This message was preached by Terry Virgo is the founder of Newfrontiers. Newfrontiers has now multiplied into many apostolic spheres across the world that are united on global mission by core values and genuine
relationships. Regions Beyond is one of the Apostolic spheres which is led by Steve Oliver.
The Glorious Church- a wonderful phrase I came across in a book by Watchman Nee. He was one of the voices that made me see the wonder of the church. Earlier, one did not really glory in the church. For us it is a huge deal.
We’ve been looking at Ephesians 4 ministries to see the church as a functioning body. Ephesians has lots of other aspects of church life. One of the aspects is of Worship. The challenges we are facing as people who love the presence of God and we need to very jealously guard what is important to God because we are grounded in scripture and that’s the emphasis we find there.
In the fall, man sinned and ‘all have fallen short of the glory of God’. That’s the tragedy of the human race- we are lead about by this world and we don’t know anything about the glory of God. Man who was made with the fellowship with the glory of God was cast out from the garden out of the presence of God.
But as the plan of salvation comes into action, and the God of glory reveals himself to Abraham, he is made aware of the reality of an existing God. The God of glory appeared to Abraham and the plan of God’s revelation starts. He begins to deal with the patriarchs and gathers a nation.
God reveals himself to Moses through the burning bush and then through the glory cloud and suddenly, some of the human race is back in the presence of God. During Moses’ time, a group of people start experiencing that fellowship again. At one time God threatens to back off them and Moses says, “Don’t! This is what makes us distinct, that Your presence goes with us. We’re the only nation in the world- that what we are- the people of Your presence.” It was a passionate deal with Him. Moses asks the question- Who are You? In exodus tells you the answer- the reveals himself through power, glory and wisdom (ten commandments and other laws).
We see God reveal himself – God’s power, His glory and His wisdom revealed- a God who leads you into truth. Then they come to the promise land. The promise land is like the Garden of Eden to go in with this realization. The two mountains, the blessings and the curse- the ultimate justice of God- and if they do not obey God, they are out of the land of His presence- the land where the mountain of the Lord is where the glory of the Lord is. Prophet after prophet threaten to obey or get out of the land and finally.
David’s was one of those powerful empires, pushed back the borders and he gave it Solomon. The kingdom of God on earth- His dwelling place. God has chosen Zion! The teachings about the courts of the Lord.
After 70 years we have the story of Ezra- pointing forward to the one who will come. Ultimately, one does come. He stands in the streets and does breath-taking things. The temple was decayed by this time in the hands of the Pharisees-they had God buttoned-up.
Jesus when confronted with the cripple, says, “your sins are forgiven”. When the Pharisees object Jesus says, ‘which is easier… Get up!” And suddenly, the temple is in the streets! Jesus, the temple of God is walking the streets. The temple is something different. Then we get this amazing verse in Ephesians- you are the temple of God. We are the place of God’s presence!
We see throughout the Bible, that God comes- through a nation, through His son- and He’s here now. His presence is here in the church. The gathered church is the place of His presence. We need to help our people understand the sheer privilege in meeting together as God’s people in God’s presence.
1. Liberty in worship- where the spirit of the lord is, there is liberty. It is liberty of what we’ve been set free from. We’ve been set free from our blindness, bondage to sin, the dominion of darkness, hell, condemnation… so many thing!
In fact, the very first time when God says, “let my people go…” for what? “so they can worship me.” and when they come through the Red Sea, and then you get the very first worship song in the Bible- a terrific song of liberty. This is biblical liberty. We are a people who have been set free who could not have been set free on their own.
Jesus has set us free from powers far too great. God set them free- the Israelites. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Worship is the celebration of that amazing freedom. As we enjoy this freedom, people move into more spiritual freedom. Worship is a dynamic experience. Genuine spiritual worship is where things happen, where God manifests His glory- and that is why I want to guard it jealously. We are worshipers. God is seeking worshipers not because he is ego-centric, but because when we worship everything else is in order.
When Israelite were in captivity, Psalm 137 says, “How can we sing songs or Zion in a strange land?” where is the kingdom? Where is the presence? But when the Lord turned again, the captivity of Zion, they were like those who dream! “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, our tongues with joyful shouting.”
When I got baptized in the spirit, I began to worship like never before. When we saw grace as a church, we worshiped! We’re not just happy clappy, we enjoy something breath-taking- celebrating liberty!
2. As an army- expression of faith. When we worship it’s a great opportunity to express faith. Worship that is not mingled with faith is just singing songs. But with faith, it’s declaring to the Lord, to yourself and to one another, what we believe. When they believed his word they sang His praise. It’s not been characteristic of the formal church to ooze faith The heart of the church is faith. The whole breakdown of the human race is unbelief The root of sin is unbelief.
When Satan came to Adam, he said, ‘you can’t believe God. You can make your own decisions.’ So, it says Paul goes out to bring obedience that comes from faith. We start making choices – I will change the way I raise my family, care for my wife, handle my finances, etc. - that line up with His will. You want to obey Him. Worship can generate that.
It’s about “Father I trust and believe you” The Word will affect our value system, our family live, finance; generosity will change because of faith where unbelief would not allow me to do and enjoy.
So we believe from faith and not because we think “we are not allowed to “
Worship helps the saints to grow.
Three things about worship
1. Worshipful faith – Creedal faith – Truth endures for centuries. In Christ Alone raises faith. It’s the words that cause faith to rise. Martin Luther and the Wesley’s wrote great hymns. We want to sing songs that say something. We need to sing creedal songs. I get weary when we sing lines that don’t say anything at all. Things we sing should declare reality. As leaders as should not hand over the guy who can just pay guitar but engage with truth. We treasure the truth.
2. Faith that is confidence for success. We need songs where people are going through all kinds of pain, struggles, and sickness. Worship leaders have a phenomenal opportunity to bless people. So faith is rising in his presence. How often to people say, or sing out what they believe. As you do this whole churches come alive in his presence. This is huge.
3 Advancing faith. We songs that inspire courage and about the future. We need songs that declare nothing is impossible with God. Faith is who we are. When a nation stops believing it stops being believers. So many people cope with life and go through pain. We want to see people come through pressure confidently and trusting.
Devotion- What is one thing Jesus says? Where ever you go this will be talked about. Its was devotion. The woman who anoints Jesus. There is something about it that Jesus liked. Jesus could have mentioned anything else but he delighted in this. There is something about the tenderness and intimacy. Worship does that. Worship should take people on a journey. Let’s meet with God and encounter his presence. It’s more than just being upbeat. Its meeting with him, singing with integrity.
Often people make big decisions in worship. Put give huge amounts of money as a result of being impacted in worship. It happens through devotion.
That’s why we need good songs. The church of God is where His presence is. So we want to meet with him and enjoy his presence.
People like Hudson Talyor etc wrote about heart devotion as they worshiped.
Rom 12:1-2. Worship that is rational and is a life style. It’s not just lifestyle but also that we sing his praises. It’s too important to be causal about or let anyone steal it form us and fail to expect to meet with God.