Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 20

Biblical Worship

The Church needs you to present what Scripture says, not your own ideas. Worship means to kneel before someone out of respect or honor. We owe it to God as an act of service to sit at his feet and worship him. Spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God’s disposal. Are we leading people to worship God, or just providing religious goods and services to them? Solid biblical teaching is important. Structure follows purpose. We are failing to dig down into the revelation of God and let the revelation of God set the compass. If you are not careful, your program sets your agenda.

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 20
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Biblical Worship

Biblical Worship

I. Worship

A. Definition of worship

B. Service that we owe to God

C. Priorities

D. Four obstacles to leadership in true worship

1. Numbers trump worship

2. Self-Exaltation is substituted for God

3. Lack of participation in the worship service

4. Glorifying God seems to take second place to addressing human need

II. Joyful Self-Forgetfulness

III. Questions and Answers

A. Why do so many churches not focus on worship in a biblical way?

B. How does leadership structure and financial obligations affect these issues?

All Lessons
Class Resources
  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • Christian activism is Christians seeking to be involved in the issues and needs of the day and time. Wesleyans in the 1700's in England sought to minister to people that others didn’t care about. To be called by Christ is to be called into the body of Christ. A biblical model is that every member is a full-fledged minister of the gospel without distinction between clergy and laity. 

  • Mysticism can be described as the direct communication of your spirit with the Divine Spirit as taught and illustrated in the New Testament as a fundamental part of Christian belief. Receptivity means that I am open to what the Lord is saying to me through the revelation of his word, the magnificence of his son and the voice of his Spirit which is consistent with the written word. The church was emphasizing what they were doing for God rather than on first listening to what God wants us to be and then acting. Union with our Lord must come before any type of donation or work (kenosis) for our Lord. (Download the complete text of the sermon by clicking on the link on this page or under the Downloads heading on the class page.)

  • Which do you love more, the Lord or the projects you are doing for him? Is your goal to exalt the Lord or build a personal kingdom? Essence of anxiety is whether or not you can trust God. The question to ask when you begin having feelings of self-pity is, “Is you life going to be defined by how you think it ought to go?”  The blame-shame mindset is that you are unhappy because there is something wrong with the people around you. When you experience these red flags in your ministry, you should recognize it as time that it’s possible that the Lord may be prompting you to make a change in your life.The Mary in you must rest at the feet of Jesus if the Martha in you is to do her work.

  • Essence is who the Lord has created you to be. Biblically, essence precedes existence as oppose to Sartre's teaching that man is no more than what he makes of himself. God has given us the capacity of reception, to be able to hear God’s voice and follow it. The spiritual life that God calls you to live is based on what you receive from God, not on what you do for God.

  • How do you determine if your motives are right in your efforts to serve God? The more gifts and talents we have, the more susceptible we are to self-deception regarding our motives. Resist the urge to make pleasing people your primary motivation. You will never please everyone and in the process you lose sight of focusing on pleasing God. When people have expectations of you that don’t match what God has called you to do, there are times when you must, “let Lazarus die.”

  • God wants us to be faithful to the kingdom and his son and fruitful according to his metrics. What’s the goal and what condition do our hearts need to be in to understand the goal? The Mary in us needs to rest at the feet of Jesus in order for the Martha in us to do her work. Think about when you experienced renewal and think about when you were blessed. When you have received God’s blessing, how has that resulted in demonstrating his hand of mercy to someone else? How are your activities balanced?

  • A canal simultaneously pours out what it receives. A reservoir waits till it’s filled then discharges water without loss to itself. Today, there are many in God’s church that act like canals. The reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom heavenly doctrine flows that they want to pour it forth to us before they have been filled. They are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves. High mountain lakes have one stream out and water level relatively constant throughout the year. How is the water level staying constant in your life? Depletion results in erosion of presence, and results in just going through the motions. 

  • The Lord desires that we live dispositionally. Important elements include loving God, living devotionally, relational strengthening, vocational serving (listening with the intent of following what I hear). Dallas Willard wrote, “If I am a disciple of Jesus, I am with him to learn from him, how to be like him." The primary calling of a pastor is to follow Jesus, within the calling of leading a church. 

