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was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory." (John 1:14)

What Does God Think Of Emotion

 

Mark 11:8-9

 9 He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around him were shouting, NLT

Luke 19:37

37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; KJV

 

I have had a long and varied history in the church world.

I have learned how to honour God in settings that were very rigid and I have learned how to worship God in situations that were pretty wild.

I understand the thinking and the mentality of those who enjoy liturgy and I understand the thinking of those who like free style worship.

I believe that there are good people and great Christians in each camp and everywhere in between.

The last thing that I think should ever happen is that we would despise someone who is worshiping God from their heart in whatever way they are doing it.

When I personally worship God I love it when his presence touches me in such a way that it brings an emotional response from me.

But I do not like it when emotion is trumped up by hysteria instead of and emotional response to the presence of God or to the truth of god’s word.

I do not look for God to do the same thing in every service because I know the needs are different every time. But having said that I do have a favorite service that I like to see weather that is right or wrong. I think we all have those biases.

I am sure if you were to ask Peter James and John they would each tell you about their favorite moments with Jesus.

I loved it when he stood up in the boat and stilled the storm. I loved it when Moses and Elijah appeared and we heard the voice from heaven. I loved it when the loaves and fishes started multiplying.

I love how John starts his book:

 

1 John 1:1-2

1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. NIV

 

These verses talk about the experience of God not just the knowledge about God.

There’s a feeling in these verses that you experience of touch and sound and sight.

There’s something here that stirs the emotions a little.

Our emotions which were created by God respond to different things. They respond to facts that we see and hear. And they respond to experiences that we feel.

And so it is with our experience with God.

 

Ps 47:1-2

Come, everyone, and clap your hands for joy! Shout to God with joyful praise!

2 For the LORD Most High is awesome. NLT

 

That is to me just getting excited about some facts about God. Some things that in the middle of this road to heaven that seems to have some bumps on it that we stop and share with one another who God is and what he can do and get excited about it.

The praise I am talking about is the result of a condition of the heart.

 

Ps 4:7

7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. KJV

 

This kind of experience brings this kind of reaction

 

Ps 103:1

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. KJV

 

There is always something within us that wants to express itself to God through our mouths.

There is something within us that causes our whole bodies to respond to the emotions of life.

We want to dance or to clap our hands when excitement hits us. Even at a sports event you see this kind of emotional response. I believe it is wrong to try to not have this in our worship.

I think that worship that involves reflecting of gods love or grace or power or kindness should generate an emotional response.

There are no warnings in the word of God about being emotional in the presence of God. The only guideline to me is it should be done decently and in order.

Hysteria where attention is drawn to the worshiper instead of the object of worship is wrong. Especially when the response is an extreme over reaction with unacceptably violent or strange emotion.  

This is what has turned people away from appropriate emotion and worship where expression is promoted and enjoyed.

Because there is a whole part of us beyond the physical that need to learn to be involved in worship.

All that is within me is a big line.

If our lives are only mental and physical they are boring.

We love it when joy causes laughter or facts go beyond the mind to the emotions.

We were made for that.

But there is a side of us that doesn’t want to be seen that way in public either.

I think Michael expressed it for us in the book of

 

2 Sam 6:14-16

14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might, wearing a priestly tunic.   15 So David and all Israel brought up the Ark of the LORD with much shouting and blowing of trumpets.

16 But as the Ark of the LORD entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she was filled with contempt for him.

20 When David returned home to bless his family, Michal came out to meet him and said in disgust, "How glorious the king of Israel looked today! He exposed himself to the servant girls like any indecent person might do!"  NLT

 

This is the result of pride. The hiding of our real inner expression and feeling

 

I don’t want to be too hard on those who feel this way because a major portion of our Christian culture has been taught to think and act like this. Often beautiful Christians who have been told that emotional response to worship is wrong.

 I believe that the true Christian attitude toward this discussion is the same as it should be toward any other controversy that is not essential to the Christian faith.

 

 

Rom 14:20

20 For meat destroy not the work of God

KJV

 

But I want to say that heaven is filled with emotional worship and the Old Testament is filled with it and it seems to be very much a part of what we as people experience in every other area of life that we enjoy.

 

This message that we are preaching on this morning to me is the result of God wanting to celebrate the victory even before the fight.

Palm Sunday if our chance to enjoy the finished work of Calvary even before we look at the cross.

The cross was in no way a battle for God nor something he wondered what the outcome would be. And as we face Easter week I think it is time the we did so with joy and singing and victory rather than thinking that this was a battle that was almost lost.

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a conquering king with shouts of praise and he sang this is the day on the way to the cross.

We need to spend more time thinking about the victory of the cross rather than seeing it as a semi defeat.

And in doing so we need to know that as the result of that whole experience we are more than conquers.

 

Amen, God Bless You & Your Family

Pastor John Stewart

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