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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#843. Above all else - A call to worship (26/6/23)

This week, our devotionals are based upon our short series on worship entitled ‘Above All’ from CCP's weekend away. In each devotional, I’ve included the recording from each session.


Main idea: Let’s Guard what flows into our hearts, so that worship will flow out in everything we do.

‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ (Proverbs 4:23)

To listen to the recording from this session please click below:

1. Worship is to be above all else

Worship is the primary purpose of our creation. Knowing, enjoying and celebrating the worth of God is fundamental to what we are made for. Terry Virgo wrote of its pre-eminence:

‘NO HIGHER CALLING - Worship is our highest calling. God is seeking worshippers, so converts must become worshippers. I remember one of my pagan friends once asked,‘What’s God’s problem? He just wants to be praised all the time.’ We tend to be nervous of people who seem to need our praise. In his books Desiring God and The Pleasures of God, John Piper argues how appropriate it is for God to seek worship. God is worthy of our praise and delight.To be pre-occupied with something less is to rob us of our chief joy and highest privilege. When God directs us to praise Him above everything else, He knows that’s the place of our greatest fulfilment and satisfaction. He made us for Himself. So worship is fundamental to our identity and to be a worshipper is to fulfil your destiny as God’s creature.To be a non-worshipper is a tragedy, ignorant of what you are on planet earth for.’ (Terry Virgo, Worship in Spirit and Truth).

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, His model for prayer begins with worship:

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Matthew 6:9-13)

Do you see that Jesus teaches us to begin with remembering who God is and by ‘hallowing’ (giving reverence to) His name? Spending a good amount of time magnifying God is very important and I think that we too often move on to petitions before we’ve adequately moved our hearts in praise.


Loving God is God’s greatest command (Matthew 22:37-39) and is to be our greatest pursuit. We read in Proverbs:

‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ (Proverbs 4:23)

Proverbs 4:23, doesn’t use the word worship, but it is at the core of what it means: the flow of the guarded heart is a life of worship; so Let’s Guard what flows into our hearts, so that worship will flow out


2. What is worship?

What is worship? Worship is a word that can be understood in different ways by different people. We say things like, “he worships that team…she worships the ground he walks on…I worship cake…” When we say, as is true, that our priority in life is to worship God, different things will come into our minds and so it’s important to understand what it means. Our word ‘worship’ comes from worth-ship; worship is appreciating and showing the worth of God. To come up with a good definition of worship is difficult. It’s rather like trying to explain beauty or love where words can only do so much. However, here are a few helpful definitions.

‘We worship what we give most worth to’ (My definition)
‘Worship is our Spirit-birthed, holistic response to the revealed and supreme worth of God.’ (My definition)
True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things’ (John Piper)
‘Worship is when the mind rightly understands and the heart is rightly valuing God.’ (John Piper)
‘Worship is not entertainment. Worship is when the people of God come and as priests, lift up their praises, their adoration, their affection to God.’ (R. C. Sproul).

The idea of worth is central to worship. We are making value judgements all the time and we give our attention, time and affection to things that we consider to be of the greatest worth. To worship God is to have Him at the top of our worth-scale; Our love for Him determines how we treat everything else. If we worship God, our sex - often and idol - will be determined by His will. If we worship God, our work will be determined and kept within limits by Him. If worship God our use of money will be determined by Him etc.


3. Worship is everything

It’s important to understand that worship is everything we do. As we ‘guard our heart’ everything that flows from us will be an act of worship. Too often we limit worship to singing songs, which is only one very important aspect. Paul writes about worship as everything we do in in Romans 12:

‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ (Romans 12:1-2)

A very helpful text of worship in all things is 1 Corinthians 10:31:

‘So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Worship is seeking to enjoy and show the worth of God all that we do.


Response - What is the flow of our worship like?

‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ (Proverbs 4:23)

By adulthood, we each have 60,000 miles of blood vessels inside our bodies – that's more than twice the distance around the world. Those vessels keep blood flowing, supplying your tissues with oxygen and nutrients, and keeping your organs, including the heart - your heart pumps the blood so needs to be kept healthy.


If we will guard and nourish our hearts through worship, then worship will flow out into every aspect of our lives.


We will worship God with our work or how we study

We will worship God with what we entertain ourselves with

We will worship God with our use of money

We will worship God with how we dress

We will worship God in how we relate to our family

We will worship God in our everyday conversations

We will worship God in our praise and singing


1. Let’s learn to feed our hearts through acts of worship and repent of what does not nourish worship.

2. Let’s Memorise Proverbs 4:23. Let’s store it in our hearts so as to continue to live in the good of it.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. NOTICES

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


2. ICEBREAKER

What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?

3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER

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