  • The eight deadly sins are in the order that Satan uses to try to get us and in the order in which we need redemption. Gormandize means you are overdoing it and being a slave to flesh. Fornication refers to a wandering heart and seeking to devour others. Avarice is the love of money and sometimes is a fear of not having enough. Anger is a rancorous spirit. The spiritual cancer of depreciation is looking at the vast horizon of God’s goodness in his creation and my life and depreciating it, only seeing what’s wrong. Psalm 51:10-12, create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

  • When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing? How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you? What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

  • The sin of acedia is, “I don’t care anymore.” The sin of tristitia is sadness, wrongly processing suffering and loss, allowing the soul to close in on itself and refuse instruction from God. Tristitia is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances. Satan wants to get us off the track in stupid presumption or in sinful carelessnenss. God redeems the hurt that evil has done.

  • In the early church passion was seen as something that controlled you and out of control and leading you astray, not a positive motivation. John Cassion described vainglory as passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. The danger is that we take credit for what God is doing. In pursuit of being popular, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Pride is the original vice from which all others spring. Pride can develop into functioning atheism. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our heart. 

  • Is there a sin that's not deadly? To what extent can you worry about something before it becomes a sin? What does it take to overcome gluttony? The minute you make an exception for yourself, you either presume on the grace of God or break a known law of God. Admit what you are feeling and submit it to God to have faith in him in the situation, then do your part.

  • Instead of gluttony, we see temperance. Temperance means living a balanced life. Chaste love is extending love to others, not preying on them. Poverty of spirit rather than greed. Cultivate meekness to deal with anger. You have been forgiven much so you should be willing to forgive others much. Cultivate faith, hope and love to deal with hopelessness. Cultivate humility to deal with vainglory. Evangelism in the first 300 years a result of the quality of the lives of disciples as they lived in a hostile environment. 

  • A transcendent crisis is yearning for the “more than.” “Is life meaningful?” “Is God good?” Can I trust my life to God or have I been abandoned by God? An idolatry crisis happens when you run after a passion rather than pursue God. Each person in your sphere of influence is going through crises in their own lives. God can use a crisis to help something in us die so we can experience and share the light of Christ.

  • To feed the 5,000, the disciples had to rely on Jesus because they didn’t have the resources. Jesus walked out on the water to comfort the disciples with his presence. The disciples thought they were going to die a terrible death. If you choose to think your situation, the church and others are hopeless, it results in ego desperation, or hopelessness. You see what’s wrong, you think you have exhausted your resources and you see no way that it’s going to get fixed. If you allow the crisis to take you into the life of Christ and dependence on him, it will not destroy you. 

  • It's important for us to understand how our relationship with God is affected by being born at a certain period of time and in a certain society. The vital is the physical dimension of the human life. Vitalism is where your physical pleasures become the priority in your life.  Functional is the roles, tasks and responsibilities we take on. It’s a problem when we allow our roles and responsibilities to define us, which is functionalism. Transcendent is the longing for the “more than.” Pneumatic/Ecclesial level is the capacity the Lord has given each of us to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice. When ambition gets separated from the leading of the Spirit, it can become self-promotion. Functional Transcendence is you using the things of God for self-gain.

  • It's important to keep Christ at the center of who you are. Interiority includes memory, intellect, will. Augustine says will is most important.In addition to our personal thoughts, we exist in community with others who are submitting their lives to the will of Christ. The Lord has placed us in a certain place and time and wants you to live a life of obedience in that context every day, not just one day a week. The Father is seeking to form your life into the image of Christ as you were meant to be. Through our experiences, God forms you into a unique person. On the relational side, this results in compassion for others because we love others with the same love we experienced. God gives us confidence that he has given us the gifts and resources we need to live out the calling he has given us. Competence that our ministry will be effective. Our courage comes from trusting in the strength of the Lord. Community, the work of God’s Church is a work done with others. Confirmation comes internally from God and externally from the community of faith. 

