Tag Archives: Chew the Word

Worship Matters Part Four: True Worship Is Jesus-Driven

Our last post we left our not-so-plucky hero trembling in fear before the weighty and tangible majestic glory of God’s holiness. And just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse, one of those dreadful seraphs starts flying his way! When he awoke from this vision, he probably had to change his PJ’s and his bed sheets! He knew for sure that there was no hope for him, only the wrath of God for this poor wretch. Until…

Then one of the seraphim flew to me,
having in his hand a burning coal
that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips,
your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
Isaiah 6:6-7

This amazing worship experience teaches us another profound truth: True worship is a response to God’s glorious work of redemption Tweet this!.

Notice in the text that God is the one who takes the initiative. Isaiah simply stood there in utter fear because of his sin. This is the way redemption always works: “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19). If you’re redeemed, you owe everything to God for your redemption. He is the one who drew you (John 6:44). And he didn’t draw you because you were oh-so-pretty or oh-so-smart. How chiseled your jaw is makes no difference. His redeeming love is what transforms.

The most significant word in this entire passage is the word “altar.” This little word teaches us a profound truth: Redemption is not free. One of my favorite new hymns, “How Rich a Treasure We Possess,” by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa, contains this glorious line:

How free and costly was the love
displayed upon the cross.
While we were dead in untold sin,
the Sov’reign purchased us Tweet this!
.

So for us, redemption is free. Yet redemption is the most costly purchase ever made. It was bought with the priceless and precious blood of the Son of God Tweet this! . Thank God that he is the one who purchased our atonement, initiates our salvation, and seals us until the day of redemption! Thank God that salvation is free! This is why later Isaiah preached,

Come, everyone who thirsts
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy, and eat!
Isaiah 55:1

The coal that touched Isaiah’s lips was taken from an altar. An altar is a place of sacrifice. And this was not any altar. The temple where Isaiah’s redemption was purchased and this vision took place was not any old temple, or even the temple in Jerusalem. This was the heavenly temple of which the temple in Jerusalem was just a shadow and copy. This temple was the temple where our Great High Priest, Jesus, appeared before the throne of God to purchase our redemption. This altar was the altar where Jesus offered up the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice of himself, the spotless Lamb of God (Hebrews 9:11-14, 23-28). This vision is our pulling the curtain back and seeing a glimpse of what was going on in the heavenly temple when Christ was on the cross.

True worship is our appropriate response to Christ’s work on the cross to purchase our redemption Tweet this! . True worship is our adoration, thanksgiving, gratefulness, confession, love, praise, and blessing poured out to a God who lavished his grace, mercy, love, and peace upon us through sending his Son to purchase our salvation through the cross.  True worship is Jesus-driven.

My plea to you is three-fold:

True corporate worship: Corporate worship must be Jesus-driven.

When you gather together with the people of God, if Christ is not preached and the gospel is not proclaimed, you are not worshiping the true and living God. Join and worship with a church that is gospel-centered and Christ-exalting.

True individual worship: Individual worship must be Jesus-driven.

You need the gospel. The gospel is not magical prayer that saves someone and they never need it again. The gospel is the power of God for those who are being saved (I Corinthians 1:18). You need the gospel every day. Preach the gospel to yourself daily. Chew on the truth that Christ died for you on the cross and has redeemed you for his glory Tweet this!! Make you private devotions gospel-centered and Christ-exalting.

True family worshipFamily worship much be Jesus-driven.

Leading your family well in family worship involves three things: reading Scripture together, praying together, and singing a song in worship together. The most important element is Scripture, and a helpful tip when leading a discussion about any text of Scripture is to do what C.H. Spurgeon did in his preaching. He said, “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.” Make your family worship gospel-centered and Christ-exalting.

Go to:  “Worship Matters Part Three:  True Worship Requires Repentance

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Collaborative Rumination: The Benefits of Breaking Bread with Brothers

What did Jesus’ bro-night look like Tweet this!?  While he often slipped off to be alone with his Father, Jesus also made sure to spend quality time with his disciples.  He often would take them aside to expound on the things he had taught to the masses.  In one memorable scene, Jesus was praying with his disciples and one of them asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1-4).  He took the opportunity to teach them the Lord’s Prayer.  This prayer has been the template that generations of Christians have used to approach God in prayer both individually and corporately.

