. And you cannot see God without bowing the knee and confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. So they will have that image burned into their memory banks forever and ever and ever as they live in a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place of utter isolation called hell.
So yeah, everybody will hit their knees and say, “Jesus Christ is Lord.” And that’s why we’re so passionate at Fellowship Church about reaching people who don’t know Christ. Yeah, we’re all about feeding believers and building them up. But we’re also all about serving seekers, because the stakes are sky high. Who knows, this could be the last chance a lot of people will ever have in this room to ever know Christ personally, to ever clothe yourself in Jesus. Because many people here are just one prayer away, one decision away, one step away from clothing yourself in Christ.
And all you have to do is say, to the best of your ability, “Jesus, I turn from my junk. I admit to you my mirror is all messed up. I want to apply your finished work. You refinish my mirror. You come into my life. I give you everything—tax, title and license.”
BOOM! The moment you say it, Christ is in your life. And that’s it. It takes one time.
“Well, Ed, I don’t understand it all.”
I don’t either! I still have a lot of questions.
As you look at your life, as you look at your wardrobe, what are you wearing? Who are you wearing? How are you wearing him? Are you looking at the mirror? Are you reflecting God? Or are you a mirror? Are you a mirror?
As I concluded last session, I told you I’d answer three questions. And here’s what I said. Last week I said, this week I’m going to tell you how to glorify God when we’re eating a steak. I said, you know, you can do that.
And I said I’m also going to answer the question: how do you shop for the glory of God? You know I told you I’d answer that question.
And then I said that I was going to tell you how you can make love to your spouse for the glory of God.
You might be saying, “Well, Ed, wait a minute. You haven’t even talked about that, brother.”
I’m going to right now. Okay, against the backdrop of what we’ve talked about so far—we’re here to glorify God, to reflect the majesty of our Maker. To glorify God means to what? To worship. And to worship God means to have a passion for his fashion. To understand how we’re wearing him, we’ve got to look into the ultimate mirror. Not just glance at it, but look at it. The word of God, the written revelation of God.
Here’s how you eat a steak for the glory of God. Here’s how you can worship when you eat a steak. First of all you say, “God, thank you for the steak. Thank you for the ability to eat. Thank you for taste buds. I mean, God, you could have made everything, because you’re God, taste like cardboard or broccoli. But you didn’t! Thank you, God. And I can sit down with some friends and my family, and we can have this cool conversation and we can enjoy food. And this food will energize me to better serve you, to better make that fashion of faith, and to better reflect you. So, yeah, God! This is awesome.”
And I eat steak in moderation, of course, because you know too much red meat is not good for your arteries and stuff like that. You know you don’t want to be gluttonous. And then too, when you’re ordering steak, you might not want to always order the biggest. If you’re grilling steaks, you don’t say, “Oh, I’ll take the biggest one and you have the left over.” No, no. You might want to be a servant, you know. So we can glorify God as we eat steak. Protein. Yeah! It’s good, it’s good. That’s how you do it. That’s worship.
“How, Ed, do you shop for the glory of God?”
The ladies are like, “Wow, I cannot wait for this!”
Everything we have comes from God. God’s the Blessor. I did a series on this. We’re blessed, because we’re in the zone. And then, we can become a blessing. Everything you have and I have is from God. I don’t own anything. You don’t either. We’re stewards, we’re managers, we’re not owners. The Bible tells me and it tells you when we receive tangible stuff, money. Or, as Uncle Rico says, “Sweet moola.” We should bring—the Bible says this—the first portion, the first 10%, into our local house of worship.
If this is your church, this is where you should worship God that way. If you go somewhere else, that’s what you should do. Everything comes from God. I should bring it. Now I’m not talking about giving, because it’s not yours or mine. We bring it; we bring 10% in the local house. Because if we bring that first fruit, the rest will be blessed.
So we have an option. Do you want God to bless the rest or curse the rest? It’s your option. It’s mine. We bring the first 10%. Then we, hopefully, save 10%. Then we live on 80.
And when it comes to 80, we can shop for the glory of God. We’re shopping and looking and God has given us this ability to recognize colors and things and fashion and all this stuff. And that’s fine as long as you don’t OD on it. And we look and we can buy stuff. Maybe we buy stuff for others and buy stuff to wear and make us look good and all this stuff.
But here’s the question: where do faith and fashion collide? Because, ladies, you buys clothes. But as you wear the clothes, do they glorify God? Because what you show is who you will attract. Hello!
We can glorify God by shopping. Everything I have comes from God. God even clothed me, because every cloth is made from thread, and the threads are made from something God’s made himself. So, I can wear the stuff and buy the stuff and give it away and wear it. I think our desire to wear clothes comes from this desire from God. Because there’s a greater desire to be clothed in Christ. So, yeah, you can shop and worship God.
The next thing is sex. A couple of guys woke up. “Whoa, what?!” How can we have sex and worship God? We can. Sex was God’s invention. So if you have a problem with me saying it, don’t send me an email, because the number one place we should talk about sex is in the family. The second place is in the church family. And one of the reasons so many of us are messed up about sex is we never heard anybody talk about it in church. Sex is not dirty. It’s invented by God. And God gave it to us for pleasure primarily, secondarily for procreation. And understand this: pleasure was God’s invention, not the enemy’s. I hope you understand that.
But here’s where we mess it up. We take a God-given gift and use it in a God-forbidden way. Steak? We eat 10 steaks. [Ed imitates Fat Albert] “Hey, hey, hey!”
Shopping? We rob God. We don’t bring the tithe. We overspend. We’re drowning in a sea of depth. We use a God-given gift and a God-forbidden way.
How about sex? It’s reserved for the marriage bed—one man, one woman together. Not your boyfriend, not your finance, not on prom night. Do it God’s way. God has given us sex primarily for pleasure, secondarily for procreation. Thus, when a husband and wife come together in sexual intercourse, they’re reflecting the majesty of our Maker—the masculine and the feminine aspects of God are being joined together. They’re reflecting the Trinity. Hello! God the father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Three in one; one in three.
When you think about the Trinity, you think about community, you think about oneness. What does the Bible say? Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become…” What? “…one flesh.”
You realize one day you’ll stand before God and God will say, “How did you fulfill the sexual desires of your spouse?” You can glorify God when you’re having sex with your spouse.
We’ve got eating a steak, we’ve got shopping, and we’ve got having sex. So guys listen. You take your wife out for a steak dinner, and then take her shopping—you’re going to have sex! And the thing about it is you can worship in everything you’re doing!
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]
Next time we talk about Thread, part four. Now this is going to be cool, because we’re going to talk about the fact that Jesus called God his Father—not his grandfather—his Father.
How do we worship God, how do we glorify God in spirit and in truth? That’s next time. I’ll see you later with the Thread.