Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Come Now Is The Time To Worship

I love this song by Brian Doerksen, but I have a concern with how it is often used.

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God

One day ev'ry tongue will confess You are God
One day ev'ry knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose You now

The words of this song are just as true Monday through Friday as they are on Sunday morning. But I suspect this song gets sung most often as people come into their "time of worship" on Sunday mornings.

What is worship?

I'm going with the definition that worship is a feeling or action showing reverence and love.

Rom 12:1 gives a New Testament description of worship:

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."  (NIV)

In the Old Testament we see people offering animals as sacrifices to God as their expression of worship. In the New Testament we see people making a different type of sacrifice. Our lives are to be living sacrifices. In a sense we are called to die to our selfish desires, and live under God's rule instead. We are to live our lives pleasing to God.  This is the type of worship God has always desired.  This type of worship is best lived out in real everyday life.  This type of worship service is when we serve our Lord Monday through Sunday.

Jesus describes this change of worship service in John 4:19-24
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, 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 spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NIV)

Jesus is saying the days when you need to go to a specific location to worship God are over.  He does not want us to go to some mountain top location at certain times to worship Him. He wants us to truly love and respect Him every moment of our lives.

Here are some harsh words from Isaiah that may apply when our worship service is only lip service.

Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)
The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.
Isaiah 1:13 - 17 (NIV)
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
my soul hates.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood;
wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,
learn to do right!
Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 58: 3 - 9 (NIV) speaks about fasting, but I think it would apply to other acts of worship that didn't line up with how we live.

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

So yes, come. Now, everyday, is the time to worship. Now is the time to give your heart and live your lives in a way pleasing to God.  Now, just as you are, God wants to be Lord of your life and guide you to become what He has in mind for you.

Also Hebrews 13:15-16 (NIV)
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
I don't want to limit worship to be an activity I primarily do on Sunday morning.  When it comes to worship, how we live sings louder than words.

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photo credit: dtcchc via photo pin cc


Steve Martin said...

I'm not so sure about "how we live singing louder than words".

I guess I mean that I wouldn't want to be a poster child for anything but the grace and mercy that the Lord Jesus has for real sinners. The kind I know that I am.

Thanks, Jon.

Jonathan said...

Yes, God accepts us as we are, and then He renews us and somehow makes us into the light of the world that brings glory and worship to God.

Jonathan said...

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Frank Prescott said...

This brings to mind what Solomon said:

Eccl. 5:1-2 (HCSB) Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Better to draw near in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do, for they ignorantly do wrong. Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

I'll let God's word speak for itself.

BTW: the verification to prove I am not a robot are very difficult to read and it takes me more than a few times to be able to read the cryptic characters required. I am on my 8th try.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Frank for sharing that passage.

And I removed the word verification thing for now. Thanks for letting me know it was too much of a pain. I do welcome comments. We'll see if the spam increases.