Culture of Worship - Oneness
As we look at the foundation of Biblical worship we already noted previously that our bodies as believers have been made the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Because of this truth we see that any of our deeds whether moral or immoral are committed in the Holy of Holies, in the very presence of God Himself. We noted that because of this it should change what we are comfortable doing and thinking in God’s temple, but beyond that it should change the seriousness and fervor that we have in our praise, prayer, fellowship, service and love.
To build on this I want to look at a couple of passages in the incredible book of Ephesians. First Ephesians 2 verses 4-10, let’s read this incredible passage:
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
What I want us to dive into this passage through is this idea of “In Christ Jesus”. It is a truth throughout the New Testament that Christ is in us and that we are in Christ as believers. When we come to the moment of surrender before God and he does the work of Justification in our hearts and saves us we are made into a new creation, and that creation exists in an organic and real relationship in which Christ lives in us. We become His temple.
The lifelong process that follows is called sanctification, and it is the process of becoming more like Christ, to be more conformed to the image of Christ as revealed through Scripture. What we see in this passage is that our works cannot get us salvation, but the works that we do as believers as a result of our salvation have been prepared and ordained before the beginning of time in eternity past.
I want to really emphasize this because I don’t think we realize that as the chosen of God we were in the mind of God before He created this world. We were in the mind of God during the process of creation. We were in the mind God when he became human and carried on a ministry on this Earth. We were in the mind of God when He was nailed to a cross and hung tortured and in pain that broke both body and spirit. We were in the mind of God when He was raised from the dead and then when He ascended back into Heaven and brothers and sisters we are in the mind of God right now!
We have been in the mind of Christ for all eternity and now we are called to have the same mind that was also in Christ Jesus himself because we have been made the temples of Him. He has set us up at His right hand and blessed us with every spiritual blessing, that’s the reality that we live in. It adds weight to the teaching Paul gave in Romans when he spoke about our freedom in Christ. We are free from the law, free from legalism but not for the purpose of being free TO sin but to be free FROM sin. When we sin we not only do so in the temple of God Himself but we are also bringing Christ who is in us along for the ride, but we have been freed from this, and prepared for us since before the world are good works, good thoughts, true worship, real and genuine prayer, and heartfelt service and love in which we can walk.
Now to start moving into another Ephesians passage that will move into a definition of what a culture of worship should look like.
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” - Ephesians 4:1-5
Up to this point we’ve perhaps been looking at having a heart of worship, and individual appreciation for who are in Christ and who we are to be and how we are to live with Christ in us. Now we look at the culture of worship itself. First and foremost it is unified. We are asked here to walk together in humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance and love and we walk together bound by the Spirit himself. Brothers and Sisters, as believers the same Spirit dwells in each of us. The same Gospel has been given to all of us, we are baptized for the same purpose and our faith is in the same God and Father that permeates all of creation. This is the very foundation of corporate worship and having a culture of worship.
When we stand in a church singing words on a screen but are thinking more about not particularly liking that song or it’s arrangement, when we are distracted by the outward appearance of the people around us, when we sing because we’re supposed to not from a heart that knows it stands in the presence of God, that is the very part of ourselves that Christ died to kill! When we are being led in prayer and we simply close our eyes and wait, that is not from the Spirit that binds us together. When we leave our brothers and sisters alone through the week and don’t see how we could at the very least serve them through prayer, let alone other ways that is from our human nature that we have been freed from, that is not the good work that God prepared before the foundation of the world for us to walk in.
A culture of worship is a group of believers who are aware of their place as the temple of God Himself. A culture of worship is a group of believers who lay themselves aside and sing, pray, serve and love through Christ in them and walk in the works that He prepared for them. A culture of worship is bound together in the Christ that resides in us all and powered by His Holy Spirit that He has given us. What is the posture of our hearts as we approach worship? Is it wrecked and rebuilt by this these Scriptural truths, or is it worried about what the next person thinks of their voice? Is it humbled and prostrate on its knees before the Almighty who resides in it, or is it bummed out about the snacks?
Let us strive to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through these truths, and yes that means we worship differently, to be justified is to be being sanctified, and to be sanctified is to change.
JBC Worship Leader