Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Jesus as Worshiper
by Erik Momsen
When the twenty-first century Christian thinks of worship - music, format, ritual and other physical and organisational issues come to mind. If only we could think spiritually and not materially we would be in a better state. If we could focus on "things above", our worship would be correctly focused.
Perhaps a simple definition of worship would help us stay focused. The word worship describes anything that "gives God worth - that ascribes worth to God".
Jesus is a prime and perfect example of a worshiper. We most often think of Him as the object of worship, but worship was part of His life as a man . It is ironic that the first teaching about worship and Jesus is equally focused on the Tempter. In contemporary Christian experience the evil one is still very active in the area of worship. Churches still experience the issue of worship as a battle ground. Individual Christians still find it a battle to break into worship. This is largely due to the primacy of worship and the nature of the Tempter.
Satan knows about worship
The image many believers have of the evil one is not biblical. We sometimes imagine him as a horror with horns, tail, cloven hooves, black and red cape and forked tongue. The Bible describes him as masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Isaiah 14: 11-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-19 are descriptions of the destruction of Babylon and Tyre using the fall of a heavenly being as symbolic language. Revelation 12 picks up the same language to directly describe Satan.
Satan knows about worship better than any human because he experienced it in the courts of God. He desires worship to be focused on himself or at least corrupted and focused away from God. Why is it that one of the hardest things to do is to get people into a gathering to worship God? Many Christians don't even believe in the worship of God.
Satan tempts Jesus in worship
The first temptation of Jesus was over using spiritual power to meet needs - "tell these stones to become bread". Secondly using spiritual power to attract attention to yourself - "throw yourself down ... He will command His angels". The third temptation was about worship and was the strongest temptation. Satan says "All this (the kingdoms of the world) I will give to you, if you ... worship me" (Matthew 4: 1-11). Satan would give Jesus things for His worship. He still confuses man with things. But Jesus did not come for things or power, he came for people. If the church was less concerned for things and more focused on people we would be in better shape.
Jesus handles the worship temptation by quoting Exodus 34:14 - "Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only". He was saying three things:
1. The priority of worship - worship first - service second.
"we are not saved to serve - but to worship".
2. The exclusivity of worship - worship God only.
* Worship was exclusively for the Father because of Jesus' love for the Father.
* When we understand the nature of the Father, we will worship Him.
* Worship is love responding to Love.
3. The energy and power of worship - it resists the devil.
"Then the devil left Him and the angels attended Him".
* i.e. the best anti-depressant & exorcist.
* i.e. the best counsel & provision.
"Men have two kinds of love for God: the love of gratitude, or the love of excellence" - A.W. Tozer.
The "love of gratitude" comes because we understand what God has done for us. The "love of excellence" is a love for who God is. We need a vision of the great Love of God for us. God is Good, He is light, He is Truth.
Some modern Temptations in worship
- Worship is a seven day a week activity - not an event or a show.
- Worship is not a thing - it is an attitude of heart & mind towards God.
- I have lots of things to do - but God demands our undivided attention.
- This thing of music - some churches have stopped music because it confuses.
- Music is a trigger to get our heart and minds focused on God.
- Love of God and love of people are as important in worship.
- Worship comes in response to a revelation of who God is.
- Worship comes because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Date Added: 2008-11-05
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