Thursday, February 23, 2006

Living Sacrifice, Lives of Worship

Last night was our midweek service. Our youth pastor was out of town, and his mother, our pastor’s wife, preached the youth service. She spoke on praise and worship, and what the difference really is between them. What followed was a powerful time of worship for the teens, and us adults, that were there. But now, I’ve been thinking about worship this morning.

What do we often think of when we think of worship? I don’t think I’m too far off when I say the majority of people tend to think of worship in terms of the church service. They think of the fast praise songs that get people moving, and the slower, more worshipful songs that follow. Maybe they think of worship as the time spent around the altar after the pastor preaches his sermon. A lot of people really tend to think in this way when it comes to worship.

I’d like to help change our thinking. You see, worship isn’t just what we do on Sunday and Wednesday. Worship isn’t simply an act. It’s a way of life. Our English word “worship”, comes from an old English word, “worth-ship”. It means to express to God how valuable he is to us, how much he means to us. Simply stated, to worship God is to express to him his worth in our life. I don’t know about you, but a song and an upraised hand can’t touch how much the Lord means to me. I use that time to express my love to him, and honor him, but worship goes far beyond music and physical gestures.

One of the great scriptures in the Bible about worship, in my opinion, is Romans 12:1.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship.”

This tells us that worship isn’t something we just come together and do; it’s a choice we make, really, on a daily basis. We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to the Lord. That is, we must first of all realize that we are not our own. The Bible says that we were bought with a price, the blood of the Lord Jesus. We are his. Therefore, if we belong to him, then he has us everyday, not just for Sunday visits. We need to worship the Lord in our actions and our attitudes.

Yesterday, I spoke of Abraham’s offering of his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah. We always look at the story as one of Abraham’s faith, and it is. But let’s consider Isaac. While the Bible calls him a “lad”, a more proper translation is “young man”. Some scholars think Isaac was as old as 30! In any view, he was certainly strong and quick enough to wrestle away from his elderly dad. Yet, we don’t see Isaac running once it becomes apparent to him that he was the sacrifice. We see a picture of a young man who knew that this was God’s will, and he laid his life down voluntarily. Really, it’s a beautiful typology of the Lord Jesus, how he laid his own life down for us. In fact, history says that the hilltop Abraham and Isaac were on is in fact the very hill that Christ was crucified upon!

The point in my telling this story is that Isaac willingly laid his life down as the sacrifice that day. Friends, we are called to be a sacrifice too. We belong to Christ. Knowing this, worship takes on a whole new meaning. It becomes less about a church service, and more about honoring and expressing our love to God, and declaring his value to us. That’s why it’s so important to live lives of integrity and honesty. That’s why it’s important to do what’s right. That’s why we must truly love and honor those around us, because as we do, we are truly worshipping God. In fact, the Bible goes so far as to say that if we don’t love those people around us, we don’t truly love God! “How can you love God, who you can’t see, when you can’t love you brother, who you can see?” (1 John 4:20) When we prayerfully read our Bibles, seeking to know God more intimately, we are worshipping. When we stay in an attitude of prayer in our hearts, we are worshipping. Let us worship him with our very existence!

Friends, I pray that you are encouraged and prodded to live lives of worship. Let everything you do be an expression of your love of God, and of his worth to you. May God bless, my friends!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post!!!!!