  • If you are following Jesus, you have a role as a leader. If a spiritual leader does not understand what their task is according to scripture, then their spiritual life is not going to have the focus the Lord wants them to have.  Worship is a response of the love that has been shown to us. Worship involves our all aspects of us and is enabled by God’s Spirit. We worship God because of who he is. By looking at Jesus, you see who God is.

  • The Church needs you to present what Scripture says, not your own ideas. Worship means to kneel before someone out of respect or honor. We owe it to God as an act of service to sit at his feet and worship him. Spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God’s disposal. Are we leading people to worship God, or just providing religious goods and services to them? Solid biblical teaching is important. Structure follows purpose. We are failing to dig down into the revelation of God and let the revelation of God set the compass. If you are not careful, your program sets your agenda.

  • Movements in worship: 1. kneeling in acts of loving worship. Kneeling in submission before God to acknowledge that you are dependent on him. 2. Exalting God by declaring his worthiness 3. Receiving God’s life symbolized by the sacrament of communion. 4. Empowers us and encourages us to go out and serve. We participate in the fellowship and life of the Trinity. We need to immerse ourselves in relationship to God and let that inform and empower what we do so that our worship service is more than creating an experience or transmitting information. Be explicit about your purpose in worship and include prayer.

  • The elders fall before the throne, they worship the Lord and they cast their crowns before him. Falling before the throne represents an acknowledging of God as absolute deity. What is going to happen in the future tells us what we should be doing now. When we fall down before the throne, our heart condition is inward humility and submission to the Lord. Then they raise up and exalt the Lord by proclaiming his worth. Inward love results in proclaiming what is right, good, just and holy. Taking of crowns is an outward expression of placing everything we have under the Lordship of Christ and an inward movement of total abandonment of everything we are to God.

  • The call of Jesus to, “follow me” is the call to redirect everything in our lives. A disciple is one who seeks to fulfill the will of the father by actively following Jesus the Son while continually depending on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. Faith is my trust in Jesus as well as the content of the Gospel. Practice is putting it into play. Catechism is the content of the faith, and catechesis is how you express it. Cheap grace is not biblical because it allows for justification without ensuing discipleship. Primary purposes of the church are to proclaim the Gospel, worship and make disciples. In addition to knowing the content, you must live it out. Clergy need to learn how to make and train disciples. Laity must be fully committed full-time ministers of the body of Christ.

  • Movements that are necessary for the church today to fulfill what God is calling them to do. For the clergy, 1. moving from pastor as the primary minister to each believer fulfilling their calling as full-time ministers in their spheres of influence; 2. Moving from preaching only to not only appropriate sermon preparation time but also discipling a core group; 3. Moving from a priority on numbers to staying with a process that results in mature disciples; 4. From solo leadership to team leadership. Discipleship should not be optional. Old Christendom model is breaking down but confusion on who and what we are called to be. “Is my first aim to make disciples, or do I just run an operation?” For the laity, 1. From going to church to being Church; 2. From expecting benefits from Christianity requiring no sustained effort to being intent on being disciples; 3. From being passive observers to full-time ministers. Primary purpose of leader is to equip the people of God to do the work of God.

  • The sermon is a critical part of the discipleship process. The “through” movement is the process of the “from-to” movement. Each of these steps must be contextualized to your situation. We are aiming for maturity in Christ. As a leader, you love the whole but you only disciple the few. Don’t neglect public proclamation but don’t see that as the end of your ministry. Daily pray, read scripture, weekly services, small groups acts of service, fasting, giving. Discipleship is helping people integrate the word of God into their lives.

  • Tozer says we don’t have the right of choosing Jesus as Savior and postponing our obedience. Dispositions are something that’s part of your daily life. Christian disciplines help us to love God and love our neighbor. Encourage people to seek God’s direction for where he wants them to serve. The biblical model is that mature Christians will live as disciplined followers. Make it a goal for pure love to fill your heart and govern your words and actions.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn

Spiritual Life of a Leader


Biblical Worship

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:01] What I would like for us to do now is to take continue to go deeper into the New Testament understanding of worship. Now, once again, why are we going into the New Testament understanding of worship? Here's why pastors, here's why leaders. Please listen. The word sets the agenda of the word sets. Our work is sets our responsibilities. So let's look at it in Scripture. As leaders. You know, this is this is where we get the inspiration for what we do. We're just talking about this at our break. And the fact is, the world does not need pastors. The world does not need your ideas. The world doesn't need my ideas right now. That's not the purpose of the church. The purpose of the church is to unveil the the redemption of God's salvation history. The purpose of the church is to demonstrate who God is, who we are, where our place is, who we are to serve, and how we are to live in love and worship in Scripture. The term worship means to kneel before another out of respect and honor. It's this wonderful Greek word, Prosecco now. And it's found 59 times, if I count it right. If I got the right resource on that, at least in one form of that verb, it's found 59 times in the New Testament. That's that's fairly major. So you'll see, for instance, when the disciples saw Jesus for the first time after the resurrection, Matthew says, in Matthew 28 nine, they took hold of his feet and they worshiped him. They literally bowed down. I was preaching one time in a congregation I looked at in the congregation and there was a lady on her knees bowing down before me, waving, and I heard Jesus say, Me, we don't know how down before any pastor, you know, it it it was a it took me off guard.


[00:02:49] Now I know what she was doing. She was worshiping in honor, honoring God. But pastors, we need to be really careful here. That's that's that's something we need to make sure is well directed. So this type of worship now we want to understand we've got to be really clear. This type of worship only goes to God. Nothing else. Nothing else. No one else. No person, no thing, no event, none of that. We worship only the living God away with you, Satan, Jesus, once again, for it is written. Worship the Lord your God and serve only Him. Now there's a second New Testament verb. It's called La TRO, and it implies service that we owe to God. You think that's. How does that tie in to worse? Well, we'll just listen. So in the song of Zachariah, as quoted in Luke's Gospel, we read that God has shown mercy upon us so that we been rescued from the hands of our enemies in Luke 174 and 75 might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him. All the days, all our days. So this word serve. It means our religious responsibility to minister to God by worshiping him. Since we belong to God and we've been redeemed by Christ and filled with His Spirit. It's proper to understand our lives in terms of serving God. How do we serve him? We serve him by worshiping him. By loving him. Now, where does this break down in leaders lives? I'll tell you where it breaks down in leaders lives. He breaks down when a leader of God's people. Spend 60, 70, 80, sometimes 90 hours a week. Busy, busy, busy, busy. Then their life starts to come unhinged and all sorts of negative things begin to unfold.


[00:05:19] And then you go in, you talk with them, you sit down with them, you love them, and you ask a simple question How much time are you literally spending in terms of receiving God's love? Remember all those things we've talked about earlier, all the streams of mercy coming into their lives, and inevitably you'll hear these words. Not much. Not much. Not much. Listen, we owe it to God. To sit at his feet with Mary. This is our service as leaders. So it's our true worship. The author of Hebrews gives an excellent understanding of this movement of service by writing this. Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us give thanks. Let us give thanks by which we offer to God what an acceptable worship. Well, that term for worship there is service with reverence and ah, it's my duty. It's my responsibility to worship the living God. And we see much of the same type of instruction regarding worship in Romans 12 one, where Paul writes, What wrote what you say? I appeal to you, therefore, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as what you know it. You remember a living sacrifice. You'll know the word. I'm very impressed. A living sacrifice wholly and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship list of leaders. How can we stand before the people of God without having having you know, let me put it another one. As leaders, we've got to eat what we sell, get it as as leaders. We've got to literally ingest what we're giving to others In the greatest one of the greatest issues for any leader of God is is to have this stuff at work in your own life. So I appeal to you.


