HIGHER CALLING TO WORSHIP
There are times when the Holy Spirit opens up the scriptures to us in a special way, (John 16:13) Some years ago when I was in the Faroe Islands, I went into the church hall to spend some time alone thinking about what I should say at the young people's meeting that evening. As I walked around the hall, my thoughts were directed towards worship, and in a very short time the message of the ‘higher calling to worship’ opened up in my mind. I was brought into a new understanding of worship in just a few moments.
This experience not only changed my understanding of worship but it also caused me to see the Baptism with Holy Spirit in a new light. I had always associated the Baptism with the Holy Spirit with the power to witness because Jesus said to His disciples, ‘You shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto Me…’ (Acts 1:8). I realised that on the Day of Pentecost in Acts2, the disciples were worshipping. The Holy Spirit empowered the disciples for worship and their witness was a development of their worship. When I saw this I realised that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is an empowerment that brings the believer into the higher realm of anointed worship out of which comes the power to be witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Discovering worship is like finding oil. We come into a huge reservoir of God’s resources. The scriptures come alive to us when we understand the higher realms of worship. Christians who have become worshippers and experienced the 'oil of gladness' in the Holy Spirit will never be satisfied with less. If we lose the anointing it is because we have not remained in the place of anointed worship. Sometimes we can be moved away from worship by something that in itself is very good but when it dominates our thoughts we become captivated by it and led away from the Lord. The Ephesian believers in Revelation chapter 2 had a great love for the scriptures but they lost their first love (2:4). They were eager to defend the faith but in doing so they had allowed the enemy to steal their worship. The Lord told the Ephesians to go back to the first works (2:5). I wondered what was meant by the first works and so I looked in the first chapter of Ephesians and there I found the answer, ‘love for one another’ and ‘faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 1:15). The Ephesians had become staunch defenders of the faith but in doing so they had lost their fellowship with one another and with the Lord. They needed to go back to this place of fellowship so they could once again go up to worship in the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Everything falls into place when we see the wonderful path of worship that God has prepared for us. There are higher places of worship that we should always be seeking to reach, and no matter how high we climb there is always more. The teaching in this book divides worship into five categories.
1. Worship that rejoices in thankfulness and praise (Luke 17:15-16)
2. Worship that rejoices through a surrendered life (John 12:3)
3. Worship with joy in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4)
4. Worship that rejoices in being counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41)
5. Worship that is united with joy in His eternal plan and purpose (Acts 4:24-30).
The angels always worship on the highest level of worship but the angels cannot worship like us. The angels have never experienced salvation or known what it is to be redeemed from the depths of human depravity (Ephesians 2:3). But there is an even greater reason why our worship is higher than the angels. The angels have never been lifted to the heights of becoming heirs of the Father and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). We have a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ that the angels do not have. We have been brought into union with God through Jesus Christ so that we are one with Him (John 17:21). We worship as the sons and daughters of the living of God. When the Holy Spirit lifts us to the heights of anointed worship, we are able to worship like a great symphony orchestra that is in perfect unity with God and perfect unity with each other. Our worship is best described as being the life of Christ in us; anointed by the Holy Spirit; worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth. It is this kind of worship that the Father is seeking.
Then we ask a question, won’t it be more glorious to worship in heaven? Of course, worship in heaven will be more glorious than worship now because the believer will have a glorified body and will see the Lord, face to face. But the highest realm of worship can be reached now. Our one desire should be to worship on the highest level; united with Him in His eternal plan and purpose. Death for the worshipper is a continuation of worship from time into eternity. There is no end to true worship.
Introductory Notes on Worship
Worship is the heart of the Christian life (John 4:24).
Worship is the most vital part of an effective Christian life. A disciple of Christ must learn to worship at all times, and in all situations and circumstances. Without worship the Christian life becomes mundane and unattractive to those outside of Christ. The Christian life should be fruitful in every area, but this will only happen when we learn to offer praise and thanksgiving for all things.
Worship is born out of our relationship with the Lord (Ephesians 3:17).
The heights that we reach in worship will always depend upon the closeness of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is possible to reach the same heights of worship in our own experience as the disciples knew in Bible days. The Holy Spirit wants to lead us higher into worship so that the life of worship becomes our personal experience. Knowledge of the scriptures alone is not enough. We must desire to go higher in worship, and develop an active and intimate relationship with the Lord,
Worship is more than singing Christian songs. Singing is an expression of worship, but worship involves every area of our lives. The spirit of a person is the very innermost part of his or her being. Believers in Christ need to recognise that every moment of the Christian life is an opportunity for worship because worship involves our innermost thoughts and desires. Singing Christian songs is capable of moving the emotions whether it is worship or not, but only believers who have gone up to worship and come into His presence in a right manner are true worshippers.
Effective ministry in the body of Christ must always be born out of worship. All the great men and women of faith in scripture were first and foremost worshippers. Worship is born out of love for the Lord. The question that Jesus asked Peter needs to be answered by every believer. Jesus said, 'Do you love me?' He then told Peter to 'Feed my sheep'. Ministry to others flows out of worship that is rooted in love for Christ.
Salvation is the gift of God, but the kind of entrance we have into heaven depends on the extent of our worship. God's people need to be preparing for eternity. The question every believer must ask himself or herself is, 'what kind of an entrance into heaven do I want to have?' The Bible says we need to be concerned about the way we will enter into heaven. The Second Epistle of Peter says, 'Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' (2 Peter 1:10-11)
The call to worship is the most urgent call to the body of Christ. It is the call to be ready for eternity. An abundant entrance into heaven is the greatest prize to be won. We must learn to live a life of worship so that we will enter eternity worshipping.
There is no higher calling than the call to worship, (Psalm 27:4).
Those who seek to worship the Father in spirit and in truth must have one desire. The prayer of the worshipper is always, 'one thing have I desired that I might know Christ'. The Father is seeking for worshippers and the high calling to worship has no respect of persons. The most insignificant person in the body of Christ can become a great man or woman of faith by answering the call to worship.
1. ...a new understanding of the heights of worship so we will desire to reach the higher realms of worship.
2. ...a desire to know Christ through a life of worship..
3. ...a realisation that the highest calling of God is the call to worship, and God is no respecter of person.