Providing a sermon that dovetailed nicely with the recent messages from Pastor Giardino, guest Pastor Scott Strobel spoke to a Sunday night congregation about “The Essence of Worship”. Pastor Strobel hails from First Bible Baptist Church in Lockport, NY and has been a pastor for 22 years.
Stating that his sermon would be an introduction to worship, Pastor Strobel, right from the start laid out his objective for the evening, which was to show us how to become more spiritual. Just as new Christians are still carnal in nature and must “take root as a child of God”, so too do all Christians need to be fed and grow in the Word.
Pastor Stobel began by introducing us to the story in II Kings chapter 17, where the nation of Israel was carried away out of the land of Samaria and into Assyria. The king of Assyria then resettled the land with peoples from many foreign lands, but problems befell the new inhabitants who knew not and feared not the God of the land. Despite the help from re-introduced priests from Israel, the inhabitants continued in their old ways. The chapter goes on to declare the charge given by God to the formal people of the land, Israel, in verse 35, which contain 4 “Do Not’s”, and verse 36, which contains 3 “Do’s”. By listing and contrasting the two on a board before the congregation, Pastor Strobel demonstrated that: Bow + Serve = Worship. Thus, “the essence of worship is to bow and serve.”
Pastor Strobel defined bowing as “reverence before God”, having a “position of humility”, and being as a “student sitting before omniscience “. He expressed the importance of “bowing time”, of getting alone with God, finding a prayer closet, so that God can fill you, feed you, and show you things. Next, Pastor Strobel defined serving as “getting busy for God”, spending time and energy in the service of God. By combining bowing with serving, worship is created. Both are needed; neither can stand alone without eventual troubles befalling a Christian soul. By using salt, Na-Cl, as the example, Pastor Strobel expressed how together sodium chloride is useful and beneficial, but apart as separate ions, both are dangerous. Luke 10:38-40 was used to illustrate both parts of worship, where Martha complains during her service to Jesus and “Mary hath chosen that good part”, sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening. Revelation chapter 2 is message to one of the seven churches, Ephesus, and another example of needing both elements of worship. Pastor Stobel pointed out God’s warning to that church, that regardless of their works, “thou hast left thy first love”. By their own choice, they had lost their humility and were not bowing before God. They were told to “repent, and do the first works” or lose their place among the seven churches.
We were exhorted to make certain we have both bowing and service as part of our Christian worship. First to bow, then to serve, as order is important. We first must make time to be alone with God, to fill up with the Word of God, to make ourselves ready before we serve the Lord. Pastor Strobel stated, “Don’t serve before you have something to serve with.” This avoids getting burned out in the course of our service. Using bible verses, he showed that we need to have the heart of a servant, to have a right relationship with the Lord, and to serve with our spirit, as did Paul in Romans 1:9.