Authentic Worship: Wash Your Hands and Say Your Prayers... - Sermon (2023)


Sunday's Sermon

Mark 1:4–11


Our final reading comes from the gospel of mark chapter 1, verses, 4 through 11.

This is on page 34 of the new testament in the cue bible.

If you wish to follow along, listen again to the word of god, john, the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and people from the whole judean countryside and all the people of jerusalem were going out to him and were baptized by him in the river jordan confessing their sins.

Now john was clothed with campbell's hair with a leather belt around his waist and he ate locusts and wild honey.

He proclaimed the one who is more powerful than I am is coming after me.

I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.

I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the holy spirit.

In those days, jesus came from nazareth of galilee and was baptized by john in the jordan and just as he was coming up out of the water he saw the heavens torn apart and the spirit descending like a dove on him and a voice came from heaven.

You are my son, the beloved with you.

I am well pleased friends.

This is the word of the lord, wash your hands and say your prayers, because jesus and germs are everywhere.

I can't remember the first time and place I saw that sign, but I'm pretty sure it was in a restroom at a restaurant.

You can now find that sign where any place you buy.

Instructional signage for your home right things like live, laugh love like they have to tell you to do those things.

Last week I read this article that cited stat.

That's you know nearly 10 years old.

So I'm positive.

It's changed.

I'm sure some of our physician friends could provide more recent data, but at least it said this in 2011 that two million americans were infected with viruses in hospitals of the 2 million.

It said 90 000 died.

The same author shared a note from the book called better, which was published in 2007.

That said, people who worked in hospitals wash their hands about one-third or one-half, as often as they need to now.

Some things change and some things never change.

As a pastor, I spend a good amount of time in hospitals or assisted living places or rehab centers.

These days you can't go 10 feet without passing an antibacterial gel dispenser.

It wasn't always like that.

They're now located outside pretty much every patient room and at least the doctors or pas and nurses that I see when I have to go, see the doctor right.

It's like they overly wash their hands in front of me just so they can show me and say: hey my hands are clean, we're good right.

They wipe down the stethoscope before and after each use very visibly I mean those kinds of standards have definitely changed, at least from what I remember.

What hasn't changed, as has been confirmed through our covet experience, is the effectiveness of washing hands.

Before I go any further, I feel like I need to say this if you're here for a lent last year in our study of ed stetzer's book christians in the age of outrage, and hopefully by now, you realize that I'm kind of like mr anti-outrage, I mean I've been vaccinated.

I'm pretty sure my dna is all the same.

Uh our own, philip hunking, aka angel hands.

Personally jabbed me.

I have my card here because there are cameras.

I have to hide my data because that's more sensitive these days and my social security number, I am all for people consulting with their doctor, making the best choice for themselves.

It doesn't make me an anti-vaxxer.

I've never listened to a joe rogan podcast, which I think is the same for most of his outraged critics.

Just saying same time, I don't think it's controversial to say that we know more about cobit today than we did two years ago.

I mean I would really hope.

That's the case right.

The science is continually learning adapting even evolving.

Yet science has become this anthropomorphized infallible, monolithic, inerrant, omniscient, being to ask to have a conversation about the science or dare to even ask questions.

God forbid, have a different opinion than the prevailing narrative will quickly earn you the label of anti baxter and I'll admit the sermon is not the time or place for those dialogues, but this has to be one of the most obvious.

The most poignant example of some of our sinful human condition today, I'm so thankful that we presbyterians ordinarily do not approach, worship and theology the way.

So many of us approach science these days.

If we were to flip the attitudes and characteristics and apply that to scripture, we would be labeled as fundamentalists right in one sphere of our life.

We're okay, with some ambiguity, some unknown answers, doubts and questions, at least in my book are healthy things, because when you work through those doubts and questions, that's where the stretching and growing of faith occurs, but over here, no matter what side you're dug in on.

There can be no room for unknowns, ambiguity or differing conclusions and from my kind of ten thousand foot view and very humble opinion, it comes down to one word.

I think a lot of it has to do with pride.

We got here because when we panic, when we're put into a state of panic, when we're afraid we look to people, we look to those in authority to provide answers to provide a way forward, really to provide some absolutes.

We don't know what's happening, and we want to hear that someone out there does know and has the answer.

