Friday, August 18, 2017

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Worship: Celebration of Faith
John 4:16-26

"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth"  (John 4:23-24) 
 Worship is never just a distinct act that is limited to a particular place or time.  Worship is a part of our whole human lives that resonates in each and everything thing we do.  Worship must come from a heart that rejoices in having experienced the grace and goodness of God.  Noted theologian and preacher, John Piper, describes worship as “basically adoration…we adore only what delights us. There is no such thing as sad adoration or unhappy praise.”  Thus, we can understand worship to be a celebration – a celebration of God’s faithfulness to us.  Worship is a celebration of God’s life-changing grace and is a celebration of true fellowship.  Therefore, when we worship God in spirit and truth, we celebrate our true faith in the One, True God.
Also, true worship is not exclusive.  Just as the Samaritan woman rushed off to tell others of her encounter with the Lord, so true worship will also compel the worshiper to include others.  As a result of this woman’s encounter with Jesus, many others from her village came to know Him as well.  The one who has truly worshiped will have a sense of peace and a confident expectation of what God is about to do.  True worship produces a transformed life, reflecting the One who has been worshipped.
            Thus, true worship is life-changing.  It creates within the worshiper’s heart a hatred for sin.  True worship results in repentance, obedient submission, and a desire for holiness (Isaiah 6:1-8).  True worship generates a desire to show mercy and to express forgiveness.  It includes a joyful acceptance of all that God has provided by His grace.
Worship is not mere religion or ritual; worship is an intimate and vital encounter with the Personhood of God.  True worship includes the full recognition of who God is: Holy, Sovereign, Almighty, Loving, Merciful.  This recognition of God’s Personhood brings about the personal realization of our own sinfulness.
We are designed to worship God in spirit and truth.  As Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, He sought to help her do this by imparting to her God’s living water (John 4:13-14).  Jesus sought out this woman personally to give her abundant life.  In the same way, the Father seeks an encounter with each of us that is real and personal. 
  Lord Jesus, we come to praise You for Your faithfulness to us.  Help us to strive to worship You in spirit and truth by celebrating our faith in Your never-ending grace.  Be with us this day, and enable us to bring glory and honor to Your name in all that we do.  In Jesus’ holy name, we pray.  Amen.

Thought for the Day
  Worship is not a ritualistic act; it is a life-transforming experience that enables us to celebrate the graciousness of God as the united body of Christ.

Rev. Christopher Phil Daniel, Chicago