Romans 12:1 ESV
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
“Worship” is a word that is loosely used within most gatherings of what is called “church.” At least here in America, it is. For, it has been reduced to a song service once a week, at which time “worship songs” are played and sung by people who play instruments, and by people who sing, and by the congregation, regardless of their walks of faith, or even if they are in the true faith. And then they call that worship of God.
The word translated here as “worship” literally means “sacred service,” which is service rendered to God. For the Christian, it means a life devoted to God, to doing his will, and to walking in obedience to his commands. It means a life of holiness and of righteous living, done in the power of God. And it involves moral purity, honesty, faithfulness, steadfastness in faith, and leaving one’s sins behind to follow Jesus wherever he leads us.
So, if a “worship leader” in a church service is to lead the people in worship of God, then it needs to be true biblical worship, not just leading them in singing “praise and worship songs.” So, let’s look at a couple of Scriptures that talk about what this singing should look like when we gather together as the body of Christ for mutual encouragement in the faith.
“..but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart..” (Eph 5:18-19) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16).
So, what is the purpose of the singing? Well, let’s back up, what is to precede the singing? We are to be filled with the Spirit of God. And this is not something emotional or where people do weird and crazy stuff. This is talking about lives committed to the Lord, who are living holy and pure lives to the glory of God, who have forsaken their sinful practices to follow the Lord in his ways and in his truth, in the power of God’s Spirit.
And then who are we to address with these songs? One another! And what is the function or the purpose of these songs? It is for the purpose of teaching and admonishing one another with the word of God, which is dwelling within us richly, meaning that we are those who are doing what it says as a matter of our daily walks of faith in Jesus Christ. We are walking the walk and not just talking it, and then from our walks of faith we are encouraging others.
And one of the ways in which we encourage (exhort, urge) and strengthen one another in our walks of faith is through biblically based songs which teach godly and holy living, like most of the old hymns do. And we sing them to one another to encourage each other to forsake sin and to live holy lives, pleasing to God. And this is for the mutual spiritual growth of the body of Christ to maturity in Christ, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4).
And this brings glory to God. So, even though we are singing to one another, we are singing to the Lord. But it is not true worship of God if our lives are not first and foremost given over to the Lord as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is our acceptable worship of God. Singing worship songs doesn’t equate true worship of God. True worship of God has to be in place first before our singing is to the glory and praise of God.
So, if you are living in habitual sin, deliberately and habitually doing what you know is wrong, in direct defiance of God and of his commands, and without conscience with regard to who you are hurting in the process, then don’t call it worship of God when you sing songs in “church.” You are not worshiping God because your life is not given over to God as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him, because you are still pleasing self.
Romans 12:2 ESV
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The second half of this is that we are not to be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. And sadly enough, most of what is called “church” in America today is conformed to the ways of this sinful world. For they have largely turned the gatherings of the church into a marketplace where they are marketing “the church” as a product to sell to the world. And that is because their ”churches” are now businesses incorporated under “the state.”
And so the gatherings of what is called “church” are largely these businesses which are being conducted like worldly businesses trying to sell their product to the people of the world via worldly means and methods which will attract the world to their businesses, i.e. to their “churches.” So, in order to “draw in large crowds of people from the world” they have altered the gatherings of the church to make them appealing and acceptable to the world.
And now these gatherings are filled with the ungodly, many of whom make loose professions of faith in Jesus Christ based on the lies of a false half-truth gospel, which is a creation of men in their deceitful scheming. And so these gatherings are also filled with people, including many pastors, who are “struggling” (regularly giving in to) sexual immorality and all kinds of other sins which they have been convinced no longer matter to God.
And rather than teaching the people to present their bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, and to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, they are making excuses for them to continue in their sin, and they are teaching them that a mere profession of faith in Jesus secures heaven for them regardless of how they live their lives. And so they are giving them carte blanche to continue in deliberate and habitual sin.
And so now we have “church gatherings” filled with the ungodly and filled with people making false professions of faith in Jesus Christ who are still living in habitual and deliberate sin and who are being convinced that they do not have to repent of their sins or obey the Lord or submit to him as Lord. And we have a large number of pastors who are living in sin, who are teaching false gospels to the people, and who are leading many astray.
And this is largely the condition of the majority of what is called “church” here in America. And so their “worship” of God is a farce! For it has nothing at all to do with true worship, but it is all about entertaining and attracting the people of the world to their gatherings. It is all about denying Jesus as Lord and making allowances for sin and glorifying the flesh, and then attacking those of us who are still holding to the truth of the gospel.
Now, this does not describe every gathering of the church here in America. I want to make that clear. There are still going on gatherings of Christians who are still following the teachings of the Scriptures and who are still dedicated to holy and godly living and to getting the true message of the gospel out to the people of this world. But we seem to be in the minority these days, and such gatherings are very hard to find.
So, we need Jesus desperately in our “churches” here in America. We need revival of God’s church and a massive turning back to God as our only Lord, and we need to operate together as our Lord designed for his church to operate, not as the world now dictates. And we need to encourage (urge, exhort) one another in our walks of faith in holy and godly living, and in the forsaking of our sins, and in us living as though we are no longer attached to this sinful world. And God will then be worshiped in truth.
Give Me Jesus
Oh, What Gladness!
An Original Work / December 2, 2013
Give me Jesus. He’s my Savior.
I’ll walk with Him in His favor.
I’ll abide in His love always;
Follow His ways to the end.
Jesus is the Son of God.
He died upon a cruel cross.
He’s forgiven all my failures
By His mercy and His love.
Give me Jesus – His compassion,
And His mercy; loving kindness.
Let Him teach me how to love Him,
And to please Him. He’s my friend.
Jesus died for all our sin
So we could have eternal life.
He will free you from your bondage
If you trust Him with your life.
Give me Jesus. Let me trust Him.
May I listen to His teachings.
May I follow where He leads me
In His service. He’s my Lord.
Jesus Christ will come again
To take His bride to be with Him.
Oh, what gladness; free from sadness
When I meet Him in the air.