LESSON 3: WORSHIP AND THE WORD
MAIN IDEA: Worship strengthens the Word in us.
As we respond to the revelation of God’s great love by laying down our lives — as we become a living sacrifice — we can always expect resistance. Worship is our response to the revelation of God, and there is a heavenly battle that always centers around worship. That is one reason why worship is such a divisive element in many churches today.
As we saw yesterday in the story of King Jehoshaphat, we are equipped for battle through prayer, fasting, worship, and the Word of God. The battle is won in prayer; our strength and encouragement are found in the presence of the Lord as we worship; and the Word of God is our mighty weapon — the sword of the Spirit — with which we take the offensive:
Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Ephesians 6:17-18
In this lesson we will focus on the powerful combination of worship and the Word of God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
A Powerful Combination
God’s Word and worship are indeed a powerful combination. In worship we both receive the Word of God and strengthen the Word within us. Worship apart from the revelation of the Word (the Living Word and written Word) is incomplete. But worship in response to God’s revelation brings that Word to life in a powerful way. Worship and the Word go hand-in-hand, and this powerful combination is a crucial element in living the abundant life that Jesus promised:
“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10
The world we live in is full of struggles, fears, and temptations. Jesus, the Living Word — the Living Two-Edged Sword — faced them all in the wilderness. He was tempted just as we are in every way, yet He was without sin. His response to the Adversary is our example to follow:
Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.’ ” Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him. Matthew 4:8-11
The battleground was temptation, but the core issue was worship. The Enemy wanted Jesus to worship something other than God, but Jesus drew upon the Word of God within to fight the battle. Do you ever stop to consider how Jesus can truly understand our temptations? Offer a prayer now thanking Him for this aspect of who He is.
Nothing has changed since the time when Jesus was in the wilderness. The Enemy still wants us to worship something other than God — Father, Son, and Spirit — and the answer to this and every other challenge or temptation is still “It is written”! The Word of God is always the answer.
As we have studied previously, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Prayer prepares us for the battle, and worship strengthens the Word that has been deposited in us — often giving us new revelation or understanding of the Word.
Revelation in the Midst of Worship
Have you ever found yourself singing a worship chorus or a great hymn — possibly one you have sung many, many times — and suddenly you recognize another truth of God that had eluded you previously? That is the picture of revelation in the midst of worship.
The song “Praise the Lord,” written by Brown Bannister and Mike Hudson and popularized by The Imperials, is a great example of revelation coming in the midst of worship. You see, every time I sing this song, I’m reminded of so many biblical truths. Just take a look at the insights this one verse brings.
Now Satan is a liar
And he wants to make us think
That we are paupers
When he knows himself
We’re children of the King
So lift up the mighty shield of faith
For the battle has been won
We know that Jesus Christ has risen
So the work’s already done
Praise the Lord,
He can work through those who praise Him,
Praise the Lord
For our God inhabits praise,
Praise the Lord
For the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him
This is the reason we gather as the body of Christ each week — to receive more and more revelation. And this is why we also must “gather within ourselves” daily to receive the Word. Worship is the key. Every time we worship, we strengthen the Word that is in us and open ourselves to receive further revelation as well. And the Word of God never fails as this verse, written by the prophet Isaiah, tells us: “Just as rain and snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without saturating the earth, and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and will prosper in what I send it to do.” Isaiah 55:10
How is it reassuring that God refers only to Himself and His Word in this passage, not to us? What are some ways that you have seen or heard about God’s Word doing what He sends it out to do?
LESSON 3 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?