- December 20, 2005
- By John Rutledge
Explore the Bible Series for Jan. 1
Christians are to lead lives of worship
• Romans 12:1-8
By Trey Turner
Canyon Creek Baptist Church, Temple
I am afraid worship is ‘dumbed-down’ more than we realize because of the consumer culture around us. Worship is limited to that which wells up in us because something profoundly affects our emotions and engages our feelings. For that matter, good movies have the ability (and budgets) to do that more than most worship services. If we are limited to worshipping only when feeling grips us, we may be weaker spiritually than we need to be. Do we think worship can happen by an act of the will, but not before the emotions?
As you read Romans 12:1-8, you will see that Paul is working from a definition of worship which acts primarily out of the will. If Christians understand Paul, their worship will come because of the reality of God’s redemption, not simply emotion. Then their service will come out of their worship.
The previous 11 chapters have been carefully presented to show how God plays no favorites but extends eternal hope in Jesus Christ to all who will believe. Because of God’s mercy, which is our salvation, the believer worships. Worship is the activity of the transformed believer. Worship, as an experience, does not happen to people, but begins with the believer’s disciplined action.
Worship: Present yourself (Romans 12:1)
God was the initiator by showing his desire for a relationship with people. He then made a way for that relationship to be restored after humanity’s fall. Because of God’s redemptive work, the believer is to worship him based on his or her salvationwhich is experienced through the mercy of God. Simply put, the body that God redeemed, use for good.
Verse 1 is the action done by a priest set apart. Offer that body as a sacrifice as though by a devoted priest. The priest reasonably serves God by giving himself wholly and holy to God. Similarly, present yourself to God’s service since he has redeemed you. Doing so is “reasonable service.”
Worship: Renew your mind (Romans 12:2-3)
It could go without saying that Satan has great influence on this world. We can see his fingerprints on a materialistic, addicted, self-centered culture. Paul tells Christians they do not have to follow these patterns of slavery. Instead, Christians are to renew their minds, producing new patterns.
The transformation of behavior is a result of denying natural and sinful patterns, reaching instead for values God approves and habits the Spirit of God helps to develop. As God makes the believer new, his will is uncovered. God’s will is not a secret to be kept or hidden. It is walking in fellowship with Godenjoying the Spirit’s leading by faith.
People will test what others may say about God by walking in a disciplined way, in fellowship. These Christians will begin to learn the pattern of what God says, comparing what is confirmed with that which is counterfeit. Testing what other people say about God is done with humility before God. Paul recognizes we are not to think too highly of ourselves.
Worship: Use your gifts (Romans 12:4-8)
Notice all the discussion about worship to this point is emotionally neutral. Worship happens out of the human will by deliberate choice. I give my life to God, I give the patterns of my life to God. As a third part, I give my service to God.
I also make my gifts available to the church. Our gifts belong to one another. Out of worship, I give myself voluntarily to my brothers’ and sisters’ edification. Again, this is part of one’s deliberate act of worship. I present myself in actuality to the Lord, not merely in wordit is my worship. I present myself to God through my life and thought orientationit is my worship. I present myself to God and to the building up of the churchthis, too, is my worship. All of these are done with a spirit of humble service and joy.
By Paul’s underlying definition, worship is a diligent work. It will not take place exclusively on Sunday morning or Saturday night. Worship can take place in the absence of emotions, but will only take place when one acts, “in view of God’s mercy … .”
Lord, let us live in worship … “in view of God’s mercy.”
• Describe what happens when someone worships. When was the last time you worshipped? Why did you worship? Did someone prompt you to act in view of God’s mercy or did you see his mercy yourself?
• What are patterns the world operates out of? How do you put away these worldly patterns and live with different values?
• What are your spiritual gifts and how do you use them to worship the Lord in service?
Maximum length for publication is 250 words.