Rev Aly Tunstall

Reading: Matthew 28: 16-20 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28%3A16-20&version=NIV)

This passage has really spoken to me over the past week, as it’s really made me question where I am with my faith. And the reason for this is that one sentence really jumped out at me as I read it – not just the first time, and it’s verse 17 -‘when they saw him, they worshipped him even though some of them doubted.’

So, is it ok to doubt our faith? If we do have times of doubt does that make any difference to our faith or relationship with Jesus? I wonder as you read this passage does it make you think about this too?

I ask this because often when we doubt, guilt starts within our hearts, we begin to beat ourselves up – therefore we stop worshipping God and it then takes away from our relationship with him. And to put this into some kind of perspective its here in black and white. The disciples worshipped and obeyed Jesus even though some of them doubted.

So, if the disciples doubted, even though they had lived, worked and were the closest friends to Jesus, then it stands to reason that there will be times in our lives that doubt will sneak in. But I think it’s more about what we do with that doubt that makes a difference. You see when doubt creeps in there are a few things we need to do. Firstly, we need to be open and honest about our doubt by taking it to Jesus, telling him how we feel, so that he can help us come against the doubt we feel. And we can have complete confidence he will help us because Matthew 7:7 it says this:

“Ask and it shall be given to you: seek and you will find; knock and the door shall be opened to you.“

So, if we seek Jesus, we will find him – if we ask, he will give us what we ask for and, in this case, to take our doubt away

We should also recognise that the disciples kept on worshipping Jesus through their doubt and we must do the same. We need to keep on worshipping Jesus and put him first and foremost in our lives as this will draw us closer to him and strengthen our faith.

This brings though some more questions: what is worship? Why do we worship? How do we worship? And does worship change things? Maybe you could ponder these questions over the next week or so for yourselves, but for now here are a few of my thoughts.

So what is worship?

Webster’s dictionary describes worship as:

Worship is to honour with extravagant love and extreme submission… to venerate…. to idolise  

And Romans 12: 1 says:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of Gods mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and living worship”

And so worship for me is about loving something so much that it always comes first in your life – the Bible tells us the only thing we should worship is God, so it’s about putting God before all else in our lives – before our families, our friends, our hobbies… true worship is having God at the centre of our lives, submitting ourselves to him, and obeying him in all we do. The priority in our lives should, and has to be God, then and only then will we find freedom, peace and justice in the world. When God is at the centre, all other things fall into place.

Sadly though, we think that the only time to worship is on a Sunday morning in church through our hymns, bible readings, sermon and prayers. Although this is a part of worship, if it stays at just this, we are sadly missing the point because as we have seen, this is only a part of worship.

Why should we worship ?

Luke 4:8 tells us to:

“Worship the lord your God and serve only him”

We worship God simply because he is God and is worthy of our praise. Without him our lives would remain empty, and we would remain dead in our sins, without any hope. God loves us, and commands us to worship him and when we do worship him, it strengthens and grows our relationship with him.

What Things change through our worship?

John 4: 24 says:

“God is spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the spirit according to the truth to worship him”

Worship changes us because it enables us to grow closer to God, it allows us to see more of him. And this is because it enables the Holy Spirit to come upon us as we open ourselves up in worship. And it’s only when this happens that we can have this intimate relationship with him and go and do what Jesus commissions us to do (just as he did with the disciples)

“to go then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptise them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 says:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you.”

Through our worship and obedience to Jesus and being filled with his spirit we are able to do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine because through Jesus everything is possible. That being said, we can sometimes feel that we haven’t got the confidence to do what he calls us to do – because we think we don’t know the bible well enough or we are only new Christians. Maybe we think we haven’t got the words to use or that people might laugh at us. In fact, it all seems a little too scary…!!

I want you to know today, Jesus has called us all to be his disciples and to make disciples of other people, to baptise people in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and to teach people to do his will. He will give you everything you need to do just that, so be assured that he will never leave you or forsake you and he will be with you always to the end of the age.

I want to finish with a verse from Deuteronomy 31:6 and it says this:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you.”

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