[00:07:38] I appeal to you. So spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God's disposal. You know, this is not, you know, dualism is kind of still alive and thriving. Do a little spiritual stuff on Sunday and then go live like hell during the week. No, I'm so sorry. It does not work like that. And so you as a leader have got to bring your people to realize this is a whole in a whole thing. So my body is presenting to God in worse. Of course, all of this is based, you know, an appalling thought on the mercies of God giving to us. So. Living, sacrifice. Living, sacrifice. What a great privilege that all that we are. Everything that we possess. It's. It's the Lord's. It belongs to him. And we offer this type of worship daily. All that I have. All that I have. Lord, it's at your disposal. So there's movements here. Movements. And and, you know, we've been so burned by some parts of the church that we're now afraid to enter into the movements. Movements of bowing hearts. It's all right about bodies and and lives as well before a holy God present, presenting the totality of our lives in worship and service and sacrifice. What are we doing now? Keep in mind we're responding to the majesty and the goodness of God through returning love to Him. He loves us. Rather than taking that love and curving it back on ourselves, we return that love to him. And then as we're going to see, we return that love to others. I love what isn't right. Great New Testament theologian says about this worship into right road is nothing more or less than love on its knees. Don't see like that.


[00:10:01] Love on its knees before the beloved. Love on its knees. Before the beloved. But what do we have today? And here my heart is saddened by what we have today through again, through my interaction with hundreds of congregations. And through speaking with and trying to crack into the actual mindset of contemporary leaders, both in mainline and in various evangelical denominations. Here's what we found. We found a lot of good people with good hearts who are seeking to faithfully serve the Lord, a lot of good people. But at the same time, we're observing alarming numbers of leaders who are following hard after directives that are not necessarily aligned with classical Christianity. Especially when it comes to public worship. There's Tim Killer coming in. In his book Center Church doing Balanced Gospel Synod ministry in your city, Tim Keller commented, There is a great there's a sense that what he wrote that religion exists to provide spiritual goods that meet individual spiritual needs for freedom from guilt in bondage. End quote. Some of you are immediately Sue. What's wrong with that? All right. It's a byproduct. It's a byproduct. We'll understand. Yeah, we. We do get freedom, But if you put that up front, is the primary reason why you're in worse shape. And if your leadership centers around that, then you're short circuiting the whole thing. Now, let me explain it and let me unfold. So stay with me on this. Stay with me. Our purpose is to worship the living God, and he'll produce all sorts of fruit. But if you invert that, in other words, if you put meeting needs first as the primary point of worship, do you see how you've upended it? You've inverted the purpose of God. It's a tough issue.


[00:12:51] It's a very, very tough issue. In other words, are you there as a leader to provide a service? I'm not talking about necessarily worship service, but are you there to provide religious goods and services? Are you there to grow an organization? Are you there to promote a cause not of which may the necessarily be bad in and of themselves, but all of which may miss the great point. We believe firmly believe that is that as a leader in the local congregation that we've got to intently review whether we're leading our people into transforming relationships with a living God, where we're leading them to worship God, or whether we're providing religious goods and services to them. Every congregation is going to need to courageously press into this question of whether worship has become commodified. Where you come to get the good things in life. Rather than to offer your life and bow down in love and to honor our living God. We found at least four major obstacles to leadership in true worship. Let me let me go through the first obstacle. Very, very concerned when you get behind the scenes. Now, this is a behind the scenes work with pastoral leaders especially, but also with ministry leaders in different segments within a congregation. We're finding, number one, that numbers trump worship. In other words, the way we count success is by how many, how many sheep or goats are coming in, not by the quality of love and life and worship that is being produced. This will drive leaders. Why? Because numbers of will projected something good is happening there. Are we against numbers? Efforts now in the society is falling apart. We ask the Lord to bring in the harvest. We ask. We want numbers.


[00:15:32] Numbers represent living people in souls. But when that leads the charge, then there's a deep cancer, a spiritual cancer. Then it starts eating in the organization. Second thing that we're finding as an obstacle to worship. And it's a very dangerous thing for you as a leader. And we pray you've got courage to confront this and allow it to be confronted. And it's this self exaltation is substituted for God, exaltation. This can happen through deeply gifted people. It can happen in worship where the worship leader. Profoundly gifted human being starts drawing people into his or her giftedness, starts taking honor the worship leaders invisible. The worship leader points beyond herself, points beyond himself or the gifted puppeteer the gifted speaker. Where where the speaker starts drawing people into, you know, the gifts that he's got in his life or the she's got in her life. Now, we are to point beyond ourselves, you know, what are what are we who are we exalting here? What what is the point here? All of us, sheep and shepherds alike, are called to worship and adore the LAMB of God and to remember not to us or not to us give glory. Psalm 115 now. Remember, sometimes in leadership, people who have a need to be needed are drawn into pastoral leadership. And so this idea of standing before people becomes paramount for you, that's what defines your life. Know for us as leaders, what defines our life is leading people to worship the living God. Thirdly, we're deeply, deeply alarmed at the lack of participation that we are seeing in contemporary evangelical worship services. Lack of participation literally voids the call to worship with all that we are now. Of course, there are exceptions to this. There are some amazing exceptions to this, but in many, many locations people come to worship with no expectation of significant involvement whatsoever.


