Journey to the Light | Worry to Worship

Understanding How To Worship Instead of Worry This Christmas

James Greer
Dec 25, 2022    18m
This Christmas, lean in with us as Pastor James walks us through how to worship instead of worry. Only when we truly trust in our Lord and depend upon Him will we experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:00] Tonight is God wants us to worship and not worry. Amen. God wants us to worship, not worry. I was hoping y'all came to worship, not worry. Amen. Act like it. Tell your face that. Let's get excited. Amen. Because tonight, if you really listen, if you're really learned, if you'll let God speak to you, you could leave worshiping instead of worrying. You could learn to declare instead of be disturbed. Amen. And so that's what the message is all about tonight. And it's going to start in Matthew chapter 2, verse one. And Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem, in Judah. Herod was king during this time, and some wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. And said, Where is a child born to be the king of the Jews? We saw a star in the East and we have come to do what? Worship. What they'd come to do? Worship him. Now, King Herod wasn't near as excited as we are. King Herod heard about this. What did he hear? He heard that the wise men had come to worship the newborn king. And here is the guy, this king.

James Greer: [00:01:27] It would be kind of like the president. And he was worried and so was everyone in Jerusalem. Everyone in Jerusalem and King Herod, the one that you would think had all the earthly power, all the prestige. And yet he was worried about the birth of Jesus Christ. It reminds me about America today. Every time I talk to somebody, it seems like they're all worried about what's going to happen. They're worried about what's going on in America. It's so much like what's happening today. Everybody in Jerusalem is where everybody in America seems like they were, because it seems like everybody in America worried about what's going on with the politicians in America instead of the king of kings. The king of kings is just as much in charge today as he was then. So quit worrying. Amen. So we shouldn't worry. What he wants us to do is learn to worship. It is my prayer that you came to worship. Amen. The important insight you need to remember is this. The opposite of worship is often worry. In fact, what did King Herod do? He said when he heard that they had come to worship him, he said he was worried. The little king, little K because he was the king of the world when he heard about the king of kings coming, it worried him.

James Greer: [00:03:03] There's an important insight that if you could learn, it could really help you, especially this time of year. Worry is often a sign that we're worshiping the wrong things. Worry is often a sign that we're worshiping the wrong things. So right now you can just stop and think, What did I worry about all week? Did I worry about getting the right presents? Did I worry about my money? Was I worried about my health? Was I worried about my family? Was I worried about my job? I didn't say you shouldn't work hard. I didn't say you shouldn't take care of yourself. What I said was worry. And when I tell you that, when worry is often an indication that you're worshiping the wrong thing, even Jesus in his word, he said, Hey, don't worry about anything. But do what? Pray about everything. So he's giving us an indication that when we worry, he said, listen, you're worshiping the wrong things and I want you to stop doing that. Instead of worry, I want it to be a time that you turn around and you learn to worship me. Worry will cause King Herod to miss out and enjoy Christmas and enjoy the King. Instead, he became jealous and fearful and angry.

James Greer: [00:04:22] But not the wise men. The wise men left there in a different direction. The wise man left in Matthew 2:10. They left. They were thrilled. They were excited to see the star or maybe the leading of the Holy Spirit. And when the men went into the house, they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they knelt down and they worshiped him. Not only came to worship, they got to worship him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and they gave it to him. See, worry, though, can be an indicator that they're worshiping the wrong things, but if you'll allow it, worry can lead us back to worship. Because the minute that we know that we're worshiping the wrong things, it can lead us back and say what we need to do, instead of worrying about this, we depend upon Christ instead of ourselves. Because the wrong worship will lead to fear and anxiety and jealousy and anger.

James Greer: [00:05:21] Because you'll see what King Herod did in verse 16 when he found out that the wise men from the East, when they had tricked him, he was very angry. The wrong worship will lead to anger. He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys who lived in and near Bethlehem that were two years old and younger. This was based on what he had learned from the wise men. See, the wise men got to worship Jesus while Herod allowed worry to get him to try to kill Jesus. King Herod couldn't kill Jesus. Amen. The devil couldn't kill Jesus. You can't kill Jesus. But if you're not careful, you're trying to kill him and you don't even realize it. Because between your worry and your rushing and everything else, you're not trying to kill him physically, but you'll smother him spiritually. And you're not enjoying the thrill and excitement and the joy that he has for you during Christmas. You'll be like, Herod. You're all worried instead of enjoying what he has. You're rushing around and you're not enjoying what he's got. So insight number one is allow worry to remind you that you might be worshiping the wrong thing and you stop and you go back and worship God. When I say worship, I had a hard time explaining worship.