It's comforting.

We want to hear statements like.

We must do this in order to prevent that with kobe, we tried lots of things staying home, turning the aisles of grocery stores into one-way roads, masking double masking shots and along the way, we've learned even here at church for a while, we wouldn't pass offering plates.

We wouldn't pass communion because of the fear of surface transmission.

Science discovered that surface transmission was pretty minimal, so we adapted- and you know what that's okay, that's a good thing.

We know so much more than we did.

Two years ago that when this scenario happens again, I imagine at least god.

I hope we will not do things the exact same way.

I hope we've learned through experience too often.

Science and faith are unfairly pitted against one another right, not so much separation of church and state, but church and science, but there's one thing that both faith and science have in common.

Neither has all the answers today and to me the sometimes frustrating thing, but the more often beautiful thing is that we will never have all the answers to either faith or science.

On this side of the kingdom.

God gave us these intelligent, curious brains and what a waste of his gift it would be.

If all of a sudden there was nothing else to learn, nothing else to discover.

Yet we gravitate to those who speak and act as if they have all the answers, whether that's science or faith or politics.

Those who want to speak authoritatively and want to be perceived as one in authority know they must speak absolutely now.

Let's connect that big dot over here with the one of authentic worship.

The movie rudy is maybe a less divisive topic, but it can be divisive nonetheless, no matter what you think of the movie there's one line, that's always stuck with me.

It's when rudy goes to the chapel and this he has a lot of christ crises in his life, but this is kind of the big one in the movie he's telling me have I prayed enough.

Father and the priest tells him son in my 35 years of religious study, I've come up with only two hard incontrovertible facts.

There is a god and I'm not him when we or anyone walks through these doors, when we come with a heart for authentic worship, when we come seeking to encounter god to experience his intervention hear his invitation and respond when we come together to share life in common things.

Like pride, ego, absolutes, those are checked at the door.

We come here because we recognize there's only one in authority, one who can speak in absolutes and we willingly come to submit ourselves to his authority, not the authority of a church, a denomination, surely not a fallible human being like a pastor, bishop or even a pope, but to god in his word.

Yes, a church and leaders have a modest dose of authority, but that's always to be exercised in humble obedience and submission to god's authority.

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of god.

That's true for your favorite scientist, your favorite politician, your favorite pastor, your favorite podcaster right.

We walk in here and we own that.

That's a crucial part of god's intervention, wash your hands and say your prayers.

We live in an infected world of all kinds of germs and spiritually speak and we know those germs are sin, but they manifest themselves in very physical germy ways.

Over time.

Theologians have argued, you know how and when we become infected, but most at least agree that sin is a reality.

He was a theologian reinhold niebuhr.

Who once said that the doctrine of original sin is the only empirically verifiable christian doctrine? It's tough to argue with that, as christians, we're like those doctors and nurses who don't wash their hands as often as they're supposed to.

We know better.

We've been taught better, but for whatever reason it's hard to let go of bad unhealthy habits, and so for us, as kenneth carter, jr puts it.

The discipline of washing ourselves cleansing ourselves found its way in our most basic and fundamental fundamental practice baptism now it was just a few weeks ago.

We examined some of the reasons we believe jesus was baptized, so we're not going to go through all those again today, but of all the gospels.

It's pretty remarkable that marx begins with a story about washing and cleansing now.

Mark in general is a very straightforward, just the facts: ma'am kind of writer, but even in style.

There's one thing: that's remarkable that stands out here and to me it's the verbs okay.

This falls right in line with the reformed perspective of baptism.

When you look at the verbs that deal with jesus right, the baptizee of the story, richard boyce comments, how they're all they're, passive or they're one of a spectator right, he came, he was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water he saw now.

In contrast, the verbs following god as the subject are active right, the heavens are torn apart.

The spirit is descending and a voice comes out of heaven see, god is the initiator.

This is his story.

You previously established that authentic worship means recognizing our unworthiness here in baptism.

God gives us a tangible sign of what it means to be cleansed of sin and to be a part of his covenant community forever.

As I say, nearly every time we baptize someone it's my absolute favorite thing to do as a pastor, it's the best in our tradition.

More often than not, I baptize an infant or a small child, and it's very heartwarming tender a loving time when we can all let out kind of a collective as it should be.

