Image of a cross

Keeping up Appearances

Dr. Jonathan Sloan gives a sermon about the purpose of worship so that we can remember where our focus should be as we come together to worship God. Based on Matthew 23:1-12.

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*Call to Worship (Responsive)
We do not worship to impress others;
we come in praise and thanksgiving.
We do not seek the Word to put ourselves above others;
we learn so that our journey draws us closer to the Lord.
Whether Sunday morning in worship or Thursday evening at home, we are called to be gentle examples of God’s love, quietly teaching in His name, not for our glory.
Let us worship God!

*Prayer of Confession (Unison)
Dear Jesus, every day we find ourselves in situations that can either build us up, or knock us down. Some days we respond by using our relationship with You to place ourselves in the lime light; sometimes we deny You to better fit in with the crowd. Help us to be true to You and to ourselves; to always present ourselves as Your followers with love and humility. Help us to make our first impression one that will always please You…

*Assurance of Pardon
Jesus was battered and torn as He walked to His death. People mocked and denied Him, but He proudly led the way to everlasting life by forgiving our sins from the very cross on which He hung.
Thanks be to God!

Matthew 23:1-12 (NRSV)

Jesus Denounces Scribes and Pharisees
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6 They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9 And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.