Over the past few days we have been trying to grasp a Biblical understanding of worship. We have already said that to worship God you need to be Born Again which in itself must be realized in worship as a lifestyle. Then followed the need to understand the Object of Worship, Almighty God who reveals Himself as the Trinitarian God. Then followed the fact that God the Holy Spirit gives us the power to Worship since the New Birth means a spiritual awakening.
Today we consider a few acts of worship that are practical. Once we grasp that we worship the True God who comes by The Holy Spirit to save and empower a lifestyle of worship … then we respond …
1) Offering Self. Far too often the people of God do not respond the way God requires as to daily worship. I wonder if this was true in the Church at Rome that caused Paul to use the phrase … “I urge you, brothers”. Did they need motivation? Yes, they did!
Ro 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Because of what God has done for them at Calvary they needed to (and so do we) “offer your bodies as living sacrifices”. Although there were Gentiles in the Church, there were many Jews too. They would understand perfectly what Paul meant because in Jerusalem they knew that a sacrifice was slaughtered … it was rendered dead … and now … they needed to offer their bodies as “living sacrifices”. Before a substitute was offered … now they were required to offer themselves.
Although “worship” has a corporate dimension, it is also deeply personal … you … yourself! You see, worship is a spiritual act. A transformed soul who has put off the world and whose mind now focusses on Christlikeness (the renewing of your mind) is able to “to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In a nut shell, all of me is the Lord’s and all of me needs to be used for the Lord, His purposes and His glory. Lifestyle worship exits for the pleasure of God!
2) Offering Praise. Too often those little idols stick their necks out demanding attention and adoration. Our daughter arrived from the US today. It was glorious seeing her again, hugging her and chatting with her. Yet there was another thing that happened. Before Easter she asked us to get her some Easter Eggs. You know what Easter Eggs are! Yes … chocolate, marsh-mellow and a few hard ones. It was my pleasure to hand them over. The temptation to “sample” was getting to great! Get the meaning of “little idols”? Those irresistible “things, items, deeds” that are sinful, yet so tempting. Remember where praise must be directed? Remember where my attention and adoration needs to be placed … with God!
Heb 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
The writer to the Hebrews surely does not mean a “sacrifice of praise” is just singing! Apart from praising God in song, praise is sharing testimonies of how God has been working, providing, guiding, rebuking and encouraging you as you follow Him. Praise is also accepting His will for my life even though I wanted another outcome. Why, because I remember:
Ro 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
3) Offering Thanksgiving. Have you heard a boss talking to an employee or a parent to a child … or even an educator to learners or students saying … “You are ungrateful”! Christians might be like this too at times … ungrateful! We must never forget where we come from, what we are now, where we are going and who made the great change in our life and our eternity possible. Remember salvation is because of God’s grace. Grace literally is “underserved favour”.
Because of our sinful depravity, no believer deserved securing the merits of Calvary to his or her account … yet we did. That’s grace! We may not take this favour of the Divine for granted, for if we do we will be ungrateful. The Psalmist gives us a picture of gratitude when he says
Ps 116:17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.
Because of grace he offers a Thank Offering and names the one receiving the offering … he calls on the name of the Lord. He not only comes with his thank offering, he names the recipient of the offering … the LORD! Living on this side of the Cross necessitates believers to be more ready to offer God thanks for His great mercies. We do this with words, attitudes, behaviour, performance, service … because we love Him who is our Lord, God and King!
4) Offering Support. As Christians we do not live within a vacuum. We are part of a Body. Together each part forms the whole. Within the whole there are those who are less fortunate economically. There are those going through horrific health struggling including aging. There are those who find themselves in homes where they are the only Christian. In many ways, we might be more privileged than so many others in every sphere of life. Do we let them struggle through their hardships or do we seek to help where we can … which includes praying for them?
Heb 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
The writer to the Hebrews says they when saved souls “do good and share with others” … these are sacrifices and sacrifices that God is please with.
So here we have just four practical aspects of worship … offering self, praise, thanksgiving and support. Why not spend a few moments reflecting upon how you fulfil these aspects of worship. Do you need to make a few changes in your life to fulfil a lifestyle of worship … unto the Lord?
Dear God, forgive me for being so self-centered and not thinking of others, especially the household of believers. Thank You for caring for me so much. Please help me to care more for You and Your people without forgetting those who need You without even knowing it … for Jesus’ sake. Amen.