Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Genuine Worship


H        Heart                                                              Eph 4:25-5:2
Recently on the radio I heard that D. L. Moody, the founder of Moody Bible Institute, was a successful servant of Jesus, largely because he had a changeable / teachable heart.  The following passage from Ephesians chapters 4-5 tells us to be tenderhearted and provides further direction on how to get there:

“So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.  If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.  Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.  And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.   Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.

Genuine worship involves imitation of the One who is worthy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Genuine Worship


S        Servant / Service                                          Col 3:12-24
When we refer to Jesus as Lord, we’re acknowledging that He is our Master and therefore, we should render service to Him as servants.  A part of genuine worship is to carry out the desires of our Master.  The following passage from Colossians chapter 3 gives a nice summary of what the life of a servant of Jesus should involve:
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.   Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.   Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.   Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.  Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.  Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.   Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord.  Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

When this life ends and we stand in the presence of Jesus, we want to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Genuine Worship


R        Reconciliation                                              2 Cor 5: 18-21
“And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

If you have a checking account, you receive a statement from the bank each month, which you should reconcile to your records.  Now usually, the reconciling items go both ways.  You may have checks that haven’t cleared the bank yet, so you must subtract those from the bank balance.   And the bank may have charged you some fees that you need to recognize.  In most cases, neither you or the bank has the correct balance, but the process of reconciliation brings the balances into agreement by considering all of the items.

But did you notice in this passage it says that, “For God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.”  We need to understand that God is holy and perfect – He is the correct balance.  As fallen sinful human beings we need to be reconciled to God and only He is able to accomplish this through faith in Jesus.  In another New Testament book, Paul expresses it this way, “Yet now He has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.” (Col 1:22)  The only way we can be made suitable to stand before a holy, perfect God is for Him to change us to be like Him.  And in the meantime, He wants us to be telling others about the change that only He can make possible.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Genuine Worship


O        Offering                                                        

In Romans 12, Paul instructs us: “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  In the Old Testament the Jewish people were required to kill and sacrifice animals, but today, since Jesus has accomplished the perfect sacrifice for sin once and for all, followers of Jesus are called to be “living sacrifices.”   The problem with living sacrifices however, is our tendency to crawl / slide off of the altar.  But the more we allow Jesus, His Word and the indwelling Holy Spirit to transform us, the more we will truly worship Him.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Genuine Worship


W      Worthy Walk                                                

The prisoner Paul writes from Rome to the believer’s in Jesus at the church in Ephesus:  “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.”  Future blogs on WORSHIP will help us to better understand the characteristics of a worthy walk.  But at this point know that the walk of the believer involves worship – the proclaiming in word and deed of the “worth ship” of the Lord.  And that walk should be characterized by humility, gentleness, patience, love and a unity among followers of Jesus.  Do you see some areas for change and improvement in your walk?