But when we look at what's happening in mark's gospel, I get a different kind of feel the heavens were torn apart, not gently, peeled back right, not carefully lifted, just think six or seven weeks back to kids tearing open presence on christmas morning now I won't say that that was violent, but it was forceful, definitely forceful.

There is a very forceful action going on here and then you have the spirit descending like a dove, and I think whenever I picture my mind, it's kind of like you know like the dove hung by you know wires that just comes down about this kind of a speed right.

But if you ever watched a bird descend down it's with purpose either it's snatching its prey or it's protecting its young.

I think it's a really cool image, to think of the spirit swooping down to claim and protect jesus, as he is about to head immediately into the wilderness to his next destination to be tempted.

We need to wash our hands regularly physically and spiritually.

We come to worship and confess our actions in the ways of this world that make us unclean.

We have some wonderful liturgy that we can use at a baptism or we can use right now in a service of remembering our own baptism.

So I'm going to tell you invite you to grab your bulletin insert, and I want the words of the questions I'm asking you to sink in, because it's heavy stuff sin is dirty heavy stuff.

We need to be washed clean friends.

Do you renounce all evil and powers in the world which defy god's righteousness and love? Do you renounce the ways of sin that separate you from the love of god? Do you turn to jesus christ and accept him as your lord and savior? Will you be christ's, faithful, disciple, obeying his word and showing his love to your life's end? Remember your baptism and be thankful.

We live in a world, as this shows of people and powers that are vying for our allegiance and we allow ourselves to be claimed by this person or that movement in authentic worship, especially in the sacrament of baptism states loud and clear that lord, I claim you but, more importantly, I'm grateful because you have claimed me first see as much as we sinfully divide ourselves into camps, tribes, ideologies, political parties denominations there's one act that at least seems to unite most christians and and puts us all on common ground.

We all practice baptism and yeah.

We can divide ourselves over that as well, but for the most part we all practice it.

We all celebrate it for all of our differences.

It makes us the same we're baptized in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, something that uniting is very refreshing this day and age.

Kenneth carter, jr also writes how baptism really is what makes us different, not our spiritual superiority in relation to others, but our need for grace and renewal and a culture full of noisy arguments built on pride and the other pandemic, known as gotta be right.

Itis, we defuse those with grace.

Yes, baptism and faith should make us different out there in the world.

We should sound different.

We should look different.

We should act different.

We should treat people differently than the ways of the world see.

Hopefully, today, when you walked in you set down your pride and your ego today today, I have a challenge for you that when you go just leave it, don't worry just go home without it if you're worshiping online, just kind of leave it next to your seat.

It's okay, nothing's gonna happen to it.

No one's going to take it.

Nothing will happen, except you might become this much detached from it tomorrow that much the next day that much authentic worship recognizes.

We constantly need god's grace and renew to remember the baptism of jesus and remember our own baptisms.

That is a simple and profound spiritual practice is washing your hands? Wash your hands say your prayers.

It's the name of the father, the son and holy spirit, amen.


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I've heard it said that God answers prayers in one of three ways. God says “Yes,” and you receive what you ask for. God says “No,” and you have to accept it and move on. Or God says “Not Yet,” and you learn to be patient and wait.

What does it mean to wash your hands biblically? ›

The water is poured out from a vessel three times, intermittently, over each hand. Reasons given for this washing vary: to remove an evil spirit from one's fingers, or in preparation for the morning prayer, or to make the hands physically clean before reciting blessings and studying Torah.

What is the sermon on jn 14 1 7? ›

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” The answer for the troubled heart is faith in Jesus. Just as the disciples believe in God, they are to have the same faith in Jesus.

What is the sermon on jn 14 1 6? ›

Jesus says, “Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” Jesus is not saying there is God and then there is Me so trust in Him and trust in Me. Jesus is saying something radical to His disciples. He is saying, “Just as you trust in God, trust in Me, because God and I are the same.

What are the 3 main prayers? ›

The prayer of protection. The prayer of transformation. The prayer of restoration.

What are the four main ways we pray to God? ›

Perhaps the easiest way to think about the major biblical modes of prayer is through the acronym “ACTS.” It stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. The four types of prayer that go by these names are found in many places in the Bible.

