Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Romans 12 - What is true and proper worship?

Too many Christians like or leave their particular church because they're looking for "good worship" and what they really mean is "a good band".  The bands probably aren't that good anyway (don't get me started) but that's not even the point.  What if more Christians got stuck into churches because they were looking for how they could serve?  What if they were in it for others and not for themselves?  What if they stopped consuming church and started really serving each other and loving people outside the church too?  Then, even if the best the band could do was ropy covers of boring indy worship songs, the worship would still be amazing!  That's what!

Romans 12

Paul says true and proper worship is to live and do everything for Jesus.  This means songs and bands are part of it but only part of it.  The songs bit means nothing if the life isn't happening.  Paul wants Christians to worship their guts out by living for Jesus instead of letting culture decide what they do.  In our day, this means we should fight hard to avoid getting sucked into the greedy consumer mentality that asks 'What am I getting out of this?' and start asking, 'What can I give?'  And even now, some Christians reading this will still think I'm talking exclusively about the singing in church.  I'm not!  It's our whole lives!  This is Paul's point.  Christians worship by living for Jesus!

Worship includes how Christians serve other Christians.  It starts with humility and Paul seems to suggest that the more faith you have, the more humble you should be because you have a clearer view of who Jesus is, who you are and who your family is too.  Jesus has given gifts and abilities to every Christian to serve one another in love and this means getting on with it and serving the best we can in his strength.  It also means helping each other fight off sin and temptation wherever it is still dragging people into trouble.  This means Christians should welcome loving challenges from one another about their choices because they're wanting to constantly learn and grow and be more like Jesus.  Paul says if Christians love each other they'll 'hate what is evil and cling to what is good' (v9).  So if they say they love each other but don't do this, then they don't really love each other.   

Worship also includes how Christians are to love everyone, including people who don't yet trust and follow Jesus.  This means standing out by the distinctive way in which we do good to those who are against us (v14), party hard when someone has good news (v15), crash hard with those who are crushed (v15) and get on with all sorts of people (v16-18).  When Christians retaliate and bicker, avoid celebrations, ignore or frustrate people in tough times or clash and argue, they're not really loving people very well and they're not worshiping Jesus very well either.  If the good news about Jesus is true, then Christians shouldn't just believe it, they should also be good news to others.  If we're looking for 'true and proper worship', this is part of it.

Remember the end of chapter 11 where Paul's words of worship burst out of him?  This stuff about a life of worship is his very next thought!  If you're a Christian, is it yours?  If you're not, how are your Christian mates doing at worshiping Jesus?

Romans blog