Basics: Worship God

by Kyle
published June 27, 2015


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Receiving eternal life through trusting Jesus and his death and resurrection is nothing short of a miracle. Holy God declares sinners righteous and cancels their debt through simple belief in a work that was already done for them. There is no greater miracle. Healing bodies is one thing, but healing souls is something greater and longer lasting.

If you have never led someone to Christ, please believe that there is no better experience or feeling than to take part in that miracle in a person’s life. To witness a person pass “from death into life” (John 5:24) is awesome in the truest sense of the word. But what’s next?

If you’re an astute evangelist, you’ll tell this new baby Christian about baptism as their first act of obedience to God, a public declaration of their faith and an outward sign of an inward reality. If you’re really good, you’ll either lead them in discipleship or make sure somebody else does. At the very least, you’ll make sure they have a Bible and start attending a good church.

But why would you want them to go to church? What is church even for?

You might point out that church is where we worship God. You might, with the best of motives, strongly desire for this new Christian to experience God in worship and mistake corporate worship for the totality of the worship which God asks for.

But church is not for worship. Worship is bigger than Sunday morning. Worship is your whole life.

Romans 12:1 asks that we give our whole bodies over to God as a “living sacrifice” to him. Your pinky toe, your appendix, each hair (which God has numbered), and everything else belong to him since he has purchased it with a price (see 1 Corinthians 6:20).

Church actually exists to encourage and instruct believers in how to worship. The pastor’s sermon is nothing more than a clever oratory if we do not better understand how to surrender ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. In fact, we haven’t listened at all if we do not apply that understanding to our lives. The moving music is nothing more than a weekly concert if it has not motivated and encouraged us to surrender ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. In fact, we have wasted the time of the praise team or choir if we do not live differently after we leave. The Lord’s table is nothing more than bread and juice if we do not face the reason for Christ’s death head on. In fact, we blaspheme him if we do not respond to his sacrifice with a sacrifice of our own.

In John 4:21-24, Jesus reveals that where we worship is irrelevant compared to how we worship. The Father, he says, is looking for people who worship “in spirit and in truth.”

Whatever worshiping “in spirit” means, it is first invisible. Our motives and thoughts cannot be known with certainty by anyone else but God. The worship of God is something that takes place in the heart and has an effect on the rest of the body. I quoted Romans 12:1 above. Paul echoes this idea in the very next verse. The only way we can offer our bodies to God is if we are “transformed by the renewing of (our minds)” (Romans 12:2). Worship starts with what you want. If you just want to look religious, you will. If you want God, you will.

Worshiping God “in truth” means acting in a way consistent with the truth. Is it consistent with the truth of God’s universal reign, Christ’s all sufficient sacrifice and the Holy Spirit’s overwhelming grace to only worship on Sunday morning? In fact, does what churches do on Sunday morning make any sense at all unless the people filling the sanctuary have already sanctified God in their hearts before they ever walk into the building? If Jesus gave us his perfect life, does it make any sense at all not to give him our imperfect lives? That’s why Paul describes offering our whole lives to God as our only “reasonable” act of worship (Romans 12:1).

Put simply, worship is to consider something or someone ultimately worthy of our whole lives and to act like it. If this is the case, all people worship something. All humans live their lives in the service and for the advancement of someone or something. It might be another God. It might be human reason. It might be their own comfort. All people give their bodies and lives to something. What do you worship?

What do you think?

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