Do Christians have to wash their hands before praying? ›

Ablution in the Christian traditions

Before praying, they wash their hands and face in order to be clean before and present their best to God.

What does washing your hands truly mean? ›

Handwashing helps prevent spread of infectious diseases

A number of infectious diseases can be spread from one person to another by contaminated hands. These diseases include gastrointestinal infections, such as salmonellosis, and respiratory infections, such as influenza, colds and coronavirus (COVID-19) .

Which verse in the Bible talks washing hands? ›

Isaiah 1:16-20 - NIRV Bible - So wash your hands. Make yourselves clean.

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The prophet goes on to speak as if the promise of God was already fulfilled: “Do not be afraid … but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son” (1 Kings 17:13).

What is the sermon on 1 Kings 17 9? ›

God told Elijah (1 Kings 17:9) that He commanded a widow to feed the prophet. Yet this woman seemed unaware of the command. This shows how God's unseen hand often works. “She does not appear to have been at all aware that she was to feed a prophet.

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Ben continues our series preaching from 1 Kings 17: 17-24. In this passage Elijah is confronted by the death of his host's child. Through Elijah the widow is able to see Yahweh as the God who rescues and brings life where no other gods are able. Ben encourages us also to put our hope in Yahweh by trusting in his son.

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Saying that the world cannot receive the Spirit does not mean that an unbeliever cannot become a believer. Rather, it means that “the world” estranged from God cannot receive the Spirit while remaining unchanged. For the world to receive the Spirit means that it is no longer “the world” in the Johannine sense.

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The Call: Enter by the narrow gate (7:13a)

Every person will either take the path toward destruction or the path toward life. Jesus begins this important discussion with this call: Enter by the narrow gate. This is a call from Jesus to enter the gate and follow the path that leads to life.

What is the sermon on Mark 3 14? ›

Mark 3:14 Reminds Us How Jesus Has Sent Us

And you are speaking to us by your spirit. You speak to us through your word. You lead us, you guide us. We praise you for the privilege of being with you and we pray that we would not neglect being with you.

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We've defined the primary types of prayer: supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, confession, and intercession.

What are the five keys to prayer? ›

Call to Me…
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  • Pray with confidence. Do you pray confidently? ...
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  • God answers in his time. ...
  • God answers for his glory.
Feb 1, 2016

What is the most powerful prayer ever? ›

It is called the "Jesus Prayer", and it consists simply in uttering the single word "Jesus" (or "Lord Jesus", or "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner") in any situation, at any time and place, either aloud or silently.

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The Seven Ps of prayer are presence, praise, purpose, petition, pardon, protection and persistence.

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I think there are at least five ways of praying in the Spirit: 1) praying God's Word; 2) listening to God and praying; 3) partnering in prayer with Christ your Intercessor; 4) praying the God-given desires of your heart; 5) praying with divine love. Our prayer lives come to life when we are empowered by the Spirit.

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When must we wash our hands before prayer? ›

One of the pillars of Islam is that Muslims pray five times a day. Before those prayers, they are expected to perform a purification ritual called Wudu, requiring that they wash their faces, hands, arms, and feet.

Where in the Bible does it say wash hands and feet before prayer? ›

John 13:2–17 recounts Jesus' performance of this action. In verses 13:14–17, He instructs His disciples: If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

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Handwashing education in the community:
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  • Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58% ...
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%

What are 3 important facts about hand washing? ›

Hand Hygiene
  • Research shows that washing hands with soap and water could reduce deaths from diarrheal disease by up to 50%. ...
  • Researchers estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, 1 million deaths a year could be prevented. ...
  • A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands.

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26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Who was the guy who washed his hands in the Bible? ›

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Bible Gateway Leviticus 11 :: NIV. You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud. "`There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you.

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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). Hearts, like oceans, are turbulent and deep, but who can still them?

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Jesus promises to be with us through the power of the Spirit, to work in and through us to accomplish his purposes in the world. This does not necessarily happen in easily visible, spectacular ways. Yet wherever there is healing, reconciling, life-giving work happening, this is the work of God.

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A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

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All who will rest from their own work of bringing their own life under control can enter into God's rest. The promise holds true for you and me. The rest of God is available to us. Given the above verses, unbelief may prevent us from experiencing God's rest; therefore, in order to enter that rest, we must have faith.

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