The Heart of Worship

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1 )

The tagline under our church name (as seen here on our website) reads: Glorying in God | Gathering in Grace | Gospelizing the City. This comes out of a basic definition of the church as “God’s People on God’s mission for God’s glory.” We often employ slogans like these to summarize what we are all about. But they are only slogans. It is always important and necessary for us to go deeper into God’s word to understand the great truths that lie behind our slogans. Sound-bytes and slogans are helpful for our memories but alone they don’t feed the soul. In the old days churches often employed Catechisms which are a series of inter-related questions and answers, as a tool to help children and young people learn basic Bible teaching. We have used this learning tool with our own children at various times in our family life. Most of the old Catechisms usually started out with a question that goes something like…

Q: “What is the chief end of man?”  (“Chief end” means “ultimate goal”  i.e. “what are we here for?”)

Then the answer goes…

A: “To glorify God and enjoy him forever”

In his book Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper’s basic thesis launches from this truth and argues that because the ultimate goal of all people is to worship God – to give God glory with our entire selves – then being on God’s mission is (1) making better worshipers of those who know God as well as (2) making more and more worshipers out of people who do not yet know God. How is your growth as a worshiper of God? Are you reflecting the glory of God more and more in your life? Are you coming to know him better, love him deeper, and reflect his glory more brightly? Are you leading others to become worshipers of God?

Being a worshiper, we are told from Romans 12:1-2, is not just showing up on Sundays or even simply gathering for mid-week Bible Studies or Gospel Community groups. From verses 1-2 we saw last time that worship means “Glorifying God on every day and in every way.” The English novelist Aldus. L. Huxley who wrote one of those books we had to read in high school, The Brave New World, once quipped, "It doesn't take much of a man to be a Christian--it just takes all of him." Being a worshiper of God means worshiping God with your entire being. So…

Worship is not a duty but a delight. Our worship is a heart-felt response to the measureless mercy and great grace you have been shown by God through Jesus.

Worship is a continual transformation. If you are in Christ then you will be going through a transformation or metamorphosis of the mind. Paul exhorts the same thing in  2 Corinthians 3:18 when he speaks of the new reality of the believer in Christ: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another…” This transformation is one that makes us more and more like Jesus, reflecting his glory.

Worship is discerning God’s will in our daily actions (vs. 2b).True worshipers of God are moving from idolatry to true worship in everything we do, whether eating or drinking, or whatever we are doing we are learning to “do all to the glory of God.” (1Cor 10:31)

Many of us are fasting during this season leading up to Easter we are calling the "Valley of Vision." For those who are fasting I hope you are finding that it helps you to discern God's will in all you daily actions. When we deny ourselves our favorite gifts from God, we are telling God, I love and adore you more than anything else and I am completely satisfied in you alone. All these gifts God gives us may be good things and we’re thankful for them but it is God alone whom we worship!