[00:18:31] They sit there, they just sit there. There's nothing there. They're not throwing their lives into worship. They're not being led to worship the living God. They're not being led to exalt God to lift his name higher. We'll look at some of the actions that that the word of God calls this to listen. This is this is not a spectator sport. This is full participation in the body of Christ. Then fourthly, we're very concerned about how glorifying God seems to take second place to addressing human need. You say, Well, how mean and cruel. If the Lord God himself, we know that Jesus spent an immense amount of time addressing human need in bringing healing to the people. We're not denying that at all. We're not denying that we should be involved in the healing ministry of Christ. What we're saying is, is that the primacy of worship is ascribing worth and praise to God. And meeting needs is a result will flow from that. So, you know, any time we move into the very presence of God, he's free to address the whole spectrum of human collapse and hurt. But when the major attempt of worship is reduced to making people feel better about themselves. Or to meeting pressing needs in their lives. Then the spirit is literally hindered in bringing about the full redemption that God has for them as God is exalted and thanked and praised and worshiped. Then our lives are linked to Him in such a way that he's able to bring his healing and his flowing love into us. Decades ago, decades ago, a man, a worship expert by the name of Robert Webber. He's in the kingdom, too. But Robert Webber said this We need to let go of our intellectual ideas of worship and realize there's more to worship than a sermon.


[00:21:07] He doesn't. It's not. Don't. Don't get all upset here. He's not denouncing the sermon either in mine. But there's more to worship than a sermon. We have to let go of our evangelistic notion of worship and reckon with the fact that worship is not primarily directed toward the sinners who need to be converted. We must let go of our entertainment expert expectations and remind ourselves that we are not in church to watch a Christian variety show out. What am I saying? It's absence of clarity. Absence of clarity and leadership. That's what we're addressing here. And that's a spiritual issue. That's a major issue in the spiritual life of any leader. What is it? Do it clouds your hearts. Your compass is not set. In fact, the compass may even be set by the values of society or by the values of what? Of contemporary, more populist ideas. Even in Christendom, say this is how you ought to do church. And we get values that are based more out of a fallen culture, even a fallen culture within the church itself rather than out of scripture. And so we get hijacked. Our leadership gets hijacked. Now, at this point, Christianity at this point in in in worldwide Christianity, you know, there's there's an important issue regarding worship, the biblical call to love and adore Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a call to lift in praise the Trinity, not our selves. As such, many of us have got to learn for the first time the very true nature of worship. And we're going to have to repent of how we've neglected this and how we've lost our way. Listen, I've got to be honest here and say I've been guilty of doing everything we've talked about.


[00:23:32] You know, I don't I don't want to be anything other than completely transparent. But I also need to press on the concern here. Our concern is that in large swaths across the church today, we find very clear evidence that we're missing the mark of why the church is there to begin with. I think we need to hear again the call of Scripture. Psalm 95 gives us a very clear call O.carm. Let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker, for He is our God and we are His people, the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hands. And we need to hear the warning from Psalm 95 is Well, oh, that today you would listen to his voice. Do not harden your hearts as that mirrorball. Don't do that. So in worship, our hearts are set on loving God and on exalting him. Jesus taught us through his own personal example to honor both the Father and himself. Because we worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You see it in John 519 through 23. And in honoring God, we turn away from false worship that can get us so quickly. Now, let me be clear here. Let me let me be very, very clear here. Again, we're not saying that numbers do not count for the Lord. They do. They absolutely do. Every person is counted as sacred in the eyes of God and worthy of the redemption of Jesus. We believe that the redemption of Jesus is universal for all. Not all. Except not all. Except. But all are invited. Nor are we proposing that anything positive response in worship. No, that's good. We want positive responses in worship. As long as you're not preaching and teaching just for the praise.


