Worship Does Not Begin By Going to Church

I’ve seen lots of definitions of “worship,” but this one by George Campbell Morgan is superb:

Worship consists in the finding of my own life, and the yielding of it wholly to God for the fulfillment of His purpose.

That is worship.

So worship does not begin by going to church. This is a very valuable part of worship, but it is secondary. The service is a pause in which in word and attitude we give expression to life’s inner song. If there is no inner song, there is no worship here.

It is in the service of a life, not specific acts done as apart from the life. I may preach today and never worship. But because my life is found in His law, answering His call, my life has become a song of praise. So I worship!

God Has 2 Arms

Which God do you know?  Both are true.  Both are powerful.

Isaiah 40:10 describes God this way, “Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.”

Do you know this God who rolls up His sleeve, bears His powerful arm, slams it on the table and says, “C’mon people, get it together.”

Isaiah 40:11 describes God this way, “He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”

Do you know the tender arms of God which remind us of His personal care for us?

God has two arms…one is mighty and powerful demanding holiness and righteousness.  One arm tenderly cares for the weak and wounded.

Almighty AND tender…One Awesome God.

How is Worship Relevant to Life?

How is worship relevant to life?

1. The first characteristic attitude of the soul that worships is acceptance of the will of God. They stand before the throne and say, “Amen. So be it, Lord!” This is where worship and life are inextricably linked. It can be so difficult amid the personal strains and frustrations of life to bow submissively to the will of God. In worship we learn to do this regularly. For it is through worship we come to know that there is just one thing needful at such a time.

2. The second note of worship in its relevance to life is the commitment to the purpose of God. Christianity is not all submission and resignation. Too often Christians have allowed the faith to appear as a reactionary influence when the truth is the exact reverse.

The will of God is not something to be simply accepted–it is something to be asserted, something to be done. “Amen” is not always a sigh; it is sometimes a shout!

If we would say “Amen” to our own prayers by putting our heart and mind and will at Christ’s disposal, we should go out and serve Christ as we have never done before.

3. The third note of worship in its relevance to life is a wonderful sense of joy in the fellowship of God. it comes out of an acceptance of the will of God and the commitment to the purpose of God. If God is love, then joy is a natural by-product of love.

But what is the deep root of joy which can sing its hallelujahs through the darkness? This leads us to the fourth essential not of worship in its relevance to life: the assurance of the victory of God.

Why Should We Worship God?

1) We should give to God what is due to Him. Think of His love and mercy. He hates sin. And yet how He loves the sinner! God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.

2) We should worship God because it is good for us. Only the worship of God can satisfy the highest aspiration of our nature. Worship can soothe our sorrows and anxieties. It nourishes the deepest root of morality. It inspires us to love to our full potential.

Is Your Claim to be a Christian Bogus?

John writes in 1 John 2:3-6, 9-11

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

The claim to be a Christian may be variously stated in terms of knowing God (vs. 4), or living in Christ (vs. 6), or being in the light (vs. 9), but invariably, if it’s an authentic claim, it will show itself in a new life of obeying God (vs. 4), imitating Christ (vs. 6), and loving our brothers and sisters (vs. 9-10). Without such a moral authentication, the claim is seen as bogus.

To which someone might reply, “Because no one is perfectly obedient then no one knows God!”

Wrong. As Calvin said,

He does not mean that those who wholly satisfy the law keep his commandments (and no such instance can be found in this world), but those who strive, according to the capacity of human infirmity, to form their life in obedience to God.

Lead With God’s Love

A few days ago I wrote a post on God’s wrath.  It needed to be said.

But in telling others about God, we don’t lead with God’s wrath.  People need to first hear that they are loved unconditionally before we address the issue of sin.  We assume wrath comes before grace, but that is not the biblical way.  God’s first and last word is always grace.  Until we have been assured that we are loved and forgiven, it is impossible to address our sinfulness correctly.  We will operate out of our own resources, trying to get God to like us by our own efforts to change.  God’s first word is always grace, as Barth said.  Only then can we begin to understand God’s holiness, and ours.

They Touched Jesus

1 John 1:1-4 describes well the relationship and passion of the disciples/apostles to Jesus, the Word of Life.

It so aptly describes that which they heard, seen, looked at, and touched.

To hear would not have been enough. To have seen was more compelling. But to have TOUCHED was the conclusive proof of material reality, that the Word became “flesh, and lived for a while among us.” This word “touched” (epselaphesan), the climax of the four relative clauses, describes more than a momentary contact. It means to grope or feel after to find, like a blind man in the dark.

The conclusion: the disciples (and John in particular) REALLY KNEW JESUS.