Tag Archives: Family Worship

Worship Matters Part Five: True Worship Motivates Mission

God has never redeemed anyone to complacency Tweet this!!

If the only purpose of your salvation was to get you to heaven, God would have raptured you up to heaven the moment he made you alive in him. Instead, He has saved you to a purpose! Maybe you don’t know what this purpose is? Well, news flash: if you’re a Christian, you’re sent…if you’re a Christian, you’re to be on mission!

This passage in Isaiah is a great picture of this sending. Isaiah’s sins are atoned for and immediately he is sent. And he is a willing volunteer! When we encounter God in true worship, we will be motivated to heartfelt service. Our aim is to please the One who enlisted us (II Tim. 2:4)!

True worship always motivates mission. Any time you catch a glimpse of the glorious holiness of the Savior, it is a natural response for you to desire to long for others to experience him as well. God is worthy of your worship; He is worthy of your church’s worship; He is worthy of your friends/family/coworkers’ worship; He is worthy of the worship of the nations! Your desire should be to see them worshiping the same Savior!

Isaiah was good about not forgetting his fellow Israelites. He included them is his confession of sin (“I dwell among a people of unclean lips”) and he included them in his missions efforts (“Send me!”). He wanted his fellow Israelites to encounter this amazing God the same way he had. Unfortunately, the message he was tasked with preaching to them was less than encouraging (see 6:9-13).

John Piper has a great explanation of the motivation for missions. His says in his book Let the Nations Be Glad, “Missions exists because worship does not Tweet this!.” This is a great understanding and explanation of why we do missions. We don’t do missions because missions is our main purpose. We do missions because worship is the main purpose of humanity and not everyone is worshiping yet!

There is a beautiful cycle that God has established in moving his disobedient people toward being true worshipers. It begins with a revelation of God (“I saw the LORD”). The revelation of God’s holiness leads to repentance (“Woe is me!”). Repentance leads to worship (“Here am I!”). And worship leads to mission (“Send me!”). The cycle repeats because missions is the propagation of the revelation of God!

REVELATION –> REPENTANCE –> WORSHIP –> MISSION

One day, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” On that day, “every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Until the glory of the LORD fills the earth as the waters cover the sea, our response is “Here am I! Send me!”Tweet this!

How do we do this? Here are three levels of application:

True Corporate Worship: The Church that Worships Together, Witnesses Together

In your church services, may your worship be in Spirit and truth, and may that in turn motivate you to do missions together until the earth is covered in worshipers!

True Individual WorshipPrivate Worship Motivates Personal Evangelism

May your private devotional life be so passionate that it ignites a fire in your bones that cannot be quenched until the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD!

True Family WorshipFamily Worship Produces a Picture of the Gospel for the World to See

Did you know that marriage was created as an image of what God’s relationship with the Church is supposed to be? If marriage is the shadow, Christ and the Church is the vignette. Your marriage and your family are to mirror the gospel to all those around you. When they see your unconditional love for your wife, husband, they see Christ’s unfailing love for his unfaithful Bride. When they see your willing submission to your husband, wife, they see the Church’s willing obedience to her Head, Jesus Christ. When the world sees your nurturing love and discipline of your children, they see God’s love for His people, for God disciplines the ones he loves.

Go to “Worship Matters Part One:  Seeking True Worshipers

Go to “Worship Matters Part Four:  True Worship Is Jesus-Driven

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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

Worship Matters Part Three: True Worship Requires Repentance

In Isaiah’s vision in chapter six, the heavenly temple is quite literally bursting with the glory of God. The train of God’s robe was already filling the temple, indicating God’s majestic glory. And if that was n’t indication enough, as soon as the seraphim begin to shout God’s praises back and forth to one another, the foundation of the heavenly temple itself begins to shake and smoke fills the temple. This place is literally bursting at the seams with God’s glory!

And there, in the midst of it all, feeling completely out of place, is little Isaiah. He knows the truth. He knows that he doesn’t deserve to be in this glorious place. He doesn’t deserve to be in the presence of the glory of God. He knows that he should be utterly destroyed in the glorious presence of this thrice-holy God. He doesn’t belong. Simply being in the presence of this holy God demonstrates very clearly to him the stark contrast. He is a sinner.

Just like the foundation of the temple, so Isaiah himself trembles at the holiness of this great God. He is so struck with the holiness of God and his own sinfulness that he is only left with one option:  repentance.

Woe is me!
For I am lost;
for I am a man of unclean lips,
and I dwell in the midst of  a people of unclean lips;
for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!
Isaiah 6:5

True worship of the holy God of the Bible requires confession and repentance Tweet this!

When Isaiah says “I am a man of unclean lips,” he is indicating a deeper reality of his heart. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Your mouth is directly connected to your heart. Whatever is in your heart is going to come out of your mouth. This is why Jesus also said that it’s not what goes into a person, but “what comes out of a person is what defiles him,” (Mark 7:20). The mouth is the conduit of the heart. Your mouth is the litmus test of your heart Tweet this!.

So when Isaiah confessed that he was a man of unclean lips, he was confessing that he was sinful to the core. He saw more clearly than he ever had before that he was sinful at heart. Sinful at root. David had a similar vision of his sinfulness after being rebuked by the prophet Nathan:

For I know my transgressions
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you and you only have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psalm 51:3-5

We are no better than Isaiah. We are no better than David. We are just as sinful, just as wicked. If you desire to worship God in all his glorious holiness, you must learn this about yourself, confess your utter sinfulness, and repent. Any attempt to worship God without repentance is not only rejected by God, but is an abomination to him Tweet this!.

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
– Proverbs 15:8 –

True worship requires repentance. And worship is the only thing that will not get boring throughout the endless ages of eternity. You ever wonder why you get bored and dissatisfied with things so quickly? Why does that new toy that brought you so much joy at first now just sit in the closet or garage? Why is it that nothing fully satisfies you? C.S. Lewis describes this phenomenon well:

If we find ourselves with a desire
that nothing in this world can satisfy,
the most probable explanation is that
we were made for another world.
– Mere Christianity

Worship is why you were created, only thing that will fully satisfy you, and worship requires your repentance Tweet this!.

Here are three applications:

True corporate worship:  Corporate worship requires corporate repentance.

Our worship gatherings must include an aspect of “we are a people of unclean lips.” When we get together to worship God, if we are not struck with God’s holiness to the extent that we are driven to repentance, we are not experiencing God’s holiness in a tangible enough way.

True individual worship:  Individual worship requires repentance.

For help in this area, two passages that are extremely helpful are Psalm 32 and Psalm 51. Use these psalms as templates for prayer. They will walk you through how to appropriately respond to God’s Word in repentance.

True family worship:  Family worship requires repentance.

When a family is committed to repentance and reconciliation, there is great joy in that family. A family that is constantly emphasizing forgiveness and biblical communication is at peace.  Even when there is sin (and there always will be on this earth), that family knows that repentance will come, forgiveness will follow, and reconciliation will win the day.

It brings incredible joy to know that even when your family sins against you, you can rest in the hope that they will ask for forgiveness and you will forgive; or when you sin against your family, you will ask for forgiveness and they will forgive you.

And that’s what the gospel is all about: the joy of reconciliation.

Go to “Worship Matters Part Two:  True Worship Begins with the Bible

Go to “Worship Matters Part Four:  True Worship Is Jesus-Driven

Worship Matters Part Two: True Worship Begins with the Bible

Have you ever seen God in a vision?  Don’t worry, visions are not the normative way in which God has ever spoken to his people.  When Isaiah received this vision, it’s because God especially chose Isaiah to receive this revelation.  Through this special revelation of God, Isaiah 1) received his calling, 2) was then to preach this message to God’s people, 3) and was then to pen this vision down so that future generations of God’s people could benefit from this vision of God.  Even today 2,800 years later, here you are reading a blog article about this experience of God.

