Thank you to all who joined us last Sunday to discuss our draft Mission Action Plan and strategic directions. The Parish Council and myself are greatly encouraged by your engagement, contributions and feedback. I am excited for what lay ahead!
Over the coming weeks, we will look at each of the 6 pillars and take a look at what the bible says in relation to each of these. This Sunday we begin with “Worship!”.
Worshipping God is the most wonderful thing in the world as far as I’m concerned! There’s nothing more beautiful, meaningful, intoxicating, enthralling… I could go on! Worship is a beautiful and powerful reality if we understand it from God’s perspective.
In the bible it means to bow down or lay one’s face to the ground in an acknowledgment of God’s glory. It’s an acknowledgement that there’s someone who is transcendent and glorious and He is worthy of our full allegiance and devotion! Bowing down or laying on our face before God is a physical act is worship when it reflects the heart’s posture to follow the King. It’s an outward expression of a heart attitude to God. The heart attitude matters! Worship can’t just be an outward show of religiosity or traditions, and it’s not just singing in church.
Jesus said “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth”. John 4:24 (ESV)
To worship in spirit is to be led by the living God and to know the joy that comes from fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like a refreshing drink of water, a cool breeze, the warmth of a fire. He can also be a torrent, a hurricane, and a wildfire. Our experience of worship can be alive when we worship in spirit. True worship must first be in spirit – led by the Spirit and involves our spirit, the in-most part of our being.
To worship in truth is to ground our life in God’s truth, in His eternal Word, the Bible. We cannot worship however we want and do whatever we feel like. To worship is to bow before God and to delightfully follow His orders. We get to do what God says and not follow after the sin that used to enslave us.
The tendency of worship in spirit without the Word is lawlessness. We might love Jesus, but if we don’t do what He commands, we don’t really love Him. It’s merely lip-service.
The tendency of worship in truth without the Spirit is legalism. We might be doing the right things, but if our hearts are not encountering the living God, then we miss the most important thing. Truth is a person named Jesus (john 14:6).
Jesus is building a church that worships in both spirit and in truth. Jesus is building a church that is neither motivated by legalism nor lawlessness. To truly worship in spirit and in truth is to love God and to keep His commandments (John 14:15). This can only happen when people truly know Jesus, who He is and what He has done. This draws love from the very core of our being and tells us that Jesus is worthy of our worship.
Worship is about loving Jesus so much as our King that our greatest joy would be to do what He wants us to do. This biblical worship doesn’t just happen during an event or a worship service, it is something that can only fully happen in everyday life as we say “yes” to Him.
Jesus’ main message in the Gospels was that the Kingdom of God is at hand. He taught about it, demonstrated it, and invited people to come into it. If we’re truly following His Holy Spirit, then the great commission of Jesus will be highlighted as the original mandate from heaven for us today, to observe all that He has commanded us.
Matthew 28:17-20 says - And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In these verses we read that Jesus’ disciples worshiped Him, that is, bowed down before Him. Then Jesus explains how all authority has been given to Him. Jesus then describes how we’re called to invite others into this beautiful Kingdom where Jesus is King. Every church, ministry of worship and worship team needs to keep this as the central order from Jesus if we’re going to fulfil our mission from Him.
To worship is the heartbeat of a disciple, or follower, of Jesus Christ. To be a disciple means to be identified with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection. It also means to come under Jesus’ authority, to follow Him with all our hearts, to do His will joyfully because we know that’s where true joy and life are at.
We live in a world of brokenness but Jesus, through His sacrifice on the cross, has made a way for us to enter into His glorious Kingdom. He invites us into God’s Kingdom through repentance and believing in Him. This is the Good News (Mark 1:15)! And it’s worth inviting others into.
So, this week afresh, let His presence fill your heart, let His glory transform your soul, and let His power be manifest in your life!
(note: some of these thoughts are borrowed from David Kim)