Worship- Full involvement of congregation

Worship in todays Church, has become very noticeable a great deal of emphasis is upon  methods,  worship groups and leaders, rather than upon the full involvement of all the congregation. There are some assemblies where it appears the “worship group or team” have taken the place of pre-eminence, the rest of the congregation becoming virtual spectators rather than participators worshipping the Lord together as one assembly of God’s people. Worship was never intended to become either entertainment or a stage show with the congregation looking on as others perform, it should rather be a collective exercise of all those present.

God is not looking for better methods or entertainment, He is looking for those who will exalt Him, His name and His Word” We are not called to copy the world’s style or methods.

Hebrews.13:15. “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name.”

There are many ways that the Lord can be worshipped, as the Apostle Paul exhorted,  Rom.12:1-2. “To present oneself a living sacrifice”. Confirmed by 1.Peter.2:9-10, where our new position as believers in Christ is referred as being “The All believer Priesthood” this is linked to our personal responsibility to offer Him our praise for the great work of salvation the Lord Jesus has accomplished in our lives.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy”

This is practically a direct quotation from Exodus.19:5-6, when God gave Moses specific instructions to the nation of Israel shortly after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Israel previously slaves, now that the Lord had delivered them from the bondage of Egypt the Lord, He required them to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation separated to Himself. This is also principle applies to every “born again” member of the church. Believers once free from slavery to sin, are to be priests and worshippers of an “ALL BELIEVER PRIESTHOOD” of God through faith in Christ.

The obvious conclusion is that God intended all believers in the O.T or N.T, to be worshipping priests, that is not to be found in methods or style, rather in a spontaneous  release of praise and adoration.

WORSHIP IS AN EXPRESSION OF OUR PERSONAL FAITH.

There are differing methods of worship, two of which are to be seen in the account of the sisters Martha and Mary. They are both mentioned in three scriptures. Luke.10:38-42, John.11:1-41 and John.12:1-3. Two women, two personalities, worshipping the Lord in two totally different ways.

Luke.10:38-42. Bethany was the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

Significantly Jesus was welcomed without immediately into Martha’s house at Bethany, His presence brought blessings to all present. The sisters response is totally different worshipping Him in their own way. Mary immediately to sits at His feet to hear the word. Martha concentrated upon providing hospitality, assuming that Mary would do likewise. She became distracted and annoyed that Mary did not see things as she did. Whereupon she complains to Jesus, “Do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone” Her concentration was upon what she could “DO FOR THE LORD”, rather than the “BEING WITH THE LORD” her choice of worship was to preparing food for the Master, this was her way to honour Him.

Many believers and ministers have and can fall into the subtle trap of Satan lays  replacing worship with activity, such as social concerns and good works, etc. Somehow thinking what we become involved in pleases the Lord, rather than what Isaiah.40:31 encourages believers to do, “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint” By doing what Isaiah encouraged is a form of worship that equips disciples to do those things that are in accordance with the Lord’s will and purpose.

Jesus answer is profound, “MARTHA! MARTHA!, when the Lord says something twice, it means I want you to really listen and learn from what I am about to say to you. “You have become distracted and troubled with many things, you have lost your focus! One thing is needed (telling her get your focus and priorities right) Mary has made the right choice, she has put Me first above all else for she has chosen the good part, and this will never be taken away from her.

This account and the two that follow, reveal that serving is also worship of the Lord. However! like Martha, it is so easy to allow serving to dominate our Christian life, and we may miss out on worship when we need be sitting at His feet to hear the word of God. Mt.4:4. Possibility of also becoming critical of those who do not see things as we do, or worship differently from ourselves.

John.11:1-45 THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS.

The responses of Martha and Mary when they heard Jesus was coming, is quite different, Martha immediately rushes to speak with Him, v.20-21, Mary remains in the house, as their personalities differ so does their response. Can this be attributed to the time Mary had sat at His feet? Or in her spirit she was already convinced that Jesus somehow was about to take control? We do know that when she is called to Jesus near the Tomb, she says the same words Martha also said, verses,21 and 32, “Lord, If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When saying these words, Mary had prostrated herself at His feet in worship. Jesus did not repeat the words of v.25-26 to Mary, why? She may have already been taught and understood this promise when sitting at his feet, Luke.10:39.her faith level was more advanced than that of Martha, who in, verse 39, points out that Lazarus has already been dead four days, Jesus, immediately v.20, says to Martha, “Did I not say, if you would believe you would see the glory of God!

John.11:25-26, Reveals a foundational key to true worship when Jesus answered Martha’s statement of v.21, when she said “Lord if only you had been here my brother would not have died!” v.23-24, referring to Dan.12:2-3, He replies, verses, 25-26.“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never die”. Jesus ignored Martha’s initial words pointing her to the greater truth of the Resurrection.

Resurrection and eternal life in Him is a far greater reason to praise and worship Him than any healing which is temporarily limited to extent of human life upon this earth.

John.12:1-8. JESUS ANOINTED AT BETHANY ON HIS WAY TO THE CROSS.

v.1-2. Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany near Jerusalem. Sharing a meal together with His disciples and Lazarus, with possibly 15-20 disciples also present? Martha is again doing what she does best working and serving Jesus and His disciples, never complaining, she has learnt her lesson well indirectly she is worshipping the Lord at what she does best.

However! Mary, knowing from her previously choice of sitting at His feet listening to His words, senses that Jesus will soon be paying the price through His death, burial and resurrection for the salvation of mankind, takes the opportunity to anoint Him with fragrant Oil of Spikenard. See also Matthew.26:6-13, Mark.14:3-9, a combination of these scriptures presents a fuller picture of what took place as Mary poured out the contents of the fragrant Oil upon Jesus Head and Feet, we understand this was an amazing acts of worship. The whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Yet some of those present criticise Mary for this pure act of worship and preparation saying “why was this Oil wasted” Jesus very quickly answers “Let her alone. Why trouble her? She has done a “GOOD” work for Me”

The highlighted word “GOOD” = Gk kalos = Beautiful, Pleasing and Good, a better definition is:- “That which is well suited and appropriate in the circumstances!”

The next verse Jesus said,“The poor will always be with you, but Me you do not have always” Here He is speaking of His future Ascension to the Heavenly Throne. He goes on to say she, Mary has done this for My burial, this indicates that she already understood, that real true worship is always linked to the sacrificial act of Calvary.

Mary’s act of worship, is unparalleled, totally unselfish, she gave of the very best to her Lord and Master. Those who were critical, are typical of some members of churches who hold back on tithing or full commitment to His Body the Church, such are so often also critical of the Pastor and leaders, who are doing their best to encourage worship of the congregation to the Lord, or of the music, worship group, songs, or even other denominations or the manner in which worship is conducted.

When a congregation responds spontaneously in unity of worship, something wonderful happens and the fragrance of His Awesome Presence fills the whole house, effecting everyone present with the understanding we serve living God and have been spiritually touched or quickened in our souls.

Pastor Terry Brinded

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