In the year that King Uzziah died
I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up;
and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Above him stood the seraphim.
Each had six wings:
with two he covered his face,
and with two he covered his feet,
and with two he flew.
And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook
at the voice of him who called,
and the house was filled with smoke.

Isaiah 6:1-4

The most important thing we learn about God from this vision is his complete and utter holiness.  God’s primary attribute is his holiness.  Many would say that God’s primary attribute is love.  Doesn’t the Bible even say, “God is love? (I John 4:8)”  God is love. But his love is a holy love. In fact, all of God’s attributes are defined through his holiness Tweet this!:

  • God’s love is a holy love
  • God’s justice is a holy justice
  • God’s judgment is a holy judgment
  • God’s wrath is a holy wrath
  • God’s grace is a holy grace
  • God’s mercy is a holy mercy

God’s holiness is demonstrated in the vision through his perfect and exalted royal majesty.  He is King. This is one of the great themes of Isaiah.  The reason many people have a hard time reading through the book of Isaiah is because of all the “woes.”  “Woe to you Damascus…woe to you Tyre and Sidon…woe to you Israel…woe to you Judah.”  They can’t find the profitability of reading these today (II Timothy 3:16).  But the reason the Holy Spirit inspired those woes for us to read even today is to show that God is not just the God over his chosen people.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is the sovereign ruler over all the earth.  That is what the throne signifies.  This ruler sits on a high and exalted throne over all the earth.

But this vision took place not on an earthy throne, but in the heavenly temple of God.  It’s interesting that this temple has a throne.  Or should I say that it’s interesting that this throne is in a temple.  God is so high and exalted that no one deserves to approach him.  However, he desires, yea even commands, worship.  His throne is in a temple for the purpose of worship.

The seraphim in this passage that worship God are mysterious creatures that we don’t know too much about.  We know they are holy…yet even they cover their faces before this thrice-holy God.  We also know that they call out to one another in worship:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

This structure of three ‘holy”s in a row is the Hebrew version of the superlative.  It’s similar to us saying “really, really, really, holy” or “the most holy.”  God is so holy, that the entire temple is trembling and bursting with the glory of God.

What we learn from this experience when it comes to worship is that worship must begin with revelation.  Worship at root is our rightful response to all that God is Tweet this!.  For us to respond with worship, we must be exposed to who God is.  As stated before, a vision like this is not normative, so if you are waiting 4 God 2 reveal himself especially 2 you, don’t close your eyes and wait for a vision, open a Bible Tweet this!.

True worship begins with the Bible.  We encounter God through his revelation of himself.  And that happens through his Word.  Therefore here are three points of application with regard to corporate worship, individual worship, and family worship.

True corporate worship:  Worship with the church must begin with the Bible.

The church must keep the Word of God central in all that she does, especially worship.  Paul commanded Timothy something that we need to hear today more than ever:

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture
– I Timothy 4:13

Reading of Scripture, both the dumb reading & preaching, must be central to the corporate worship service Tweet this!.

True individual worship:  Individual worship must begin with the Bible.

Each time I begin my private devotion, I start with a short prayer of illumination (something like Psalm 119:18) followed by the reading of Scripture.  Only after I’ve spent time meditating on the Word do I then pray and sing a psalm, hymn, or spiritual song (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).

One other encouragement I have for private worship is to ensure that you are meditating on Scripture and not just reading it shallowly.  One way to do this is to underline a particular verse or set of verses that you want to come back to to pray through or spend a few minutes studying.  I can’t say reading the Word without meditation is useless because God’s Word never returns empty (Isaiah 55:11), but if you just read and don’t spend any time thinking about what you read, it’s close to worthless.

True family worship:  Family worship must begin with the Bible.

Perhaps family worship is not something you have thought about much or even heard of.  It is not a new concept.  In fact, it was a part of regular life for the Christian family back in the day to have both morning and evening devotions every day.  Men would open their Bibles and lead their family in family worship.  When was the last time you opened your Bible and led your family Tweet this!?

Go to Worship Matters Part One:  Seeking True Worshipers

Go to Worship Matters Part Three:  True Worship Requires Repentance