[00:25:57] Okay? Just so long as you get that straight. Sometimes you're going to be right over Target when you get some pretty serious missiles coming at you. It's just going to show, you know what, I'm hitting on an area where the Holy Spirit strand of work. Most of all, I am not saying at all that the Word of God should be minimized in worship. No way. If anything, we need to. We need to up the game significantly. Another issue we found is, is the lack of strong expository exegetical preaching and spirit anointed messages that powerfully proclaim his word. We want that. We want that. And most assuredly, I'm not saying we shouldn't address the needs of human beings. They should robustly be addressed. But I love what my buddy in Singapore says. Bishop Robert Solomon says this We come into God's presence to remember who he is and what he has done for us. Psalm 107 22 Bishop Solomon wrote We come to celebrate his presence in our lives, to thank him for all he is and does, and to express our love to him and our love for him from the beginning to the end. Bishop Solomon writes The worship service should be grounded in our relationship with God and therefore should be characterized by the joy that comes from it. Now, let me wrap this section of real quick. In worshiping in the worshiping community as in as well as in our own private adoration of God. There's an important aspect of joyful self forgetfulness that unfolds and that really this self forgetfulness needs to reverberate in the body of Christ. While we thank God for all that is accomplished for us in Christ, in worse, if we do not approach the Trinity with self interest in mind.


[00:28:23] Now hear me, because this is a major issue in the church today. Just fly back now to the previous teaching sessions on functional transcendence, where I'm approaching God for what's in it for me, really in the truest sense of worship. I'm not approaching God with self-interest in mind. God, listen to me, Church. Listen to me. God is not there to give us the best imaginable things that we can dream of, including a plush life that just doesn't fly. Scripturally he's not there to enhance everything about us, though he will bless us in ways we can't even imagine. Like Paul in Philippians three, 13 and 14, we forget what lies behind, and we strain forward to the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus, therefore refusing to use God for selfish interests, in refusing to use the people of God to promote ourselves. We acknowledge with Evelyn Underhill, great dear old English saint died in the early 1940s. Evelyn Underhill wrote Worship is essentially disinterested. It means only God. Only God. Listen, there's a proper place for prayers of petition that seek God for genuine needs. There's a proper place in the worship service. Early church. When they came together, I mean, they spent a huge amount of time praying, and they prayed for needs. But it was a secondary thing. And Christian worship, we're always remember, there's only one object of adoration and praise, and that is God and God alone. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Let us set our hearts on the one God and true worship of Him. A man, a man. Now questions, clarifications. What's turning in your heart and in your mind now? I had a couple of follow ups and I may be anticipating a later talk. So if I am, let me know.


[00:30:49] Sure. Number one is just I remember hearing worship pastors say that worship is for the audience of one. I'm assuming that you love that. Yeah. That's such a good. Love it. Worship is for an audience of one and love that. All right. So. So like that. Yeah. Yeah. EDIT You've covered the theology here for I think it was concerns. Let me ask a real practical question. Why is there such a huge resistance to what I think is the obvious teaching on biblical worship? Why did why do so many churches not do this? Why are so many seeming to be intent on functional transcendence instead of transcendent functionalism? I think probably you have even better insights than I do here. And I don't I don't I want to honor that. Truly honor that. I don't think we're being taught. I mean, that's one one response I have. Who's teaching this now? Another part of it is our models. Listen, as a leader. I hope you leaders are listening to this. It's really, really important who you model, Who's your heroes, You know, where where's the team killers in your life? Who are the solid biblical people that are there, that are grounded? So I want to know, you know, And what are you. What are you chasing after? What? What's what's what's driving all of this? If if it's all about building a bigger audience, it's all about the crowd. Then there's going to be directives leading you. And then finally I say, You know why? Why? Why are we not grounding ourselves in the Word of God? Why? I tell you, I've got other there's there's even bigger issues here. Let's go back at the time of the Reformation. Well, at the time of the Reformation, the word of God had been neglected for centuries.


