In this series we will study Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy, who was pastoring the church in the city of Ephesus. We will specifically key in on applications and lessons that apply to worship ministry and worship leaders. Today we will look at responding to the Gospel in worship.
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ mightdemonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:15-17
KNOW THE GOSPEL
It’s a sad fact that there are far too many Christians who cannot easily and accurately articulate the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus. Here Paul has a simplified but not simplistic expression of the Gospel: Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.
In many churches, after the pastor, there is not a more visible or influential person than the worship leader. Whether you know it or not, you teach and preach to the church with the songs you choose and the prayers you pray. The challenge to us is to know the Bible, to make it part of our core, the fabric of our being, because it’s the very words of life. Specifically, above all else, we need to know the Gospel. Jesus is the beginning, middle and the end of the Bible. He is the whole point of the story, and we should be able to clearly, and simply articulate Jesus’ gospel message to others. Everything else I’m going to write will not matter if this 1st point isn’t true for us.
How can we know the gospel in the way I’ve describe?
1st, Paul knew who Jesus was.
2nd, Paul knew who he was. Both of these things had been revealed to him by direct revelation from Jesus himself. When we come to faith we see Jesus, and we see ourselves and our need for Jesus! This is one of the reasons I don’t encourage non-believers to be part of church worship bands. How can they lead people to the Jesus that they don’t know themselves?
3rd, Paul knew the word of God, he knew the whole story. Want to know the Gospel? Read the Bible. The whole thing. Study it, know it, master it, because it points us to Jesus.
4th, Paul had to have thought about it. He couldn’t have been this clear and succinct unless he had thought about it and refined his words. Maybe you need to write down what you think the Gospel is, then like a college term paper, you need to write a second or a third draft, until you have a clear expression of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ. Until we can clearly express the story of Jesus to people then we can’t engage fully in our callings as a Christian or a worship leader.
SHARE THE GOSPEL
This may seem like a no brainer. Aren’t all Christians supposed to share their faith? Yes we are (Acts 1), but that’s not what I’m talking about exactly. What I mean in this case is that once you’ve clarified (see above) who Jesus is, who you are, what the Word of God says and what you think about it, that effects what we share during worship. What’s the story you tell in the songs you choose to sing, in the words you choose to pray, in the picture you choose to paint.
The Gospel says:
-God Created The Perfect World
-Humanity fell into sin and the world fell under a curse
-The Rest of the Old Testament is the story of God setting up the scene to come as a Man on a rescue mission.
-Jesus was fully God and fully Man and he dwelled among us (John 1)
-He was crucified at the hands of sinful men and took all the sins of the whole world upon himself
-All who come to faith in Jesus as Lord (his death and resurrection) will be saved (Acts 16:30-31)
-Believers are now called out of this world by God to form his church (1 Corinthians 1:2)
-We are called to be on God’s mission to Bear Witness and Make Disciples of all nations (Acts 1)
-We fulfill God’s mission by the empowering of God The Spirit in our lives (Acts 1)
-We move forward on God’s mission awaiting the coming of our Lord Jesus to establish his Kingdom (Philippians 3:20)
The above is a longer version of the gospel than I would share with a non-believer but it is vital for us as worship leaders. God created the world, God came down, God came after us. Here are some implications I take from this presentation of the gospel message.
-If are singing songs that present us as the initiator, we don’t understand the gospel.
-If our songs focus on us and not what God has done, we miss the gospel. In the same way, if our songs ignore our response to what God has done, we miss the gospel.
-If we aren’t empowered by God the Spirit as worship leaders, then we can’t fully live out the gospel to our Church.
-If God is a creator and we bear his image, shouldn’t we be creative in our expressions of worship?
RESPOND TO THE GOSPEL
What is worship? Worship is a response to God: who he is and what he’s done. Then if we know the gospel personally & share it in our songs and prayers I believe that people will respond in worship. Like the men who walked with Jesus after his resurrection said “did our hearts not burn within us and we walked on the road and he opened the scripture to us?” (Luke 24:32). Why would it be any different now? Won’t the hearts of Christian men and women burn with in them as the gospel preached and the Bible is shared with the church?
Think about our section of 1 Timothy above! Paul recounts the gospel: “Jesus came in the world to save sinners, of whom I was the worst” and then responds with spontaneous praise! “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.