O Come Let Us Adore Him
We’ve sung the words a thousand times: “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant… O come let us adore Him.” We envy the shepherds who actually saw the baby Jesus, and returned with a message of joy that pierced the midnight air. We can’t join them in Bethlehem, but thankfully, we can adore Jesus right where we are, for today He is at the right hand of the Father. That’s why the invitation is to all of us—“O come let us adore Him.”
But how do we “adore Him?”
“This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me….” Jesus said of the religious types of His day. To put it in modern terms, “You sing the right songs, you recite the proper prayers and you attend the right services… but your heart isn’t in it.”
Words are no substitute for the heart. That part of us that no one sees is what is most important to Him. Adoration is first and foremost an attitude of delightful worship, that our love for Christ lies at the core of our lives.
We so casually associate worship with church attendance that is it easy to get the impression they are one and the same. But Jesus told the woman of Samaria that the time had come when worship was not a matter of location, but was to be done “in spirit and in truth.”
We are to worship “in spirit”—that is, worship is a matter of personal desire and lifestyle. Take this from my heart to yours: if we are not adoring the Christ during the week, we most assuredly will not adore Him on Sunday.
Then Jesus said it was a matter of truth, the truth about God and our personal honesty about who we are in His presence. We can have many discussions about whether worship should be “traditional” or “contemporary,” but the real question is whether worship is honest or dishonest; is it from the mouth or from the heart?
We adore what is most precious to us. The miser adores his wealth; the evolutionist might adore his knowledge. We all have what C.S. Lewis called an “overwhelming first.” The New Testament teaches that this is the spot that should be reserved for Jesus. Adoration is our privilege, but it is also our obligation. He is worthy to be “first.”
Experience teaches us that it is almost impossible to seriously adore Christ at Christmastime. As long as we are consumed by getting and giving, we simply have neither the time nor the inclination to adore the One whose birthday we celebrate. We will be content with singing about adoration rather than doing it.
But among us will be a small number who actually rid their hearts of rivals; there are those who will refocus their lifestyles and take the time to bow before the now triumphant Christ. There were many shepherds out on the hills of Judea, but only a few were invited to the stable. Now they beckon us to join their company. They are asking us to remember that Christmas is not about us, but about Jesus.
Let’s accept their invitation and hurry to “Adore Him!”
Finding Time to Adore God
Finding time to adore God in a busy world sounds difficult— especially at the holidays! We asked Pastor Lutzer for some practical suggestions on what adoration means, and how we and our families can adore God this Christmas season.
Q: You like to say that adoration or worship is costly. Could you expand on that?
A: To test Abraham’s degree of adoration or worship, God asked him to sacrifice his son. When he came to the base of the mountain, he told his servants to stay with the donkey while he and Isaac went up the mountain to “worship.” Think about what worship meant: the sacrifice of his son! Thankfully, he didn’t have to sacrifice him, but the willingness was there. That is real adoration or worship.
With ten fresh graves on a hillside, Job worshipped God. That’s what I mean by costly worship—it is being willing to adore God above all others, even those who are most precious to us. We adore Him in good times and in bad; He is always the central force in our lives.
Q: So, how should we adore Christ this Christmas?
A: First, we should strive to remember that this is Jesus’ party, not ours. That doesn’t mean we don’t give gifts to others; it means that we save the primary gift of ourselves for Him in submission and worship.
Second, we should tell Jesus how much we love Him and why. This can be done in a prayer meeting, or as a family. Or, we can give ourselves time to be alone each day during the season to talk with Jesus directly, giving Him our heart-felt adoration. Many passages of Scripture lend themselves to such worship (e.g. Colossians 1: 15–20; Revelation 5: 6–14, etc.).
Third, we as a family have often enjoyed the fellowship of those who were the least likely to be invited anywhere for Christmas. Every family can think creatively about extending the love of Christ to “the least of these,” who are all around us. Our experience has been that although our Christmas memories all blend together, the things we remember best are the people we’ve helped and the love we’ve shown to others. Every one of us should give gifts to those who cannot reciprocate with the same gesture.
Q: How else can we share the message of Christmas with others?
A: Christmas spells opportunity! We often have a “Christmas Party” for those in our condominium complex, and it gives us the privilege of sharing the story of Jesus, who He is and why He came. During the season, people are friendlier and more open. This is the bridge we can creatively use to enter their lives with the same message that transformed ours.
If we do really adore Him, we will want to introduce Him to others. Someone invited us to come to Jesus, so let’s invite others to join the celebration!
When Christians stand for truth in a pluralistic culture, conflict is inevitable. Increasingly, that conflict is with our own government. This is the first of four messages about Christians in conflict, and how we should live in view of those conflicts.All Sermons by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer