Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Worship in the Word

I was church-less by choice for seven years. Although God was sovereign over that bad decision, it was a very unhealthy place to be. When the bottom fell out of my life, I could barely stand because I was so spiritually malnourished. I needed the local church.

I still remember the day I visited the church I now call home. It was the last Sunday in 2007. There weren't many people. I can't recall what we sang, but I clearly remember the sermon on Isaiah 6:1-6. It was the first solid spiritual meal I had "eaten" in a long time. I was sad, scared, and dreading what 2008 would bring, but the pastor's simple words turned my gaze away from my circumstances to God in His majesty and glory. I went home and cried out of relief and gratitude to the Lord for ending my self-imposed fast.

You may be thinking, "Why is she writing about a comforting sermon when the topic is worship?" As both Kim and Rebecca have written, worship involves the revelation of God in His Word. Therefore, sound preaching and worship go hand in hand.

From John MacArthur:
Many people see preaching and worship as two distinct aspects of the church service, as if preaching has nothing to do with worship and vice versa. But that is an erroneous concept. The ministry of the Word is the platform on which all genuine worship is built. [1]
Genuine worship is a response to divine truth... Real worship acknowledges God as He has revealed himself in His Word... Worship means ascribing glory to Him because of these truths. It means adoring Him for who He is, for what He has done, and for what he has promised. It must therefore be a response to the truth that He has revealed about Himself. Such worship cannot rise out of a vacuum. It is prompted and vitalized by the objective truth of the Word. [2]
In the past, I thought worship consisted only of singing and offering prayers of praise. Preaching, on the other hand, wasn't on the same level. In my opinion, you just sat, listened, and did nothing whereas you could participate in the singing. But I think quite differently today. A godly response to sound teaching is anything but passive. The greatest commandment is: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Matt. 22:37) I believe all those aspects of loving God are present when we receive and respond to the ministry of the Word.

How many times have you heard the Scriptures explained, and you've seen something new about Christ you never saw before? Didn't it stir your "religious affections" and cause your heart to well up with love for your Savior?

Do you remember the time before you were a Christian when you had no interest in the Word? It was a closed book as far as you were concerned. But because of Christ, the veil that was over our hearts has been taken away. Our minds are no longer darkened. Our ears aren't stopped. With unveiled faces, we are able to behold the glory of the Lord in His Word. By the Holy Spirit, this leads to renewed minds and transformed lives that can be offered to God as spiritual worship.  (2 Cor. 3:12-18, Rom. 12:1-2)

So this coming Sunday as I listen to the preaching of the Word, I pray that I would get a greater glimpse of who God is. And I pray that it would result in more love and a changed life for His praise and glory.

I hope you will be encouraged to pray the same way.

1. Worship: The Ultimate Priority, John MacArthur, Moody Press, 2012, pg. 35.
2. 37.

Note: The post title is taken from my church's bulletin. Worship in the Word is the heading over the sermon title. I think it is very appropriate.

1 comment:

  1. seven years!? We were "churchless" for a year and it felt like an eternity. We were feeling VERY malnourished.
    I too love that feeling when something in the Word is revealed to me, made clearer, that light bulb came on moment! Awesome!
    Thanks for sharing your story and more on Worship! There are many forms of it to be sure.