It is impossible to talk about the Gospel too much, so let’s start by talking about the Gospel. I was dead in my sin, separated from God, under His wrath, and utterly without hope. This is the place all humanity exists apart from God’s intervention. But God is rich in merciful love, and because of His great love for us, He made a way for me to be saved: He sent His only Son as my substitute to take the full punishment for my sins that I might have an avenue of escape from sin and death. He gave me faith to believe and repent, and now I am His child and will be forever. He has raised me to live a new life with Him as my king. Hallelujah!
So, how do I respond to this glorious thing that has happened to me? How do I worship God for who He is and what He has done? What is Christian worship supposed to look like?
We generally describe worship as some sort of religious exercise: attending a church gathering, reading some sort of religious text, listening to someone preach, singing songs of worship, praying, or doing some faith-motivated act of service. The Bible clearly commands that these things should be a part of our worship, but is that all there is to it? Is worship relegated only to the most overtly religious compartments of life? Well, Romans 11:36-12:2 says this:
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
If this text is true (and it is), then it seems that Christian culture has somehow come to define Christian worship as something less than it is. Worship is not to be merely constrained to our religious acts. Because all things are from Christ and through Christ and to Christ, for His glory, our logical response should be to present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices. This is an act of worship that never ceases, that consumes every minuscule moment of our lives. All of life is an opportunity to worship Jesus because all of life belongs to Him. Drinking your morning coffee can be an act of worship. Responding to the jerk who cut you off in traffic can be an act of worship. Doing your work, arguing with your spouse, spending your money, grieving the death of a loved one, watching your favorite band perform, seeing your football team lose, paying your taxes, tweeting...every aspect of your life can and should be an act of worship to God.
In order to pursue this kind of lifestyle, we must continually ask ourselves this question:
"In light of the Gospel, how should I live this moment?"
In light of the Gospel, we can face trials and suffering with joy, work our jobs for God’s glory, cope with disappointment, celebrate good things (regardless of their “Christianness” or lack thereof), and live with gratitude and contentment. True worship is not about making each moment a religious exercise. It springs forth from recognizing and leaning into the fact that Jesus is king of every aspect of your life, from the mundane to the extraordinary, the “most” spiritual moments to the “least.” If He is king of all, then every moment can be lived for His glory.
For Vintage Church, fostering this lifestyle of worship, both corporately and individually, is vital to our existence. The Lord is continuing to sanctify us and teach us in this area, but we press forward to make every part of life an act of worship. We do this in three ways we see outlined in Scripture:
Personal worship- This includes private prayer and study of Scripture as well as honoring the Lord in the way we think, treat each other, and use our time and resources.
Small group worship- This includes being a part of one of our missional community groups, in which we study Scripture, share meals, work together to reach our neighbors with the Gospel, hold each other accountable, and live life together (not just on Sundays).
Corporate worship- This includes our Sunday morning gathering and other gatherings that involve the church as a whole. The Bible is preached, songs are sung, communion is taken, and prayers are said as a local body gathered in one place.
Every Sunday, we recite a prayer after we take communion, and I always think of it as a wonderful summary of what a lifestyle of worship looks like. So, I often pray:
We thank you for the body and blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through Him, we offer you our souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice.
Send us out, in the power of Your Spirit, to live and work to Your praise and glory.
In light of the Gospel, may we present ourselves as living sacrifices--not being conformed to the world but being transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may discern the will of God in every moment of our lives.