A CLOSER LOOK AT WORSHIP…

ROMANS 3:30-31: “There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill”. NLT
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OBSERVATION: What do you think of when you hear the word worship? The first thing that comes into my mind is a church service. Worship has become an event rather than a definition of our lives. What we do on a Sunday morning has become the limiting definition of our worship.

God’s people have always missed the true meaning of worship. In fact, Paul’s letter to the Romans is not simply a theological statement of faith. It is a definition of true worship. The Gentiles misplaced worship with pagan rituals revolving around idols. The Jews misplaced worship in outward acts of expression and an attempt to be accepted by God by their adherence to the Law. In reality, both Jew and Gentile missed the mark!

  • “Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” Romans‬ ‭3:9-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Gentiles were declared sinners because they openly lived in rebellion against God’s Law. Jews were declared sinners because they outwardly feigned adherence to God’s Law but inwardly they harbored sin and were found as guilty as the Gentiles. Jesus spoke these words concerning the religious Jews of His day.

  • “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’” Matthew‬ ‭15:7-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So what is worship? The Gentiles missed it because of their overt sin and idolatry. The Jews missed it because of their misplaced hearts. Both have a semblance of worship and both missed the mark. What is worship?

While worship involves action, it is not defined by action. One can sing praises with hands lifted toward the sky and still miss the mark concerning worship. It is easy to sing a song. To truly worship the Lord is another matter altogether. True worship has to do with our hearts and it is not limited to an event.

True worship is the complete expression of our life toward God!

The only way one can truly worship the Lord is to place their faith in Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sin. He was crucified for our sins. He bore upon Himself God’s anger and judgment for our sins. He suffered and died offering the perfect sacrifice for our sins. And, He rose again victorious over the power of sin and the grave! It is only by faith that we enter into true worship!

  • “There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.” (Romans 3:30)

If true worship is by faith alone, does this mean that there is no true expression of worship? One could begin to conclude that worship has no outward components to it. Some even suggest that faith does not even demand an expression. Paul anticipates this line of thought and replies,

  • “Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill”. (Romans 3:31)

God has always called His people to an outward expression of worship. The problem is that man has always drifted toward the outward expression and neglected the heart. God is always interested in our hearts. If our hearts are in rebellion there is no act of worship that is acceptable to God. The Jews believed that they were safe simply because the Temple stood in Jerusalem. Yet, even the Temple was not acceptable to God when the heart of His people drifted away.

Paul later defines true worship to the believers in Rome. He writes later in this epistle,

  • “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

To Paul, it was not a debate between the law and faith. It was a matter of priorities. The only way we can come to God is by faith in Jesus Christ. It is through faith that we are restored into a right relationship with the Father. Our expression of this new relationship is absolute surrender. We are called to worship God in all that we are and in everything that we do. Worship is no longer a compartmentalized activity. Worship is the full expression of our entire life living out the gift of faith in obedience flowing out of sincere love and devotion to God.

Obedience is the sacrifice of true worship!

  • “…but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
  • “Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill”. (Romans 3:31)

Lord, as I come to another Sunday morning, as my heart is prepared to gather together with fellow believers and offer the sacrifice of praise, let me remember that my surrender, my obedience, is the true expression of worship that You desire. Grant me the grace to present my entire life, body, soul, and spirit, as a living sacrifice of obedience to You in sincere worship.

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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