I visited a lovely family last night and amongst the many things we chatted about was the transparency or the lack there of in a Church. The question that was raised, and is so often raised these days is something like this … “Why does the church, pastor or leaders not tell the congregation what they believe as a church?”
The question is not whether the constitution or the statement of faith is Biblical but what is the out working thereof as to the leadership of the Church. Let’s raise a hairy issue in the Twentieth Century Christian Church … “Are homosexuals permitted to be church members and church officers whilst practicing homosexuality?” Many Church Constitutions declare faith in an inerrant, inspired and authoritative Bible … yet they will permit people practicing homosexuality into leadership positions. What does the Bible say?
1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Although this is not an exhaustive list of sins, one quickly sees that sexually immoral people will not inherit the Kingdom of God … therefore, how can they be church members and church officers if they practice what God says will land a person in hell? I use this as an illustration to show that far too often the Church is not being taught key doctrines … and one of these is “worship”.
In looking at the Doctrine of Worship we have considered the qualifications for worship. To worship God you need to be Born Again which in turn translates into worship as a lifestyle. Then we considered the Object of Worship … which is none other than God in His Trinitarian revelation of Himself. Today we need to consider (3) the Power for Worship.
Today was garden day. I mowed the lawns. One may push the lawnmower all over the lawn without anything happening. Although this sounds silly, you need to plug the electrical cable into the wall socket and switch it on to get the mower to operate … then pushing it all over the lawn yields a result … cut grass. To worship God you need to be plugged into the spiritual power source to be able to exercise worship that is true, spiritual engagement with Almighty God! As strange as it might sound, the Early Church was seriously affected by false teachers seeking to push a Gospel that was no Gospel at all. Read:
Phil 3:2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh …
Paul was speaking against those of “the Judaizes Sect” who taught that to be saved you needed to uphold the Law and Believe in Jesus. This was a works orientated Gospel. Paul not only calls them “dogs” and “those who do evil” … he says they are flesh “mutilators”. Where circumcision is being addressed, we can add any one seeking to present a works / faith Gospel for salvation. True believers are those who have been circumcised spiritually by the Spirit and are now able to worship by the Spirit bringing glory to Jesus alone and not putting any trust or confidence in the flesh (works). So here is the issue … “we who worship by the Spirit of God”. You cannot worship God without being Born Again with the intent of directing worship to the Triune God … in the power of the Holy Spirit. Only truly Born Again people have access to this power … for the Spirit resides within. This means you have direct access!
2 Cor 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
This is glorious … because the Spirit lives within you who are Born Again, He is right there with you to enable you to “worship by the Spirit of God”. Now remember that worship is not only a Church service … it is a Daily Lifestyle. Whatever I do throughout the 24 hours of every day needs to be worship … even sleeping because sleeping restores the body and mind to function properly during the awake hours. A few key principles often overlooked are …
1) Living by the Spirit.
Gal 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Daily living by the Spirit is the antidote to avoiding the sinful nature having master over you. When you don’t live by the Spirit you return to the “acts of the sinful nature” (Gal 5:19-21).
2) Keeping in step with the Spirit. One of the most beautiful sights to see is a well-trained regiment of soldiers being drilled. Every step is in unison … perfectly timed as they listen to the voice of their drill sergeant. That is the picture of keeping in step with the Spirit. He is the drill sergeant and His voice (the Bible) needs to be listened too and then the Church marches forth as a well-trained spiritual regiment of the Lord Jesus. Listen to His voice:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Look at verse 25 … living by the Spirit enables keeping in step with the Spirit. Beloved … He alone is the power that enables effective, acceptable, God honouring worship. He is the Enabler! So here is the thing … there is simply no way any real Christian can say they cannot live a life of worship! The Spirit lives within enabling worship as a lifestyle. If it is not, there can be only two areas to examine. 1) You are not Christian … and … 2) You are seriously backslidden. The requirement for both is the same … confession of sin, repentance and a commitment to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ!
O Divine Spirit of the Eternal God, search my soul and examine my motives to see whether You do reside within me and whether I am submissive to Your prompting. If not, arrest my soul and cause me to surrender to Your Lordship with immediate effect for I do want to pleasure You with a lifestyle of worshipping My Lord and King, Jesus Christ. Amen.