[00:33:30] And, you know, it was really, really, really important at the time of the Reformation for the sermon to start taking the primary place in the worship service, because this is where you learn. This is where you teach in. And boy, when you read about the daily schedules of some of the preachers, both the great ones we know, and I'm including John Wesley is part of the Reformation. He was he was later on. But I mean, he's he's in this as well. He's definitely trying to reform. When you look at their schedules, they're preaching, you know, throughout their preaching daily. Huge, huge, huge. We needed to exalt the sermon. And the sermon today needs to have its right place, solid, solid, solid biblical teaching. I mean, why do I want to go to some place where I'm hearing what somebody thinks rather than the mind of God or the mind of Christ as Paul would talk. But I think many of us and I have to confess it to my own self when I got out of seminary, and I cannot blame my seminary for this at all. I blame myself. When I got out of seminary, I swallowed the contemporary evangelical thought of the day, and that was my primary job as a leader, was to preach great sermons. If I would do that, people will come, would come from all all over. And and I just didn't have to worry about anything else. Well, do you see that's a partial truce. I didn't really have my composite. Now, again, please don't. Don't be throwing rocks at me here. I am not devaluing the word of God at all. If anything, I want to see the sermon take a stronger place. A much stronger place in evangelical Christianity today.


[00:35:37] So hear me out now. But I'm telling you, the primary purpose of why you're in that worship service is not to meet human needs. It's not even to preach a sermon. Primary purpose is to worship the living God and to hear from the living God through his word. And then as we're going to see, as we go on to receive his goodness through his gifts of love. Anyway, thank you. Other clarifying questions we've got. This may be a larger issue. Sure. Most of them are. What is the. Addressing the last question about some of the reasons why. And you named several obstacles. Yeah. And I think those are it seems like many of those obstacles were from your surveys and observations. Yes. Behind those, the structure of modern churches, the leadership structure. The financial obligations and how to meet those. Can you say a word or two about that? I feel that they're behind that, but I don't wouldn't know what to do in my own situation. Yes, Kim. And of course, the question is actually a whole three hour graduate school class response. But here's the short here's the short word on this. Structure follows. Purpose. And in this makes your question really, really critical for the spiritual life of leaders today. In fact, this question is going to back a whole lot of us up against a wall. What we tend to do is invert it and let contemporary structure determine purpose. Luke, Luther and others were really, really clear. The church is always in need of reformation, always in need of reformation and. Just think about it. Let me give you a living illustration. If you start out. From England. Coming to the United States. And on your campus. So do you know do you know how many points are on the campus all the way around? How many points are on a campus? You're you're asking an engineer to specify and point out that campus bus novices will say 360, 360 points on the campus or degree.


[00:38:55] Sorry, there's 360 degrees from my wording. Three off. There's 360 degrees if you're off one degree, just one degree. I think it's something like 60 for every 100 miles or 60 miles off. Anyway, you're going to miss where you want to land by thousands of miles. Literally the houses. And so there's there's the word. We're we're always bringing this back. We're always resetting. You know, we're always getting getting the compass, getting the airplane or the boat back in alignment with the compass. So it's what what see, what we're failing to do today is we're failing to dig down into the revelation of God and allow the revelation of God to set the compass. And then you get bricks and mortars and you get programmatic approaches to ministry. And all of that takes money and all of that takes time and energy. And before you know it, the program itself sets the agenda now, and it's really easy to talk about that. And indeed, literally, I've got a three hour class on answering the question. So it's a whole week that the part of the responses we are called to transform systems. The real issue is how do you do it without blowing them up along the way and destroying people's lives and destroying yourself? It can be done. And we're going to slide in a little bit of this as we go further into our leadership today, but that's the answer. Purpose function Inform follow of Forum follows purpose. You know, I've got to sit what my form is, and that's the courage that leaders have got to take on today. That's the courage that elder boards and and others have got to take on leadership bodies. They've got to have the courage to say, you know, this isn't about my vision.


[00:41:21] This is about God's vision for his church. What is it? What is this? So thank you.