Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Did I Worship God Today?

[This entry follows a sermon titled "Here I Am to Worship".  Click on the title to listen to the audio.]

"Worship is recognizing the supreme value in God, such that one's life is consumed with knowing, exalting, and enjoying Him."  This was the definition of worship I gave on Sunday morning.  It's actually an edited definition I heard many years ago, the origin of which I do not know.  In looking at Isaiah 12, we thought first about the reason we worship...our salvation from God.  Second, we thought about the atmosphere of worship...personal and corporate communion.  Finally, we finished with the evangelism of worship...evangelism is worship among the nations.  This third point is the subject of my writing today.

Evangelism is worship.  That's what we claimed.  So, that means that evangelism is an expression of knowing God, exalting God, and enjoying God.  Let's briefly look at all three to see if it holds up.  First, evangelism is an expression of (1) knowing God.  We know Him as the only Creator of the world...the holy Judge to whom all mankind must give an account.  Apart from some kind of intervention, men and women will suffer eternally under the wrath of God.  This we know as we evangelize. 

Second, evangelism is an expression of (2) exalting God.  As we evangelize, we are proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the only way of salvation.  We are exalting Him above all others.  We exalt Him, as the song says, "Above all powers, above all kings.  Above all nature and all created things.  Above all wisdom and all the ways of man...above all kingdoms, above all thrones.  Above all wonders the world has ever known.  Above all wealth and treasures of the earth..."

Finally, evangelism is an expression of (3) enjoying God.  This may be the most difficult to believe because most of us are terrified when faced with an evangelistic opportunity...especially one in which we have to 'make a way' into the conversation.  Yet, once we get through the door and share the gospel, how do we feel?  We typically feel incredible.  Even when the conversation gets shut down, there is a joy in obeying the Lord...in speaking a gospel word to an unbeliever.  I once heard John Piper talk about this joy after evangelism...this feeling of "give me somebody else!"  He said that once, as he was praying for his congregation, he prayed, "Lord, give us the feelings we have after evangelism before the evangelism begins..."

Well, I want to give a brief testimony to this myself.  I do not share to exalt me but to give testimony to the joy that God gives in evangelism...that evangelism is enjoying God.  God ordained an amazing opportunity this morning, as I had breakfast with a friend.  Our waitress noticed we were reading our Bibles, and she began asking all kinds of probing questions on all kinds of topics.  Then, she said it...she uttered the words of an open door.  She said, "None of us is perfect.  You just have to do your best, and that's all you can do."

There it is...my opportunity.  My eyes got big, and I said, "You know...it's a noble thing to do your best, but God says it's not good enough.  He demands perfection."  This led to an explanation of the gospel, an invitation to study the Bible at our church, and a "Two Ways to Live" tract for her to read over.  There's more...as all this was happening, all the waitresses in the diner seemed to make their way over for some portion of the conversation.  Prayerfully, gospel seed was spread in many a heart this morning.

And...how did it feel driving away?  Well, I sure didn't feel good about me...I wasn't proud of me.  If it were up to me, I probably would have eaten my omelet, had a good discussion on Ephesians 5 with my friend, and gone about my day.  I didn't go in with the idea that I would be evangelizing anyone.  Yet, God ordained an appointment with this girl...who knows what her last few weeks have been like?  She just got up and went to work today...not thinking she'd run into a Christian with an open Bible.  Yet, in that moment, God opened her mouth to ask questions and opened mine to answer them.  God opened her up to be interested in what I was saying, and God kept helping me interact with her.

How did it feel driving away?  It felt humbling...it felt convicting to not go in praying for such an opportunity.  However, above all, it felt exhilarating...I was ecstatic...I was oozing with joy in the Lord.  He had graced me with an opportunity to worship Him among the nations today.  When I shared it with our staff this afternoon, how did they respond?  Joy!  As another staff member shared an evangelistic opportunity, what filled the room?  Joy!  I long for these types of moments to be multiplied in my life and to be multiplied in yours as well.  May God give us the boldness to worship Him through evangelism today!