Creflo Dollar - Living the Life of Worship
This morning I want to talk to you about "Living the Life of Worship", living the life of worship. If you'll go with me to the Book of Matthew chapter 20, verses 20 through 23, I want to start off with making certain statements and I want you to absorb these statements. I'm literally saying to you this morning, if it was legal and if it would work, if I could just cut your head open and pour this on the inside of you, I would. I've never so much wanted a congregation to get and understand a teaching like I do this one. For me, I feel like it's taken almost 40 years to evolve into this understanding, and a lot of you have evolved with me through this and I wouldn't take nothing for anything, everything I've gone through probably was to get me to this point. Living the life of worship. Praise God.
Now, first statement I want to make, the essence of my giving is a relationship with God. It is not for the benefits that come from God. The word essence just simply means the root or the full intent or the core behind. So the core and the motivation of my giving is not for the benefits. My motivation for my giving is for the relationship and the essence of that relationship with God. I say this because we've all been trained that you give to get, and I know you immediately want to use Luke 6:38. Let me tell you about Luke 6:38. It says, "Give and it shall be given unto you". But it also says, "Condemn not and you won't be condemned". It says, "Forgive and you shall be forgiven".
That is a Scripture, Luke 6:38, which is based under an old covenant principle. It is based under the law. Under the law it says you have to do this in order for that to happen. Well, under the old covenant, you had to give in order for it to be given to you. But under the new covenant, we don't give in order to get, we don't give in order to get blessed, we give because we're already blessed. Under the new covenant, we don't love in order to be loved. Under the new covenant, he first loved us and now we can love because we're loved. Are you following what I'm saying? Under the new covenant, we're not doing something to get God to do something. Under the new covenant, we're doing it because he's already done it.
So I'm not giving to get blessed. Because I'm blessed, I give. I don't love God so he'll love me and then I'll love you. I love God because he first loved me, which enables me to love you. Are you all following what I'm saying? So the essence of my giving is a relationship with God. My giving is a result of me wanting to know God. I'm not giving to get, I'm giving as a worship to God. I am going to God and I am giving as a thanks, as gratitude, as appreciation. I'm not giving so he'll do something magical for me, I'm giving because he's already done enough for me. I'm giving because he keeps doing stuff for me. I'm giving because worship is a gift that comes from me, the creation, and it goes to God the Creator. The motivation behind my giving used to be getting. The motivation behind my giving today is because I already have gotten.
Turn to your neighbor and say, "I am blessed already and I receive that by faith. I don't have to give to get blessed. Jesus blessed me so I can give". Does everybody understand that now? And so when I give, it causes me to remember what he's done. Offering time to me is like altar call. It's like, "For everything you did for me. For every time you rescued me. For the pure fact that I can hold money up 'cause I have a job because you blessed me with that. For the pure fact that I have a roof over my head and I have food and it might not be what I want. I have to bring a gift to you because genuine worship requires giving of gifts".
Giving of gifts is what constitutes worship. The Magi who saw the star in the east came to Jesus, and they found him after 2 years. And when they found him, the Bible says they fell on their knees and begin to worship him as they opened up the treasury. So they used the gold and frankincense and myrrh to bring it before him to begin to worship him because of what he had done just by coming. Just by coming, he ended the war between God and man's sins. Just by coming, he became the peace offering and the compensation between God and man's sin, and men no longer had to die and go to hell because of the peace offering they could receive, Jesus, and that would become a thing of the past. And they worshiped him because when the angels declare peace on earth, goodwill towards men from God.
We've been mixed up on this giving thing, and men have come and we've given instructions to say, "If you'll give this way, then these five things will happen. And if you give that way, then these five things will happen". And we didn't pursue the relationship, we pursued the benefits. I said we didn't pursue the relationship with God, we wanted the benefits of God. But what you don't understand is when you pursue the relationship with God, it's like jumping in water. You don't ever have to be concerned about seeking getting wet, you never have to even take the time to think about wet. Why? 'Cause wet comes with the water. Wet is added with the water. And when you have a personal relationship with God, blessings are added to that, but it's got to be first things first.
