"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples." Psalm 96:3
What do you think of when you hear the word "worship"? K-Love? Your church's Sunday morning praise team? Classic hymns?
Whatever you think of when you hear the word worship it probably has something to do with music…and rightly so. From the beginning of time music has often been attached to the worship of God. It is said that even Satan himself (before he got expelled from heaven for pride anyway) was the leader of the heavenly worship choir.
What may surprise you is that evangelism is a form or worship as well. Worship directed upwardly is praise (proclaiming to God how holy, just and loving he is.) Worship directed outwardly is evangelism (proclaiming to unbelievers how holy, just and loving God is.)
God is so holy that he is unapproachable by sinful creatures like us. God is so just that we are condemned to die forever because of our sins. God is so loving that he sacrificed his own Son in our place for our sins so that he could adopt us into his family once and for all.
Not only is this the subject of the gospel but of the greatest worship songs ever written. One of my favorites is "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
"When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."
Songs like this make you want to reach up to God in praise and reach out to the lost through evangelism.
From the Old Testament to the New worship and evangelism have been inextricably linked together. You see it with the Psalmist when he called Jewish worshippers to, "Declare his glory among the nations…" It's what Daniel did when he gave God credit for the one who could interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream. It's what a hesitant Jonah did when he preached to the receptive Assyrians about the one true and living God. It's what Paul did when he revealed the identity of "the unknown god" to the philosophers at the Areopagus in Athens.
This brand of worship comes with a certain amount of risk. Great men and women of God throughout history have taken great risks by praising God for his redemptive plan and then proclaiming it to those who don't know him.
In this sense evangelism is worship with skin in the game. Let's be honest, we have nothing to lose proclaiming God's goodness in a room full of singing believers. But we have everything to lose when we proclaim his goodness over coffee with a skeptical family member, neighbor, classmate or co-worker.
God has given me the privilege of preaching at many great churches across the nation and, as a result, I've met some amazing Sunday morning worship leaders. Some of them have privately admitted to me that they have no problem belting out praises to God on Sunday morning but seize up when it comes to sharing Jesus during the week with those they encounter.
What's true of some worship leaders is true of most worshippers. Singing praise songs is easier than sharing the gospel. Both are important forms of worship. The difference between them is risk.
But this brand of worship is worth the risk. It's worth getting mocked or marginalized. When we worship God by sharing the message of his Son to those who don't know him we are seeking to build his heavenly choir with new members. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:15
Whether you are a worshipper or worship leader learn how to share your faith and then do it. If you don't know how then click here. If you do know how then get crackin'.
Sing loudly on Sunday morning with your praise songs. But also belt out the good news with your life and lips everyday to everyone around you.
Let's not just be Sunday morning worshippers! Can I get an "amen"?