Jesus made sure that he and his disciples were meditating on Scripture…together!  Their conversations did not just consist of the top plays from the Gallilee Giants vs. the Jerusalem Juggernauts game or Martha’s most recent roasted fish recipe.  Jesus was always about the Father’s business (Luke 2:49), and this meant consistently directing the conversation toward the deeper things of God.

What do you chew on during bro-night or girl’s night out?  I hope it’s not just chips and crack dip.  Be intentional about chewing on the Word – together!

 Often in our Christian circles, we associate fellowship with food and fun.  In fact, the thought of having a time of fellowship with no casserole present is tantamount to blasphemy.  While there is a precedent for fellowshipping over food (and wine for that matter) in Scripture, The necessary ingredients for biblical fellowship are neither food nor fun, casserole nor sports-talk Tweet this!.  There are two necessary elements to enjoy godly, biblical fellowship:  believers and the Word of God.  Biblical fellowship is chewing the Word together!

Necessary Element for Biblical Fellowship # 1:  The Bread of the Word

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
– Matthew 4:4

The most glaringly obvious omission in most churches’ fellowship gatherings is the Bread of the Word.  There’s usually plenty of bread, but very little if any of the Bread of God.  I am not suggesting a sermon or even a teaching time during your pot-luck.  I am simply arguing that perhaps your pot-luck “fellowship” is not biblical fellowship at all.

True, biblical fellowship is the people of God talking about the things of God Tweet this!.

If there is no discussion of the things of God, you are not fellowshipping, you are socializing.  As Christians, we need both.  This is why socializing often takes up so much of your time before (and sometimes during) Sunday school or small group.  We need to socialize, but we must press on to deeper subjects.  Socializing is just the appetizer before the meal, the chips and salsa before the whole enchilada Tweet this!!

How can we be more intentional about generating true godly fellowship in our Christiancircles?  It will take intentionality and maturity.  The best way to cultivate biblical fellowship is to ask good questions.  Asking the right questions steers the conversation toward deeper, godly topics.  Here are a few questions one of my mentors developed that you can use to organically generate biblical fellowship during your next bro-night:

  • How is your [teaching, hospitality, deacon, etc…] ministry going?
  • What do you enjoy most about it?
  • What has the Lord been teaching you lately?
  • Have you had any opportunities to share the gospel recently?
  • Where in the Bible have you been reading lately?
  • What impact has it had on you?
  • How can I pray for you? –  find the full article here
Necessary Element for Biblical Fellowship # 2:  Brothers

The other crucial element for godly fellowship is one or more brothers in Christ.  This should be obvious, but for many Christians, they spend way too much time in and of the world and little to no time fellowshipping with their church family and fellow believers.

“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
I John 1:3

Our fellowship with fellow believers is directly tied to our fellowship with God.  When I first began growing in my relationship with God, it all started with a deep study of the Word of God.  My communion with God was fantastic.  The intimacy I felt there cannot be matched by any worldly relationship.  However, it wasn’t long before I discovered that as a Christian, I desperately need other Christians to encourage, uplift, and exhort, and even challenge, correct, and rebuke me Tweet this!!

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Hebrews 3:12-13

This text challenges us with this profound truth:  we need each other! So where to start?  Again, what we will need is intentionality and maturity.  Here are some questions to chew on:

  • How can you be more intentional this week to meet with a brother or sister in Christ?
  • Who could you get together with bi-weekly or monthly to read and discuss Scripture together?
  • Who do you surround yourself with to hold you accountable to grow in your relationship with God?
  • Who do you trust with the deep things in your heart?
  • To whom do you confess sin so they can pray for you that you may be healed (James 5:16)?
  • What Christian brothers or sisters would be willing to meet you for a prayer breakfast where you can discuss how God is working in your life?

Go chew the Word!  Together!