Saturday, February 10, 2018

Worship and Work

Worship and Work

Question 1: “Work is worship” is a common saying we hear everywhere. Is that true Biblically?

Answer 1: Even among the apparently good works, there are two types:

1)   Works done to earn money, honour, to satisfy our conscience, done out of compulsion, pressure or obligation etc

2)   Works done out of a simple and pure devotion to the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 11: 2, 3), in a spirit of worship. We might earn money as a remuneration for such works as in our regular job, but we do that work as unto the Lord (Colossians 3: 23, 24).

The first type of works, even if they are done under the name “Christian work or ministry” are “dead works” according to the standard of the Bible. So a "good" work done to impress anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ, is a dead work! See Matthew 6: 1-17; 7: 21-23; 15: 13; 1 Corinthians 3: 12-15; Hebrews 9: 14; Isaiah 64: 6.

 The second type of works only will have any value before the Lord and lasts for eternity! Those are the works that are done by a person who is worshipping the Lord in his heart. That is why Lord Jesus rightly quoted the order to the devil in Matthew 4: 10: You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only”. First worship and then serve.

The promptings and motivation of such works originate FROM the mind of the HEAVENLY FATHER. They are done THROUGH the power and strength of the HOLY SPIRIT. And they are done TO the glory of the LORD JESUS CHRIST! That is what Romans 11: 36 says: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen”.

Such works are the gold, silver and precious stones described in 1 Corinthians 3: 12-15, that will form the Bridal garment of the Bride of Christ (Revelation 19: 8). And such works alone will have any reward at the judgement seat of Christ! (Revelation 22:12).

This is not dichotomization of worship and work. But both would be integrated (that is, our work can be an act of pure worship to the Lord), only if we are first a worshipper! But beware: all work is not worship at all…

Question 2: How can we balance worship and work?

Answer 2: Genesis 1: 5 says “…And there was evening and there was morning, one day”. That was the original order of the Lord. Even today Jewish day begins at 6pm with evening and is followed by the morning. This teaches us to rest with God (worship Him) first and then go out to work for Him along with Him.

When God created Adam and Eve at the end of the sixth day of creation, for them the seventh day of Sabbath was their first day, in which they rested with (worshipped) God (Genesis 2: 2, 3). From that energy derived from being with God, they were supposed to work in the garden for the Lord (Genesis 2: 15).

Lord Jesus said: “…he shall go in (worship) and out (work) and find pasture” (John 10: 9).

As Dr Kuruvilla Varkey says, this is the balance we see even in our human body: there is resting membrane potential and action potential in our cells. There is diastole (relaxation) and systole (contraction) in our heart.

If worship is the root of a tree, then work is the shoot. If worship is being, then work is doing. If worship is the foundation of the building of our life (hidden from all others –Matthew 6:6), then work is the superstructure, our powerful external testimony like the city set on a hill which cannot be hidden (Matthew 5: 14). A tree without deep roots and a building without a deep foundation will fall down when the trials and temptations come (Matthew 7: 24- 27). And so will a life with much works and no or scanty worship!

If worship is the oil (love of God through the Holy Spirit –Romans 5: 5) in the lamp of the wise virgins in Matthew 25: 1-13, which nobody could see, then work is the light in the lamps. So those who have only works and no or meagre worship, are like the foolish virgins who did not have any extra oil in their lamps, who were not eventually ready to meet the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ!

So let worship be the driving force behind all our work! And when we worship God, we will find God is working, and we will also be prompted to do what He is showing us. That is what Jesus is saying in John 5: 17, 19, 20: “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working… Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel”.

These words were the secret of how Jesus walked on this earth (1John 2: 6), in helpless, childlike dependence on the Heavenly Father every moment! His words remind me always of a little child clinging on to his or her dad, saying “I cannot do anything on my own. I just do what I see my papa doing. I just do it exactly like how my papa does. I will do all that my papa is doing. And my papa will show me greater works than these that you all will be amazed”.

