EVANGELISM and WORSHIP
WORSHIP is what CHRISTIANITY is ALL ABOUT. Our life of faith, our relationship with God and everything we do as believers and followers of Christ are all summed up in that word - WORSHIP. But what does "worship" mean? Somehow, in our 21st postmodern culture, it can easily be watered down in meaning and purpose. But thank God for the Holy Bible, we still have the purest and truest meaning of worship we can live by and apply in our lives.
The reality is you and I and every human being alive today are CREATED for WORSHIP. It is not a question of "do we worship?" but rather a question of "WHO or WHAT are we worshipping?". In the deepst parts of our being and DNa is a natural inclination to worship, to adore, to exalt, to magnify someone or something. And the call of CHRISTIANITY is to worship the One True God and His name is JESUS! So it begs the question are we really worshippers of JESUS? That's what a Christian is - a worshipper of JESUS - to adore, exalt and magnify Him.
If we look at the etymology of the word worship, it means ‘to express worthiness or the acknowledgement of worth’. We honour worth. What worth is JESUS to us?
In the Bible, the law of the first mention, brings us to the truest essence of the word worship. Found in the story of Abraham offering His son Isaac unto the Lord (Genesisi 22:5); this word was first mentioned and its connotation has always been about OBEDIENCE, OFFERING and SACRIFICE. In fact the whole of the Old Testament narratives shows us that Israel's definition of worship has always been about these. God desires allegiance and obedience and this is demonstrated by the people of God through their offerings in worship. Offerings were mandated because God knew selfishness and idolatry is Israel's cancer that will kill them. Worship is the cure to such deadly sin. The Israelites knew that to worship God is to offer to Him their first and their best; because GOD is WORTH IT ALL!
They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.
- Deuteronomy 16:16
Old Testament stories tells us of the many offerings and sacrifices required by the law given by God to Israel; e.g. burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and trespass offerings. All this provides the background for the New Testament’s frequent description of the death of Christ in sacrificial terms. When Jesus himself and the New Testament writers employ language such as “give my life a ransom,” “my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins,” “reconciled by his blood,” “justified by his blood,” “propitiation by his blood,” “made peace through the blood of his cross,” “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed,” “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” “him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,” “the lamb which takes away sin,” “was made sin for us,” “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having been made a curse for us,” and so on, they direct us to understand our Lord’s death in sacrificial categories. The terminology of propitiation, ransom, redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation, all find their meaning against the backdrop of Old Testament sacrifices. All this teaches us just how it is that Jesus’ death effected our salvation. GOD DID WHAT HE STOPPED ABRAHAM TO DO. OFFERED HIS ONLY SON AS A SACRIFICE FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD.
But this doesn't mean that we as New Covenant believers should seize to worship and obey of offer sacrifices unto the Lord. Our form of worship has changed from the Old Testament, but the essence of worship still remains; and in fact we have a greater reason to do it. The salvation (Christ's sacrifice) was not the end goal. It was a means to restore WORSHIP.
“Redemption is the means; worship is the goal. In one sense, worship is the whole point of everything. It is the purpose of history, the goal of the whole Christian story. Worship is not one segment of the Christian life among others. Worship is the entire Christian life, seen as a priestly offering to God. And when we meet together as a church, our time of worship is not merely a preliminary to something else; rather, it is the whole point of our existence as the body of Christ.” - John Frame
New Testament apostles and Jesus Himself models such a life of WORSHIP and encourages us to continue on in offering Him a new form of sacrifice unto the Lord. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. - Hebrews 13:15
Not just the fruit of our lips but our very lives to be lived for the glory of God.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31
We are called to be "living sacrifices" - that our bodies - our lives be offered up as a response to who God is and out of the revelation of His sovereign plan and His endless love so that others would know Him as well. Our WORSHIP becoming our WITNESS to tell the world of His Salvation.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:1-2
William Temple says it best:
“WORSHIP is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”
Stories in our New Testament Bibles tells us that WORSHIP really now is a RESPONSE to the ONE who is WORTHY OF IT ALL. We see the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), the woman with the issue of bleeding, Zacchaeus transformation with Jesus, and many others whose encounter with God has resulted to WORSHIP and EVANGELISM - a natural result of proclaiming, adoring, exalting and magnifying the One who saved us and the ONE TRUE GOD who is now our very life.
“WORSHIP is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.”
- Louie Giglio
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION: 1. How do you define worship? 2. How is Abraham's story a cornerstone example of what worship is?
3. How is worship different in the Old Testament and the New Testament? How is it the same?
4. Discuss the meaning of Romans 12:1-2 (Have a look at the entire chapter if time permits)
5. What makes Evangelism a form of worship?
6. What is your favourite Gospel story of Jesus encounter with the sinners?
7. What is the motivation for Evangelism? Why is it a core purpose of God in our lives?
8. How would you share your life testimony to others?