WORSHIP and MORALS
I had the chance to go for the first time in my life to China. It seems that the country is indeed opening up to the world (though I could not access my blog from there-?). I was especially impressed by the sharing spirit of the Christians of that country (I won’t say more that this for now). When I got back (after preaching from Genesis 6:1-8 at HEM and the Bible Study) I continued reading John Stott’s book The Living Church.
I especially liked the section: MORAL WORSHIP, and I would like to share this with the congregation. I believe that it is much needed in today’s Church. The section is from page 45. Emphases are mine.
“The kind of worship pleasing to God has one major characteristic. TRUE WORSHIP is MORAL WORSHIP, that is to say, it must not only express what is in our hearts but also be accompanied by an upright life. Samuel put this beyond doubt in his explicit words to King Saul: “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).
Yahweh was even more outspoken in his declaration to Isaiah. He had had enough of Israel’s offerings. He took no pleasure in their sacrifices. Indeed, their sacred assemblies were an abomination to him, and he would not even listen to their prayers. Why so? He tells them: “Your hands are full of blood.” If they would “stop doing wrong, and seek justice, encourage the oppressed,” they would be forgiven (Isaiah 1:10-19). It was this mixture of religion, wrongdoing and injustice which Yahweh could not abide. Worship without HOLINESS was hateful to Him.
I cannot think of a better place to conclude this chapter on worship than at the beginning of Romans 12. For here Paul describes the Christian life to which he summons us as our “spiritual act of worship.”
For eleven chapters the apostle has been unfolding “the mercies of God.” And now, in view of God’s great mercy which we have received, he appeals to all the members of God’s international family to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God. He calls this physical offering our “spiritual” act of worship. Logikos is the word he uses, which could be translated either “reasonable” (logical in response to God’s mercy) or “rational” (intelligent, the offering of heart and mind, spiritual as opposed to ceremonial).
It is clear that Paul is thinking of a worship which is expressed NOT ONLY in a church building but in the home and in the workplace. One kind of worship is unbalanced without the other.”
May God help our congregation to bring Him the “logical” worship that is pleasing and gloryifing to God. It is the worship which MUST be accompanied by “an upright life.” So help us God.