James Greer: [00:06:49] A while ago when they were singing, Mary, Did you know, I like that. I could worship I could almost sing, but I was scared somebody might hear me. Dude, I don't sing good. But thank God the Bible says, make a joyful noise. Amen. And so every now and then, I'd stand up and make a joyful noise. And man, I'm thinking, God, this has got to be worship. Man, this has got to be it. But see, when I'm worshiping, when I'm standing up, when I'm saying things, I'm really saying, God, I love you. See to me, worship in the simplest sense is not just singing, but it's telling God, God, I love you. It's not only telling God I love you, it's telling God I depend upon you. I need to stop depending on myself. So what I'm trying to tell you is you can allow worry to turn you into worship. Because when you say you're worried, you're probably dependent on yourself when you need to be dependent on God. So you can turn it around and say, God, guess what? I'm going to take something bad and I'm going to turn it around to something good. And now, instead of worrying, depending on myself, God, I will start worshiping you and I'm going to love you and let you love me and I'm going to depend upon you. And because I depend on you, hey, it's going to work out fine. Amen. So that's what he said.

James Greer: [00:07:59] Because what good is worry doing anyway? In Luke 12:25, it says, Hey, can all your worries really add a single moment to your life? And the answer is, of course, it cannot. And if we can't accomplish any little thing, then what's the use of worrying over the big things? Really the Bible says, really not anything. Worry, really, it's a lack of trust and to remind us that we are worshiping the wrong thing. And that's what King Herod was doing. See the wrong worry, number two, it'll lead to jealousy if you're not careful. We don't call it that. The real truth is self-worship. That's kind of what jealousy is. And jealousy is birthed out of the lack of trust. And jealousy reveals that. And 1 Corinthians 2:5 said that your face should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. And jealousy will lead to destruction. It destroys relationships. It destroys jobs. It destroys your relationship with God. See, jealousy often causes us to do and say things later on we're sorry for. Love calls us to do and say things we love and we're proud of. Jealousy brings bondage. Love brings freedom. Jealousy cause damaged relationships. Love will heal them. Jealousy always takes. Love always gives. Jealousy is natural. Love is supernatural.

James Greer: [00:09:21] Third, God didn't send his son to disturb you but declare the good news to you. See, there's another translation, that one translation said, When King Herod heard that the wise men came to worship, it worried him. There's another translation said it deeply disturbed him. See, in Matthew 2:3, it said that King Herod, he was deeply disturbed when he heard that. When it talks about him deeply disturbed, it said that he was troubled. Another one, not only was he deeply troubled, it said his trouble led to him being bitter. Wouldn't that be something? You come to this great season of Christmas when God came to bring you emotional healing and the greatest gift that you're supposed to get in Christmas is peace and now you got bitterness. He was disturbed because he wasn't getting the attention that he wanted.

James Greer: [00:10:23] He didn't want somebody else giving Jesus the attention. He didn't want them worshiping Jesus. He wanted to be worshiped. And you said, Well, that's not me. I don't want to be. I don't know. Did you know that God didn't really create the devil? God really created this beautiful angel that was kind of leading worship and they were praising God and he had a wonderful voice and all of a sudden, he wanted to be worshiped instead of worshiping God. And it's because he wanted to be worshiped instead of worship God, God threw him out of Heaven and about one-third of the angels. And since they got thrown out of Heaven, if you're not careful, me and you have all inherited a sin nature. And if you're not careful, we're all selfish and we don't call it wanting to be worshiped. But if you're not careful, you get jealous when somebody else is getting attention and that disturbs you and you can even get bitter and you can miss out on the joy of Christmas.

James Greer: [00:11:13] Wouldn't it be something, a shame during Christmas, if somebody's opening gifts and a grandfather, a husband, a father, a mother, and they were really pouring their hearts out and trying to do the best they can and they gave somebody a gift and somebody else got jealous over it instead of enjoying Christmas? You have some people running around jealous. Some people have even gotten bitter within the same family about what one person got and another one did. And they said, I'm a Christ follower, which is called a Christian. Now because, see, true love always wants what's best for the other person more than they want for their selves. This Christmas, when somebody else gets a gift, you be happy what they got. Because you got the greatest gift of all. And God declared it. He didn't come to disturb you. He came to declare. And this is what he came to declare. He came to declare back in Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6. Unto me and you, a child is born. Unto us a son is given. The government will rest upon his shoulder. And that's going to happen one day. And his name will be called. This is what he's going to declare for me and you. This is a wonderful thing. He's going to be called Wonderful, Jesus. Wonderful. Amen. He's counselor. Amen. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.

