Aug 05, 2016 Words of Grace – True Worshipers
Worship is the expression of the relationship of grace and faith that we have with God. This relationship (called a covenant in the Bible) is foundational. God calls, saves, keeps, and leads us by grace. We respond to him in faith. Faith is trust, love, and obedience. Grace and faith are at the heart of the relationship between God and his people. Worship expresses the various aspects of this relationship.
When the relationship breaks down, so does the worship. We see this clearly in Judges 17. The nation of Israel had forgotten the grace of God, grown cold in love for him, abandoned his commands, and taken on the ways of the surrounding Canaanite culture. The next thing we see is the practice of worship so corrupted with paganism that it could no longer be called worship at all. The evil practices of using idols, setting up private places of worship, and employing clergy who give worshipers what they want in exchange for money is evidence of covenant unfaithfulness.
Judges 17 is a warning. The warning is about our hearts in worship and how we worship. But it is Jesus, not Judges, who gives us the corrective. Jesus said in John 4 that God is seeking worshipers who worship him in spirit and truth. These worshipers have drunk deeply from the grace of God and have in them the life-giving Spirit. They have come to the Truth, who is Jesus Christ. The true worshipers of God have hearts made clean and new and worship the Father, in the Spirit, through the Son.
With clean and new hearts, true worshipers come to God the way he instructs. They come with humility, gratitude, adoration and devotion. True worshipers listen to God with a readiness to obey. They worship God in his way, revealed by his word.
One troubling temptation I’ve noticed over the years is to approach the Sunday gathering for worship as an event to attend rather than an expression of a relationship. Let’s heed the warning of Judges. Let’s hear the call of Jesus to come to the Father who has called us by grace. Let our worship be the obedience of faith that will keep the worship event unmixed with the idols of a selfish heart. Let us guard our hearts so our worship will be pure.
Pray with me for the power of the Spirit and the Word to hold sway over our hearts as we worship at Grace this Sunday.