God has got to be first and your needs can't ever be first and your money can't ever be first and materials can't ever be first and nobody else can't ever be first and relationships can't ever be first and job can't ever be first. None of that stuff can ever be first. God's got to be first or you'll never see second, third, fourth. Is everybody following me? So the essence of my giving is a relationship with God, not for benefits that come from God. So as a Christian, what is your motivation? As a Christian, what moves you? Why do you do what you do as a Christian? Why are you here today? What's your goal? What's the thing that moved you? What motivates you to be a Christian? Are you motivated to be a Christian because of the benefit of not going to hell? Are you motivated to be a Christian 'cause they seem like all Christians really walk like they blessed? What moves you, what's your motivation?
Everybody has motives. Sometimes they're not good. What moves you? Why do you come here on a Sunday? To hear God's Word preached. What's your motivation? Why did you join this church? What's your motivation? Why did you marry who you married? What's your motivation? Why do you want to become a leader in a church? What's your motivation? Why do you sing in the choir or in the praise group? What's your motivation? Why do you enter into the ministry? What are you really after? What's your motivation? Why did you decide to date this person or that person? What's your motivation? What's behind it? 'Cause everybody wants something. Are you a Christian for the relationship with God or are you a Christian because of the benefits that come from God? I'm talking about all of them. What benefits are you seeking from God? What do you want now? What are you after from God? What are you trying to get him to do now? When is it going to become this?
"I'm after God", the Apostle Paul said, "I count it all dung, everything I've ever gained and everything that I've ever lost, that I might know him, that I might know him". "I'm in it for the relationship. I want him, not what he can do for me as he's already done enough". He woke you up this morning. And if he don't do nothing else, you start looking at your life and counting your blessings. He's already done enough. When are you going to just want him because you want him? You know what it feels like when people are after you for what they can get from you but they're not really interested in you? Heaven feels the same way. When are you going to stop going to God with a list and start coming to him with a gift to thank him for what he's already done? And you don't understand.
When you have a relationship with God, the list will be added, you won't have to make one, you never have to make one. You never have to talk to God about you need that, that you need this, or I need that. No, no, no. All you got to do is engage in an intimate relationship with him and go after him and all these other things will be added. Whatever happened to that? Where is the Christian that says, "I'm in it for God. I want him". We're trying to turn church into a corporation. We're trying to turn church in, politicize it. We want to turn everything we do for God as a quid pro quo. "God, I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine". But where are the Christians who say, "Whatever I give to you, I give it to you requesting nothing from you. I want you".
See, because if you lose every physical material thing on this planet, this world will never be able to take from you what God gave you: your righteousness, your redemption, your eternity in heaven. You'll still be rich because you got Jesus. Joseph was a prosperous man not because of what he had, but who he had. It's the presence of the Lord that causes you to be successful. Because when you seek a relationship with God, success is added. Jump in the water, you get wet. Relationship with God, success is added. But when you start seeking the creation over the creator, then you've gotten yourself involved in idolatry because he's no longer first. He's been replaced out of the first place, and the second thing is now the first thing. And when the second thing becomes the first thing, you don't get the second thing or the first thing. What are motives?
Let's just break it down a little bit more. A motive is something that comes or actually something that causes a person to act in a certain way. The way you act, what's the cause? What's the cause? Why do you act that way? A motive is a goal or an object of a person's action. What's the goal? What's the object of your action? When you shout and jump and scream, what's the goal? Somebody must have told you, "If you just shout a little harder, then God will give you a raise by the end of the week". What's the goal? Your motives mean everything to God. Your motives mean everything to God. The motive, that's all God gets. He gets the reason behind what you do. The motive.
Now, look at this in verse 20. It's a story about a woman. I'm going to read the 20, 21, 22, 23. "Then came him to the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons". But watch this. They said that she came worshiping him. Now I will have to scratch that out because of what's coming on the other side of the end because real worship is when something comes from the creation to the Creator expecting nothing back from the Creator to the creation. Real worship is what you're presenting to God expecting nothing in return, and genuine worship doesn't exist without the giving of a gift. It doesn't work. So the reason why I scratch out "She came to worship him", is because on the other side of the end, "and desiring a certain thing of him".