Young, humble Solomon at the beginning of his kingship was like this. He said: “… I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in… Give Thy servant an understanding (Hebrew word ‘shama’ means ‘listening’ heart” (1Kings 3: 7, 9). But when he became wise and great in his own eyes, he went astray.

So, let us follow the bloodstained footsteps of our Master who always listened to every Word that proceeded from the mouth of His Father for every decision (Matthew 4: 4; John 5: 30; 8: 16; Isaiah 11: 3).

And so, a true worshiper would really be a very hard working person as God is (2 Timothy 2: 6), and not a ‘hardly working’ person as many people are!!

Question 3: What is true worship?

Answer 3: As Br Zac Poonen teaches, worship is much beyond prayer, thanksgiving and praise. True spiritual worship (worship in the spirit) starts with  surrendering to the Lord Jesus every part of body –tongue, eyes, ears, hands, feet etc, soul and spirit as a living sacrifice (like the burnt offering in the Old Covenant) (Romans 12: 1, 2, 11). There our self will is torn just like the olives were beaten to yield oil for the temple (Exodus 27: 20). Then the fire of heaven, the Holy Spirit will fall upon us and consume us with His love. The river of the water of life (Revelation 22: 1), which is the same Holy Spirit, will immerse us in His ocean of love.

And we will join ourselves to the Lord and will be one spirit with the Lord then (1 Corinthians 6: 17), delighting in the presence of the Lord (Psalm 37: 4; 16: 11), just like a little child rejoices in his mother’s or father’s presence! (Psalm 131: 1, 2). We will be flooded primarily with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, especially the love, joy and peace of heaven (Galatians 5: 22, 23). It will be a foretaste of heaven, being in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle in the very presence of God! We will be seeing a glimpse of the glory of God in our spirit and will be falling prostrate, giving all glory to Him!

Nothing and no one on earth matter to us then. And we will be exclaiming like Asaph: “Whom have in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee I desire nothing on earth” (Psalm 73: 25). Our desire would be like that of David who said: One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple” (Psalm 27: 4).

And such true worshipers are the ones whom the Heavenly Father is earnestly seeking for (John 4: 23). And that is the worship in the (Holy) Spirit, in accordance with the Truth (Word of God) (John 4: 24).

This is the worship in our human spirit (not just in our soul and body as in the Old Covenant) (see John 4: 23), because our self-will or flesh (the veil –Hebrews 10: 19, 20) is surrendered, mortified and torn over there on the golden altar of our will power (Exodus 30: 6).

And this worship is in truth or reality (the other meaning of the Greek word aletheia used in John 4: 24), because the worshiper comes to the Lord just as he is, without any mask or hypocrisy or acting! And this worship is not something that occurs just during some church meeting, but something which should take place every moment in the life of a true worshiper through the continuous flooding of the Holy Spirit in his life!

Such a true worshiper will see his own unChristlikeness in the increasing light of the glory of the Lord Jesus, especially in the mirror of the Word of God (James 1: 23), and will be continually cleansed by the blood of Christ as he repents before the light of the Lord (1John 1: 7). And the same Holy Spirit who showed Him the glory of the character of Christ, will transform him also into that Christlikeness in an increasing measure from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3: 18; Proverbs 4: 18).

Yes, we will be beholding the blessed face of the Lord Jesus in our spirit and will be reflecting His glory and nature in our character more and more, - a miniature of eternity as we read in Revelation 22: 4: “The bond-slaves shall see His face and His name shall be on their foreheads”!

How different this true worship is from the so-called worship in many churches with so much pomp and show and worldly music and styles and fashions to impress mere mortals!  

That is why, A W Tozer (1897-1963), a great man of God said: “We're here to be worshipers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshiper, and after that he can learn to be a worker...The work done by a worshiper will have eternity in it.”

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, a very useful article brother!