LESSON 5: AN EVERYDAY EXPRESSION
MAIN IDEA: We worship God by serving Him in our everyday lives with reverence and awe.
In this class we have been exploring the expression of our worship, particularly our expression of worship in the corporate worship service. Now let’s focus on our expression of worship beyond the sanctuary.
Paul Lived a Life of Worship and Service
As we have emphasized throughout our study, worship is to be a lifestyle. The apostle Paul understood this clearly because he lived a life of worship and service, as these words in his letter to the Romans indicate:
God is my witness, Whom I serve with my [whole] spirit [rendering priestly and spiritual service] in [preaching] the Gospel and [telling] the good news of His Son, how incessantly I always mention you when at my prayers. Romans 1:9, AMP
The word serve used here is the Greek word lateuro, which also can be translated “worship.” Paul’s ministry itself was an expression of worship. It was not something he did because tradition required it. Paul served — worshiped — because he had a personal revelation of God.
You probably know the story: Paul had an amazing encounter with God on the road to Damascus that changed his life completely. At the time, his name was actually Saul, and he was one of the most notable persecutors of Christians in his day. But on the road to Damascus, he received a firsthand view of God’s overwhelming power, grace, and mercy. This encounter ultimately changed his entire direction in life:
As [Saul] traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” “Who are You, Lord?” he said. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. Acts 9:3-5
In that moment, Saul received a revelation of God — of who He is and what He had done — and his life would never be the same. Having been blinded by the light, Saul made his way to Damascus; and there God opened His eyes — not only to see the world around him, but also to see the ministry to which he would devote the rest of his life.
As we know, Paul paid a great price for his worship and service of the Lord Jesus. Yet as his revelation of God grew throughout the years, Paul responded with more and more worship and service. Paul knew the hopeless condition from which God had rescued him — he had a clear revelation of who God is and what God had done in his life — and he was determined to live a lifestyle of worship and service.
Worshiping with Godly Fear, Reverent Awe, and Expectation
We in the Gentile world continue to benefit from Paul’s courageous lifestyle of worship, and we can respond to God’s revelation with equal fervor and dramatic results in our own lives. When we worship the Lord, we have the privilege of responding to His greatness and to the grace God expressed when He reached down to us in love. And as we worship, we can expect His presence to be revealed.
What are some ways that God reveals His presence to you today?
Although God is our loving Father and our Friend — which He has demonstrated to us through the suffering and the shed blood of His Son, Christ Jesus — we should never worship Him without godly fear and reverent awe, acknowledging the overwhelming power and glory of His presence:
Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29
God is a good God, and He wants to hear your voice proclaiming adoration, appreciation, desperation, and expectation. He wants that voice to be expressed not only once a week but also every day, demonstrating a lifestyle of worship — a life that is being transformed by His Word.
As we draw near to God, we must come with a pure heart in response to who He is and what He has done. Words and actions that fit the worship mold but come from hearts that are not surrendered to God are always offered in vain.
However, when we come with words of praise offered from hearts that are fully surrendered to God’s truth, we can count on God to respond, and the cycle is complete: God initiates, we respond, and He responds to our worship with His glorious presence!
“These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men” Matthew 15:8-9
Take a few moments to read the full account of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus found in Acts 9:1-19a.
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
“Who are You, Lord?” he said.
“I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting,” He replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Then Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Here I am, Lord!” he said.
“Get up and go to the street called Straight,” the Lord said to him, “to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, since he is praying there. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands on him so he can regain his sight.”
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for My name!”
So Ananias left and entered the house. Then he placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Have you ever had a similarly “intense” encounter with God — an experience of God in which you received a powerful revelation of who God is and/or what God has done? Those who traveled with Paul that day must have been completely shocked by the experience as well. Have you ever had a friend or family member who had an intense encounter with God?
If you answered yes to either question, please share the story a family member or friend. A personal testimony — such as Paul’s testimony and the testimonies of his traveling companions — is a powerful tool with great purpose in God’s hands. If you have never had an “intense” encounter with God, you still have a story — a testimony — to share! Whether it is intense or less dramatic, any encounter with God can be equally powerful when it is freely shared with others. Serving others and sharing your story with them as you live your life day by day is an expression of worship.
Points to Ponder
• God delights in our unique expressions of worship in response to His revelation.
• God created music and musicians to precede and proclaim His presence, His power, and His Word; and to prepare His people to receive Him.
• God created singers and musicians to be “lead worshipers,” but the pastor is the true worship leader.
• Four key parts of the worship service and one special element of worship can help us to express our worship.
• We worship God by serving Him in our everyday lives with reverence and awe.
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?
Resources used for this class:
• Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for lateuro (Strong’s 3000).” Blue Letter Bible [online]. 19962008 [accessed 26 August 2008]. Available from the Internet: cf.blueletterbible.org.