As Christians, we love to sing the praises of our God. Often times, “style of worship” is what defines us, as to what type of Christian we are. Yet, worship is so much more than the songs that we sing in a church service! As I shared with the students of the Northern Christian Fellowship in their evening service last Sunday, we took a look at the reaction of the Apostle Paul as he described, with some detail, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these Believers. You can hear that message by clicking on the link below.
What is Worship? – AUDIO
As I read the first three chapters of the letter to the Ephesians, I can almost hear the excitement in the Apostle’s voice. He is excited about what the Lord has done. From eternity past as He laid the plan and set things in place;
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
He goes on to talk about how the knowledge of this was brought to men and then he prays for these Believers, giving thanks for them and praying that they would truly “get it!”
Ephesians 1:15-19 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
Then, just to make sure that they really understand how profound this is, he speaks of what God rescues us from, as he enters into the second chapter. He does this with a scathing demonstration of our sinfulness!
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
As God’s eternal plan, brought about in spite of man’s selfish and sinful rebellion, the Apostle magnifies God amazing grace as he says to them;
Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
He goes on to speak of how, as Gentiles or “Non-Jews,” the whole world was separated from any kind of positive relationship to God and how through the Cross, we have been made members of His very household and been brought into covenant relationship to Him. As Paul enters into the third chapter, he is amazed that God has chosen him to be used as the vehicle to carry this great news to those Gentiles.
As all of this piles up in his mind and on the page as it flows from him by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it moves him into unabashed worship as he writes;
Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height– 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Therefore we see that, to the Apostle, worship was so much more than a song. It is really the attitude and motivation behind that song. This is, as I see it here in the passage, what worship is. “Worship is the response of the redeemed to God; for Who He is, for what He has accomplished, for His mercy, love and faithfulness. It is the expression of our whole person to God in word, deed and attitude (all of life). It is based on what God has revealed about Himself in history and eternity through His Word and as it is demonstrated in our lives.” From this flows the doxology of praise that is a part of that worship, but worship itself is much larger.
It is my prayer that you are encouraged and challenged as you consider this great truth and I hope that you take the time to listen to the message by clicking on the link above.. “to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”