Monday, July 7, 2014

Called Out...In One Mind (1 of 2)

Worship Wars! Such a phrase has become common in many churches over the past few decades.  But it is such a sad phrase. Those who are engaged in worship have chosen to worship their preferences as opposed to the worship of Jesus. Jesus statement about worship was that it is to be done in spirit and in truth (John 4.24), not with or without certain instruments...not with our without certain lyrics...not with or without a hymnal, etc. The reality is Isaac Watts was nearly excommunicated from the church for writing songs. He wrote over 500 hymns including Joy to the World and Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed (At the Cross). And a hymn many love, Because He Lives, was written in 1972 - was it rejected at the time?

Worship is not about the style and it isn't about the instrumentation. It is about to whom we are singing and what our words and hearts are expressing. The songs are not about us...they are not about our singing...they are not about how well we do or don't know them...they are not about how US. They are about HIM!

Of course people do have different preferences. God made us that way. I believe that is one of the reasons there are so many different churches. But if the gospel is being proclaimed, and that can be a big if, then shouldn't we celebrate with others the name of Jesus. Think about it this way. No one would reasonably expect a worship service in a foreign county (say Uganda) to be just like one in America. Unfortunately, Christians often let their preferences get in the way of their worship and their service to God.

In Philippians 2.1-11, Paul wrote that people should be in one accord - with a mindset like that of Christ. Verses 5-11 is a great passage about Christ (see also Colossians 1.15-20). This section of text in Philippians 2 was likely a hymn of the early church which not only speaks of the nature of Christ, but gives us an example to follow as well.

The example from this text is that like Jesus, we should:
  • not insist on our own way.
  • look out for others.
  • allow God to honor us, not worrying about the commendation or condemnation of others.

In Part 2, I will briefly expand on each of these principles.

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