James Greer: [00:12:40] See, he came to declare that for me and you. He didn't come to disturb you. He came to declare that. And if you're not careful, quit worrying about being selfish. Do not get bitterness. Instead, enjoy the greatest gift that God came to give, which is His son, Jesus Christ. What was that gift? That gift was peace. John 14:27 says Jesus is leaving. He said, I'm giving you, I'm leaving, but I'm giving you a gift. Where is the gift? Peace. Not only am I giving you peace, I'm giving you peace of mind. I'm giving peace of mind and in your heart. And the peace that Jesus Christ gives me and you it's not the peace like the world, because the world can't give it to you. But do you know what? Don't be troubled. Don't be afraid. See, peace basically is a byproduct of trusting God. It's trusting his promises, his purpose, and his plan for your life, not yours. See, when we meet the conditions of a promise, God will only then give us the provisions. He told us way back in Jeremiah 29. He says, I know the thoughts that I think for you. God says, I know the thoughts for everybody here today at Journey Church. He says they're thoughts of peace. Jesus said, when I left, I gave you a gift, and that gift is peace, not of evil.

James Greer: [00:14:00] He says, I'm going to give you a future and a hope. God's got a future for you. You may not think he does, but God says, I got it and I already got it planned out. You just line up with me. God said, I've got it worked out. And he starts summing it back up where he left off and he said, Hey, Jesus said, Hey, to give you light for those that sit in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide their feet in the way of peace. Nobody here has to leave without peace. To have that peace, you have to have Jesus Christ. You have to accept the greatest gift there ever was. Of course, Christmas is about the birth. But it's really about the death and the resurrection. Christmas is all about you having a peace that surpasses all understanding. To do that, there has to be a time that you know you've sinned. You've got to know that sin separates you from God. You've got to know that God loved you so much he gave you the greatest gift, his son. He came and died and shed his blood and went to the grave and he rose on third day. And you want to invite him into your heart to forgive you of all your sins. And because you do that, you're going to leave here free of guilt. Your sin in the past, your present, the future, he'll forgive you.

James Greer: [00:15:18] Some of you came in here today worried and God says, I want you to stop worrying. I want you to start worshiping. By that is quit dependent upon yourself. I want you to come in a minute. We're going to give an invitation. You can come and say, God, I've just been worrying too much. I never looked at it as the wrong worship. And today, God, I want to worship you by saying that, it says I just want to love you. And I want to let you, God, love me. I'm going to depend more on you, God, and less on me. Some of y'all came here disturbed. It may not have been about a gift. It may have been something that happened at work. And you're worried about somebody else at work getting attention. Maybe they got the raise, maybe they got a promotion that maybe they're making more than you. And see, you've been getting disturbed over that. It's like you think your company or your boss is in charge. God is the God that opens doors no man can shut. God is the God that shuts doors that no man can open. You go to work next week as you work from God, and you don't worry about all that. You work. You saw when we had the lights, you go to work and you be light in darkness, and God will take care of everything else. So don't go to work disturbed. Go to work and declare. You go to work and say, Hey, man, I don't have to work because a child was born, a son was given. His name is Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

James Greer: [00:16:53] Not only is he wonderful, but he's a counselor. Some of y'all need the right counsel. You need it from God. Some of y'all need personal counsel, and we're going to have counselors in the front here in a minute. And listen, they're very confidential. They don't share anything with anybody but me. And maybe you need somebody to pray with you and counsel you. And they'll do that. There's a mighty God When I hear mighty God, it just tells me there's nothing impossible for God. For with God, all things are possible. He's an Everlasting Father. See, he's your Daddy, but he also, he'll be with you in eternity if you know Jesus Christ. And he is the Prince of Peace. So you can go out today with a peace that surpasses all understanding.

James Greer: [00:17:39] Would you stand and let me pray with you and pray for you? God, I thank you for your son, Jesus Christ. I thank you that we can come and celebrate Christmas. We thank you that we could celebrate the greatest gift that was ever given. I pray that we can relax right now and say, Hey, we accepted Jesus. We have the gift. We don't have to worry about what we're given. We don't have to worry about what we're receiving because we've already got it. I pray that nobody goes out of here worried. Instead, they're worshiping. I pray they don't go out disturbed because now they can now declare. I pray that they don't go out here with guilt because they have no reason to be guilty because Jesus Christ took their guilt away. I pray that those that came grieving, that they could find comfort. And God, I pray that they could feel that because they have forgiven and been forgiven, that we have a fellowship like no other time. I pray that those that need prayer will come today. It's in Christ's name I pray.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360