The Church Series Pt. 14 (WARNING) Rated FG-7
Romans 12:1 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.
The values and norms of society become so deeply ingrained in our minds that we find it difficult to decipher between God’s will and our will. Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus presents the kingdom as a new order breaking in upon, and overturning, old ways, old values, and old assumptions. It if does anything, the kingdom of God shatters the assumptions that govern our lives. Everything including our expectations, assumptions and demands are reversed in the kingdom of God. Those whom we declare good are not seen that way from God’s perspective and vice versa.
Tension, paradox, irony, surprise, and mystery all infect the teachings of Jesus. Everything is flipped upside down. The first will be last, to lose our life is to save it, adults must become like little children, sinners receive forgiveness and blessings while the religious miss the great feast, the poor in spirit are blessed while the religious leaders are cursed. Nothing is what it seems in the kingdom.
I have to admit, I have been very naive and trusting throughout my spiritual journey. I grew up in the A.M.E. Church, all of my childhood sitting in the back of the building and when I grew up, I move to the balcony. When the Spirit of God really began to press upon me, I came down and told my pastor what was going on inside of me. He told me God, as calling me to be a Reverend to preach the Gospel. This is when I should have ran from the church. When I preached my first sermon, they tried to pay me fifty dollars ($50.00), I would not take it. My pastor pulled me to the side and scolded me. He told me, “not to ever preach without getting paid or ever turn down any money offered to me for preaching”. He said; “I would be cheapening the ministry it I didn’t receive money for preaching the Gospel”.
Well, pastor the Gospel is free or at least it should be free. Cheapening the Gospel is when you allow someone to pay you for preaching and the purse is less than what was paid on the cross for you to be able to preach. Pulpit Pimps have lowered the standard for preaching the Gospel, instead of giving it their life; they sell out for a price. What does this have to do with true worship? You may be asking, let me tell you.
Instead of countering culture and embodying a new alternative reality, we often reinforce cultural ideals and assumptions. Worship often reflects this cultural conformity. Why do we always need happy, shiny songs when so much of life isn’t that way? Why don’t worship leaders realize they are teaching theology when they choose the songs they do? Why is it that worship is supposed to make us feel better but rarely does? Why doesn’t worship confront us more often with the holiness, grandeur, and majesty of God? Why does so much of it seem so shallow and hollow and trite and simply about me? Why? I will tell you!
In the same way the Pulpit Pimps has lowered the standards of preaching. The Prostitute of the Pulpit Pimps has lowered the standard of worship. Just like the preacher who won’t preach without being paid or looks at his gift as a ticket to fame. Other than the building and the pastor the worship leader and the musicians are raping the Body of Christ. By the time I was leaving the Institutionalized Church we were pouring out eighteen hundred and fifty dollars ($1,850.00) per week, seven thousand four hundred dollars ($7,400.00) per month ninety-six thousand two hundred dollars ($96,200.00) per year, for an hour or two of praise and worship and this was modest in comparison.
We have reduced worship to an hour or two event in front of our service. We measure our worship experience by how well our prostitute performs. Worship should be a lifestyle once you leave the service. Paul said, “this is your spiritual act of worship” referring to us “offering your bodies as living sacrifices”. Additionally, it has become our physical act of worship, offering entrainment as a sacrifice to God.
Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice. Paul had already told the Roman believers, Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13). Our bodies are all we have to offer we live in our bodies. The body enfolds our emotions, our mind, our thoughts, our desires, and our plans. Thus, the body represents the total person; it is the instrument by which all our service is given to God. In order to live for God, we must offer him all that we are, represented by our body. The word offer has also been translated give, yield, or present. If our body is at God’s disposal, he will have our free time, our pleasures, and all our behavior.
When sacrificing an animal according to God’s law, a priest would kill the animal, cut it in pieces, and place it on the altar. Sacrifice was important, but even in the Old Testament God made it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important (see 1 Samuel 15:22; Psalm 40:6; Amos 5:21-24). God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy and resources at his disposal, and trusting him to guide us (see Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Peter 2:5). Our new life is a thanks-offering to God. Offering our body as a living sacrifice is holy and pleasing to God. To be a holy sacrifice is to be completely set apart for God and dedicated to worship him. Those who are dedicated to God are pleasing to God because they can participate in his service. If we are not set apart from our old life, we will not be useful to God.
True worship separates us from the world, we don’t enter into true worship, we become true worship, true worship leads us to love the body and not rape it. We are so busy paying to be entertained we turned our noses up at the penniless calling of the Holy Spirit. Worship is our response to God’s initiative. It is responding with our whole lives to everything God is and everything he has done.
Posted on June 30, 2010, in The Church Series and tagged church, god, growth, help, holy, hurt, jesus, lord, love, man, order, pastor, people, service, spirit, traditional, worship. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.