Experiencing Worship (Part 4)
Worship is a vital part of our Christian walk. Properly understood, it is the acknowledgement of God’s worth in every sphere of our lives. For the Christian, worship isn't an isolated event that happens on a Sunday morning - it is a lifestyle.
Worship does happen on a Sunday morning. Sometimes, however, even though we attend the service, sing the songs and listen to the sermon we don't experience it as worship. We experience it as drudgery or duty. Why?
One possibility is unconfessed sin. We know that God extends forgiveness to those who repent of their sins and trust in Christ. That is how any relationship with the Lord starts, but it is also how it grows. God calls on us to confess our sins as part of our growing relationship with God (see 1 John 1:9). Jesus also taught us to make confession a part of our prayers (Matt. 6:12).
Why would we have to confess if we've already been adopted into God's family? Take marriage as an example. When I sin against my wife it does not change the fact that we are married, but it does affect our relationship. Our marital status has not changed, but our experience of the joy, intimacy and trust that should accompany marriage has taken a blow. Confession and forgiveness restores the relationship.
Unconfessed sin hardens the heart and hinders worship. David experienced the cold prison of unconfessed sin, but he also experienced restoration: "I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,' and you forgave the iniquity of my sin." (Ps. 32:1-5).
Jesus Christ became a man, lived a perfect life, died the death that we deserved to die and rose from the dead, thereby securing the forgiveness of sin and eternal life for all who trust in Him. Don't hesitate: confess your sins and rejoice in his forgiveness.
Because of Christ,
Experiencing Worship (Part 3)
What stands in the way of experiencing worship? Worship, properly understood, is the acknowledgement of God’s worth in every sphere of our lives. We've been focussing on one special expression of worship: our Sunday worship service. However, this weekly expression of worship should not, in fact cannot, be divorced from the rest of our lives.
Our Sunday morning worship is just one part of our Christian lives. The rest of our lives should be as committed to acknowledging Christ as our Sunday service is. If that is not the case, the problem is not the service - the problem is us.
In James 2:17-20 we are warned that a faith that is not accompanied with works is "dead." True worship calls for a living, vibrant faith and such a faith can only grow in the atmosphere of obedience. A dead faith cannot feel and cannot experience true worship.
Peter also alluded to this when he admonished husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way, showing honour to them because they are fellow heirs with them of the grace of life (1 Pet. 3:7). Then he adds this warning: "so that your prayers may not be hindered." Clearly, when husbands do not honour Christ in how they treat their wives, their prayers will be hindered. Again, true worship is hindered by disobedience.
Sunday worship happens when believers in the Lord Jesus Christ gather together as the church of Christ, praying, singing, reading and explaining the Word of Christ, obediently conforming to the image of Christ. If we aren't conforming to the image of Christ, if we aren't acknowledging the Word of Christ in our lives, crucial elements of true worship are missing.
In short, don't just worship on a Sunday - worship Christ by following him every day of the week.
Because of Christ,
Experiencing Worship (Part 2)
In our last article we started a new series on worship - specifically experiencing worship. Worship, properly understood, is the acknowledgement of God’s worth in every sphere of our lives, but in this series our focus will be on one special expression of worship: our Sunday worship service.
On a Sunday worship happens when believers in the Lord Jesus Christ gather together as the church of Christ, praying, singing, reading and explaining the Word of Christ, obediently conforming to the image of Christ. Christ is at the heart of worship. Which brings us to an important point regarding worship: if we want to experience genuine worship we have to be Christ-centred.
In Heb. 13:15 we are told: "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." Worship acknowledges Christ's name. How do we acknowledge Christ's name?
The word translated "acknowledge" above is sometimes translated "confess" or "declare". In 1 John 4:2 it is written: "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God". And in Rom. 10:9 we read: "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Acknowledging Christ has two aspects. Firstly, it means that we know who Christ is (Jesus Christ has come in the flesh). Secondly, it means that we respond appropriately to him (confess him as Lord).
If you really want to experience worship, get to know Jesus better. This is why we strive for Christ-centred preaching and why you should pray for the ministry of the Word here at SBC. Also, as you grow in your knowledge of Christ, ask the Lord how you can properly respond to that knowledge. How does Christ's humanity give you hope? How does Christ's exaltation order your life? What does it mean to confess Christ as Lord?
These thoughts are the fuel of true worship.
Because of Christ,