She really didn't come to worship him, she came because there was a benefit she needed to get from him. She called it worship. And how many of you know worship is not what happens when a song is going on. When you hear the word worship, you immediately think praise and worship and song. That's so not the sum total of worship. It's a part of praise and giving thanks to God, but we're talking about a life of worship. And worship is when Abraham offered his son unto God. Worship is when an individual says, "I'm going to give something to God not expecting anything to return". You don't worship just 'cause you sing. You know the number of people that sing and don't even worship God? They're singing and they got chill bumps, but it still ain't worship 'cause ain't nothing coming from them from God. And if it is, it's the wrong motive.
See, when you can worship for money, you do what you do for money and not do for the relationship, I have to scratch worship out just like I'm doing it in this verse right here. She came to worship him, but she was desiring a certain thing of him. It's not worship. Look what he says in verse 21. "And he said unto her, 'What wilt thou?' And she said unto him, 'Grant that these my two sons may sit the one on the right hand and the other on the left hand in thy kingdom.'" Oh, so that's why you're on your face? "You don't really want me for me, you want me to do you a favor". I'm telling you when you want God for who God is and when you go after the relationship, the favor is added. 22, "But Jesus answered and said, 'You know not what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?' And they said unto him, 'Yeah, we are, we're able'".
Man, that's how this whole thing started in Exodus. Verse 23, "And he saith unto them, 'You shall drink indeed of my cup and be baptized with the baptism that I'm baptized with.'" Watch Jesus. "But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give". Motives. What's your motive? What was really behind it? Why do you pray for an hour? Why do you read the Bible? Why are you sitting here in a church? Why don't you go smoke some weed? Really, what are you in it for? 'Cause Christianity has turned into a big old religious organization where we do all of these religious actions to try to move a God who is already moved.
You know the number of churches that are going to go on a fast in January and you going to ask them, "Why are you fasting in January"? "Oh, we want to move God". God already moved. "Why are you fasting"? "Well, we want to see miracles". They're available. You're in a blessing and you got something better than a miracle. You got a blessing. Let me review, you remember the day I began to talk to you about essence versus benefits? Let me connect this now to it, and then I'll give what I'm supposed to give today. Is everybody on the journey with me right now? Do I have your attention? Do I have you thinking? I'm going to the very extreme of this so I can get your attention on some stuff. Fasting is still good if you have a problem believing. Did you all understand what I just said?
Let me give it to you right quick. You remember the little boy who would throw himself in the fire and the disciples tried to cast a demon out and they could not cash them out, and Jesus came and delivered the boy and the disciples asked, "Why could we not deliver him"? And Jesus said, "Because of your unbelief". And he says, "This kind cometh not out except by prayer and fasting". Well, most of the church thought he was talking about this kind of demon doesn't come out except by prayer and fasting. He just told you what the problem was. It was unbelief. And he said, "This kind of unbelief doesn't come out except by prayer and fasting".
So fasting today is to deal with unbelief. So if your whole church is in unbelief, you need to fast in January. I would like to think that I do have some believers here at World Changers. You're not fasting for power. You're not fasting for more anointing. Why? Because God's already given that to you. I think too many times as Christians we confuse benefits with essence. The essence of a thing is a bottom line. It's the root issue. It's the core issue. We pursue the benefits of a relationship rather than the essence of that relationship, and only when you pursue a relationship rightly can you enjoy its gifts. But when you pursue the relationship with wrong motives, you're not going to even enjoy the gifts. When you pursue the benefits, they never seem to satisfy and you miss out on it all.
Put first things first and we get second things thrown in. Pursue first things first, second things are thrown in. Pursue first things first, second things are thrown in. Put second things first and lose both first and second things. And when second things become first things, you're in idolatry.
I use an illustration of my wife and I. We celebrated our anniversary on Friday, and I had an opportunity, I took her to the first real date that I could afford, and it's this restaurant called Bentley's. And the lady who was there 30 something years ago was there that night. And the illustration I use was if I just married her for the benefit, if I married her just for the benefit of conversation but then one day she could no longer talk; or if I married her for the benefit of sex and she could no longer have sex with me and I married her for all the benefits, if the benefits were all taken away, would I still be there? Yeah. Because I didn't marry her for the benefits, I married her because she was the only one for me. She was the one I couldn't be without. You find that one that you can't be without.