I’m always a big fan of contrasting realities. Like when you’re a kid and your parents discipline you and you’re completely mad at them while they say, “I’m doing this because I love you.” I think that’s God does for us sometimes. In our worship services, we often want to feel an uplifting emotion from positive lyrics that give us “warm fuzzies” and leave us saying “worship was good today.” If worship was intended to be based on emotional or musical “highs” this might be okay. However, just as our parents showed us love with a strong slap on the rear, God has some discipline for our times in worship.
In Ephesians 5 Paul gives the church stern instructions for living as Christians.
Ephesians 5:3-5 (NLV)
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
There are so many believers who are smudging the grey areas and living as much in the way of sin as the world. For those in ministry, there is a temptation to put on the posture of holiness while in our homes living something quite different. In verse 15 Paul says “Be careful how you live.” This is the same person who told the Romans “give your bodies to God…as a living and holy sacrifice…This is truly the way to worship Him.” The way we live is parallel to the way we worship. Its in fact the same thing.
I love that this entire chapter is going somewhere. If you read all of verses 1-20 you’ll see how God starts with a gracious encouragement, leading to strong discipline instruction, a call to acton to “Awake o Sleeper” and response of praise and thanksgiving. In verse 19 Paul instructs the church to lift up psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with music to God. The songs should be the overflow. The worship is how we live throughout the week, continually giving our lives to God. Our congregational worship on Sunday mornings should be an outpouring of thanksgiving on top of the worship already giving to God previously.
I encourage you to read the whole chapter of Ephesians 5. Good stuff for all!
NOTE: I wrote a song called “Awake O Sleeper” from this passage that can be heard here.
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Tags: NicholasPetersen, worship, blog, hrcc, ephesians, life, church, songs, music, psalms, romans, paul, god, jesus, awake, hobsonroadcommunitychurch, worshiplessons, ministry,-->