#846. God is seeking to make us worshippers (30/6/23)
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.
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24)
Main idea: God has saved us and is working in us through many instruments to make us into worshippers - those who find our greatest worth in Him.
To listen to the message from our weekend away, follow the link below:
'God is trying to call us back to that for which He created us - to worship Him and enjoy Him forever’. (A. W. Tozer)
In this account of the Samaritan women, Jesus went out of His way to meet this woman, bring her into the Kingdom and make her into a worshipper and He is doing the same for us.
1. How God develops us as worshippers
There are many ways that God is developing us into worshippers (sanctification). Here are a few examples.
i. Through His truth
By reading His Word and listening to it taught, the Holy Spirit uses truth to sanctify us.
ii. Through fellowship
We learn to worship from one another
iii. Through our failure
David’s failure led him to a new place of humility and valuing God:
‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.’ (Psalm 51:10-12)
iv. Through suffering and perplexity
The psalmist speaks of His anger and perplexity until he came to a place of worship:
‘When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.’ (Psalm 73:16-17)
v. Through death
Death causes us to think about and set our hearts on eternal things:
‘David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realised the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.’ (2 Samuel 12:19-20)
vi. Through persecution and suffering
Suffering is like a purifying fire in which we gain stronger faith and devotion:
‘About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.’ (Acts 16:25-26)
2. Use acts of worship to guard and nourish the heart
During this short series, we’ve been learning about worship broadly. Let’s now, briefly, look at some acts of worship that we can use. Worship is everything but there are also a range of acts of worship when the church gathers. Paul writes on this:
‘What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.’ (1 Corinthians 14:26)
As we’ve seen, worship is everything we do, however, the Bible speaks of acts of worship which includes things like praise and songs of worship. In this session, we will briefly explore various acts of worship the we can engage with.
Let’s sing songs with good content. Let’s sing new songs from scripture. Let’s sing ‘with the spirit (the gift of tongues). Let’s sing wholeheartedly. Songs of worship to or about God (personally or together) form a major part of our worship.
‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Ephesians 5:18-20)
‘I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.’ (Psalm 63:2-5)
Guard and nourish the heart and mind with good songs
If we fill our mind with songs that tell us lies, don’t be surprised if the flow into our lives is hindered or polluted and vice-versa! Let’s follow Paul’s encouragement:
‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.’ (Colossians 3:16)
2. Spoken praise
As well as sung worship, we often speak out our praise to God. Biblical worship is often spoken or shouted without the use of music.
‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.’ (2 Peter 1:3-10)
3. Silent adoration
Silent contemplation and adoration of God (not mindfulness!) is a powerful form of worship.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
‘On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.’ (Psalm 63:6-8)
Communion is a vital part of Christian worship. In this sacrament, we celebrate God’s mercy to us in Christ.
‘For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
5. Tongues and interpretation
A gift that, when used appropriately, is a great help is drawing attention to God. This gift will be toward God in worship or prayer.
‘For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.’ (1 Corinthians 14:13-17)
Through prophecy, the Spirit reveals God to us. This gift can take the form of revelation about God by the Spirit.
‘His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…’ (Luke 2:67-69)
7. Physical expressions
The Bible teaches us to engage our body in our worship in various ways. Scripture includes dancing, clapping, raising hands, prostration, bowing… as expressions of worship in response to truth.
‘Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart…David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honour.”’ (2 Samuel 6:14-16, 21-22)
Final word - Above all else
‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ (Proverbs 4:23)
God wants us to know that we are created to express His true worth and live to bring Him glory in all things. In Romans we read of the mankind’s failure to prioritise the worship of God:
‘Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles… They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.’ (Romans 1:22-23, 35)
God is seeking worshippers. He is commanding it of us. God is longing it of us and He is working it in us. God is on a mission that we are to join Him on. Our evangelism and discipleship are for the purpose of worship. And Worship will drive the mission!
Like Johann Sebastian Bach who often signed his musical manuscripts ’S.D.G’ (Soli Peo Gloria), to God alone be the glory, may this be written over every aspect of our lives.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Next week in our week of prayer. We are having a shared prayer meeting with Vineyard Life Church Richmond on Tuesday evening (in the building) so let's do all that we can to be there. Would be great to have at least 50 of our members there.
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
This week, our study is based upon the subject of our weekend away. Please ensure that you use the devotionals to catch up or review our teaching on worship from our time away.
Worship is a vital subject that is often misunderstood. We could define worship in many ways and here are a few 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).
Worship is everything that we do and it also acts of worship of various kinds.
Please read John 4:21-24
True worship is in spirit. This is about worship being from our inner person rather than as a show. What does the previous chapter in John, teach us about how to get the right heart/spirit to worship?
True worship is in truth. How does or can one use the Bible to worship?
We are told that God is seeking worshippers. How do you think that God is wanting to develop your worship?
Please read Proverbs 4:23 (Let’s endeavour to memorise this text.)
SIV - What does this text teach about worship and its effects in regard to mission?
SIV - How can we pray for you regarding your Serving, Investing and Inviting this week (SIV)?