LESSON 5: NEVER-ENDING WORSHIP
MAIN IDEA: Our worship invites God’s presence, His presence brings increased revelation, and we respond with never-ending worship.
Worship is critical to our lives here on planet Earth, and worship is our destiny throughout all eternity. Throughout our study together, we have seen example after example of God’s people responding to Him with worship. And their worship invited the presence of God — their lives were changed forever.
We also have been given a clear picture of our never-ending worship around the throne of God in heaven. The cycle of worship begins with our response, and it is indeed never-ending. As we’ve learned, worship is continual in heaven as the angels and elders cry out day and night.
There is no shortage of God’s presence in heaven, and the worship never stops. Imagining Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem gave us just a small glimpse of what our eternity will hold. Our response will be worship — the kind of unrestrained worship offered by the crowd gathered on the dusty road outside the city of Jerusalem.
As we saw in the last class, Jesus went to Jerusalem to fulfill His destiny right in the midst of his followers, including the Seventy, and they could not keep silent. They had devoted their lives to Jesus, they had seen Him do mighty deeds through their own obedience, and they had the personal assurance of spending eternity with God. They had every reason to worship the King — and so do we! Never-ending worship was their destiny, and it is ours as well.
We have a lot in common with the Seventy. They were ordinary people who had taken the opportunity to spend time with the Savior, to believe and receive His words of life, and to reach out to those around them who needed to know that the Savior was near. Although Jesus is no longer physically with us, He has provided the Holy Spirit who resides in us and teaches us all things:
The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him. 1 John 2:27
Like the Seventy, we have been given a mission. Jesus has called us to go forth into our neighborhoods, schools, churches, and workplaces to declare that the Kingdom is near and available. His Holy Spirit empowers us to speak words of love and healing and deliverance to those in need:
This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but shuts off his compassion from him — how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, we must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:16-18
Just like the Seventy, we can fulfill our mission by choosing to spend time in God’s presence, respond to His revelation, and make a place of meeting as we worship Him. God’s amazing love for us makes it all possible. The cycle of worship is never-ending: He loves us; we respond; He inhabits our response; and we worship even more! God is waiting right now for us, even as we complete this study.
Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming. Revelation 4:8
Blowing to the Box
When I think of “instruments of praise,” I’m reminded of an analogy I heard many, many years ago — one that tells about being a band parent, which brings to mind the many band competitions Teresa and I have endured.
We have been band parents ever since my son, Lee, was able to pick up a horn and play. That means that I’ve been to countless band contests — those all-day events where you are guaranteed to sit in the bleachers somewhere and watch as many as 50 or 60 bands perform their halftime shows for the judges in the press box.
Frankly, it’s a fairly boring way to spend a Saturday — that is, until your band takes the field! At that point, it doesn’t matter that you have heard the song a thousand times; the “band parent within” takes over! You may know every note and every step that is coming, but your response cannot be restrained.
As the song comes to its conclusion, the band turns toward you; and in one final moment, they start what is known as “blowing to the box.” Every band director teaches the same message: this is the moment where you blow your instrument with all your heart, soul, and strength. No matter what instrument you play, as you face the press box, it’s time to put your very best performance on the line. Lift your head, blow a little harder, and play a little louder! It’s time to let them hear all you have to give!
And though we band parents have experienced this moment countless times, there we are again: standing on the bleachers, waving our arms in the air, and screaming at the top of our lungs as our children “blow to the box”!
The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great rejoicing, while the Levites and priests sang to the LORD every day, accompanied by the LORD’s instruments of praise. 2 Chronicles 30:21, NIV
As a worshiper, the message is clear: when we turn our attention to the One we worship, our worship expression and experience is totally dependent on where we see our Father seated. If He is in the press box, carefully judging our performance (and our lives) because it is His job to see if we meet some performance standard, then we will approach our Father with caution and fear.
But if we see Him as the Father who has climbed to the top of the bleachers to get a better view of His dear child — as a Father who waves His arms and screams His support with all His strength to let us know that He loves us and is there for us — then nothing and no one can keep us from experiencing God at that very moment.
Worshiping God in response to who He is and what He has done is a privilege that we simply cannot ignore. We were made for worship, and even now God is waiting for us to respond.
Our God is truly the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. His name is Jesus, and He’s waiting for our response to His revelation! Worship while you wait. Worship while you are under the weight of circumstances. Worship when He seems near and when He seems so far away. Your name is written in the book of heaven; and when this life is over, you will be worshiping Him day and night for eternity. Now that’s something to celebrate!
You see, worship really is the key to experiencing God. He’s ready when you are.
Do you feel you are more prepared to worship God completely since you’ve participated in this course? What are some ways you will worship now that you didn’t before?
Points to Ponder
• When we experience God in worship, we are empowered to serve Him — and worship Him more.
• Experiencing God in worship requires time and sacrifice.
• Experiencing God in worship requires us to trust and obey and keep our focus on Jesus.
• God shows up when His people immerse themselves in worship!
• Our worship invites God’s presence; His presence brings increased revelation; and we respond with never-ending worship.
LESSON 5 REVIEW
• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?
Seven Words of Worship is based on the book Seven Words of Worship published by LifeWay Press ©2008 · Mike Harland and Stan Moser
No part of this course may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, except as may be expressly permitted in writing by the publisher. Requests for permission should be addressed in writing to LifeWay Press®; One LifeWay Plaza; Nashville, TN 37234-0175.
ISBN: 978-1-4158-6609-2 Item number 005170866
Dewey Decimal Classification Number: 264 Subject Heading: WORSHIP \ SPIRITUAL LIFE
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.
Scriptures marked NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers.
Scriptures marked NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
Scriptures marked AMP are from The Amplified® Bible, copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)
Scriptures marked MSG are from The Message by Eugene Peterson, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
Scriptures marked KJV are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Leadership and Adult Publishing LifeWay Church Resources One LifeWay Plaza Nashville, TN 37234-0175