Worship Is Death

Posted on 27. Aug, 2010 by in Worship

This weekend my wife and I are in Wichita, KS, attending a worship conference put on by my dear brother Douglas Weaver.  Tonight we had a good music/worship session, followed by some teaching by a brother named Ian Chellan (I am not sure I spelled his name right).  I thought he made some very good points, and I wanted to share them while they are still fresh in my mind.  (Part 2 on Faith will follow next week)

He talked about Genesis 22, where the word “worship” is used for the first time.

“Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”   Genesis 22:5

Worship here is associated with death.  In this case, Abraham’s act of worship was to obey God and sacrifice his son.  In this situation I see two points, which are really interconnected:

  1. True worship brings about death in us, death to ourselves, death to our flesh.  Like Paul talked about dying daily, true worship is something we live in every day, and is part of our lifestyle.  More on this in a second.
  2. Worship is obedience.  This is connected to #1, because obedience to God results in, or comes from, dying to ourselves.

Ian also stated something like the following (paraphrased by me):  “If singing a song brings you into the presence of the Lord, why are you out of His presence in the first place?”  What I take from this is that our lives are a continual process of worshipping Him.  He is worshipped in how we live, how we treat our families and those around us, and when we make decisions to resist temptation and do His will instead of our own.  Then, after having lived in that attitude and lifestyle of worship all the time, when we come together as a body we are expressing that worship in a unified voice.   So, true worship, in the form we have always seen it (where we sing before the Lord) is really an outflowing of what we are already doing the rest of the week.

Ian pointed out that our purpose as the body is not to bring about manifestations of the Spirit, or to experience being “in the presence of the Lord”.  Our purpose as the body is simple:  to be like Christ.  Multiple scriptures testify to this.  Ephesians 4:11-13, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 2:2, etc.  1 John also talks a lot about the central importance of Christ, and how we are to be like Him (see specifically 1 John 2:6).  The Lord has been stirring this in my heart lately, and Ian’s teaching further expounded and enforced this idea.

Finally, I came to better understand the ultimate purpose of God in the earth:  to bring glory to His name, and to proclaim His greatness to the principalities and powers of the air.

To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,

and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;

so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 3:8-10

So, as I now understand, our purpose on this earth is first to be like Christ.  Then, once like Christ, then what?  We are to live out on the earth the fulness of His victory over the enemy.  We are to carry out, on a spiritual plane, the battle in which the Kingdom of our God will supplant the kingdom of this world (notice that this removes all focus from nationalistic agendas, and only the Kingdom of God remains, as this victory is not being won on a political/natural level).  One other interesting point, along this line, is that our  victory on the spiritual plane may look like defeat in the natural realm.  Like someone so aptly said elsewhere, “we live in an upside down kingdom”.

OK, I lied.  One last thing.  Ian gave his definition of religion as follows (again, paraphrased):  religion is a move of God that has been dragged past its season”

Well, there will be more tomorrow.  I hope these words bless you as much as they blessed me.

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