The Only Reason To Worship
In the next four weeks at JBC we are going to be devoting our morning service time entirely to Jesus. The four services will have songs that are chosen to put our minds and affections on our Lord and remind us of the work He did on the cross and the great love with which He loves us. The messages will also have a direct focus on Jesus in the Gospels. This is centered around one idea: To increase our knowledge of Jesus, for the sake of increasing our love for Jesus, for the result of moving us to action.
We want to encourage everyone in our church to commit to being there each week of this study, and also think this would be a great time to invite and bring along anyone and everyone you can invite or bring along. Any unsaved friends will be met with four messages and many songs that are just completely focused on the point of the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ.
In thinking about these upcoming services I’ve had some thoughts that God has been leading me through, and I would love to share them as something like heart preparation to get the most out of this great upcoming study.
1. Worship is our only reasonable response to God’s revelation.
Psalm 32:1 - How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! 2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!
32:7 - You are my hiding place; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance.
32:10 - Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.
As I’ve said before, when we make our thoughts dwell on who God is as revealed through Scripture, our only response is to worship, in word, in song, and in action. Another Psalm says “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” Every human being that saw God or even a shadow of who God was in the Scripture had the most visceral reactions. God spoke to Abram and just from one conversation with the Lord, Abram spent the rest of his life in service and obedience (Gen. 11) Job suffered on every level a human being can possibly suffer, but after all that was humbled when God spoke to him and said “I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I reject my words and am sorry for them: I am dust and ashes.” (Job 42) And Saul on the rode to Damascus saw Jesus as a light that was brighter than the sun and his life was completely and utterly changed and consumed by God.
I think deeper understanding of Psalm 32 will only make our worship and praise richer though, which leads me to another point.
2. Worship AND the Christian life only grow when Christians have an attitude of repentance.
Psalm 32 was written by King David after he had the most epic “backslide” of all time. Even being a man after God’s own heart, he committed adultery with a woman, got her pregnant and then had her husband killed as a cover up. In Psalm 32 David talks about the huge physical toll that his sin took on him. He felt like his body was wasting away and he groaned all day long and he had a fever as hot as the summer, which can get pretty toasty in Jerusalem I understand. As soon as he stopped hiding his sin and repented to the Lord, he was forgiven.
In our small group study of 1 John we’ve been talking about the fact that a true believer is marked by repentance and obedience. A true believer walks in the light as Jesus is in the light (1:7) and we desire and have fellowship with other believers. If we say we are without sin we lie to ourselves, to others and to God and the truth is not in us. But verse nine says that if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
A person who is not in the habit of repentance for their sin is a person that is also not in the habit of seeking God and growing in the knowledge of Him. If our worship isn’t getting deeper and richer, if our prayers are not becoming more regular, and if our taking in of the Scripture and Scriptural teaching isn’t growing our thirst to know and grow even more, then brothers and sisters we may have a problem with repentance.
While it is technically true that God takes us as we are in salvation, His purpose is not to love us as we are but to love us into being like Him. In so many of the miracles Jesus did, he did them because the person asking for them had faith in Him, and after He did the miracle He would say any variation of “Go now and stop sinning”. We do not come to God on our terms, we come on His terms and we are given the standing before him to do so by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Repentance isn’t a one time thing, it’s a choice we make continually because we seek to walk in the light as Jesus Himself is in the light.
3. The same Jesus that left is the same Jesus that’s coming back.
Those are words spoken by two angels to the disciples after Jesus ascended into Heaven. This point is short. The Jesus described in the Gospels and throughout the Scripture is the same one that’s coming back. He hasn’t changed. We don’t get to pick and choose which parts of Jesus we prefer, He’s either totally our savior or He totally isn’t. Through reading about Him in the Scriptures, through encouraging one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, through prayer we can know the true Jesus more and more.
Our worship will not become more rich and deep and heartfelt until we know our God in a richer, deeper and more heartfelt way.