04 Mar 2014 Leader’s Meeting – Kong Hee
You can be in traditional services with mediocre music but yet the presence of God is so thick in that hall.
On the other hand, you can be in a modern contemporary service with the most skilled musicians, singing the latest songs, using the latest technologies in TV, sound and lighting.. But yet the people are stiff, there is no praise, no presence of God.
In Korean churches, the singing is even louder than the music! Korea, seemingly backwards in music, has a greater worship and presence of God.
Have we forgotten what really is worship? That’s why we need to revisit worship.
We can’t mix up service excellence with worship. We can have the most amazing service excellence (best musicians, music, sound and lighting) but yet we are not worshiping.
So what is worship? Stripped down to its basic… Worship is an expression of love. Worship is love responding to love. God places zero emphasis on how we worship.
Worship will change with culture, with age. In the past if you had an organ, you were modern. But now an organ is outdated! The medium changes as time progresses.
But to Him it’s not how we worship, but whom we worship.
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Jn 4:23-24
God is not hard up for admiration or adoration! God is not looking for worship! He has all his angels in heaven worshipping him 24/7, for all eternity. Do our hearts feel what our mouth is proclaiming?
The heart of a worshiper doesn’t need music. Beethoven composed his greatest piece 5th symphony after he became partially deaf. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies.
When he was totally deaf, he composed the 9th symphony. It took him 7 years to write it, as he couldn’t hear what he was composing; he had to feel it. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works of the repertoire of classical music. Among critics, it is almost universally considered to be among Beethoven’s greatest works, and is considered by some to be the greatest piece of music ever written.
It flowed out of his soul. Music was just the medium to express his love inside.
Worship is your love flowing out unreservedly, passionately. Worship is like two lovers coming together. It’s a private intimate thing. When you reach out to God, it’s a very private personal thing. All the lights, sounds, music, are aids to help you get there, but not to replace worship.
16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 1 Cor 6:16-17
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. Jn 4:23
Love him in SPIRIT: it must come from your inner most part of your being, from deep within. You come with all sincerity, with all openness. There is no pretence. You become very vulnerable, you show Jesus who you are.
“Jesus I withhold nothing from you”
In love, there must be no secrets. And at that point, God will reveal himself fully to us. He doesn’t just have love, He IS love. When He loves, He loves wholeheartedly, He holds nothing back. God keeps no secrets.
When we understand that worship is love, then we understand that worship is very very costly. That is why Mary will break her most important possession to wash Jesus’ feet.
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Lk 9:23-24
We are called to take up his cross daily. What cross? Jesus is obviously not talking about a natural cross. It means going beyond the natural. It means you share Jesus’s sufferings.
The cross speaks of:
Love is painful. To love is to suffer. If you don’t want to suffer, then you must never choose to love.
The Cost Of Discipleship
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
To follow Christ, we need to have this attitude of: When I can’t understand, I submit to Your ways. Your ways are higher than our ways. Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
The Father was alive. This was merely a way of saying, let me stay with my father and take care of him until he dies, and then I will follow you. Jesus said in effect, “Let the spiritually dead take care of their own, you follow me NOW.” We can see that there are those who say they want to follow the Lord, but first they want to remain with the spiritually dying denominations which have fathered them until they feel their usefulness there has been completed. But Jesus is saying, let the spiritually dead take care of the spiritually dying denominations, YOU FOLLOW ME. He wants us to leave that which is dying and forsake all to follow Him.
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
“Let me first say goodbye”… Jesus knew that this guy wasn’t just going to say goodbye, but that he was constantly looking back. His mindset was not forward looking. If we can’t surrender our will to God, then we can’t love him. Our love is shallow.
True love is very very costly. Surrendering to God’s will is very painful. You have to put your personal agendas aside, you get rejected by the world. There will be intense spiritual warfare. Obedience to the point of suffering is excruciating.
No ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘maybe’. Just whole submission. That’s why the purest worship comes out from a trial, from a suffering.