BE RESTORED IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND
“THE HEART OF WORSHIP”
THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG..
The song dates back to the late 1990s, born from a period of apathy within Matt’s home church, Soul Survivor, in Watford, England. Despite the country’s overall contribution to the current worship revival, Redman’s congregation was struggling to find meaning in its musical outpouring at the time.
“There was a dynamic missing, so the pastor did a pretty brave thing,” he recalls. “He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. His point was that we’d lost our way in worship, and the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.”
Reminding his church family to be producers in worship, not just consumers, the pastor, Mike Pilavachi, asked, “When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?”
Matt says the question initially led to some embarrassing silence, but eventually people broke into a cappella songs and heartfelt prayers, encountering God in a fresh way.
“Before long, we reintroduced the musicians and sound system, as we’d gained a new perspective that worship is all about Jesus, and He commands a response in the depths of our souls no matter what the circumstance and setting. ‘The Heart of Worship’ simply describes what occurred.”
(“Crosswalk” talking to Matt Redman in 2004)
In an interview in Singapore in 2014 Matt Redman added this: that his pastor, Mike Pilavachi declared to him that when it came to worship “we had lost the plot” – it had become all about “style…how loud is it, how quiet is it; do I like that song, do I not like that song; people judging ‘I like that worship leader but not that one’; people were becoming consumers, rather than bringing an offering”. So, as a church, they decided to “pack away all the instruments” and just brought their Bibles and were encouraged to ask God “what can I bring as my offering today?”
Maybe we need to consider whether we need to be renewed in our thinking about our relationship with God – only when we know our relationship with Him will we be restored to the place where we should be and be able to fulfil His command to rebuild the church in this land.
RENEW, RESTORE AND REBUILD
Part of our “Vision 2022” is a call for our lives to be renewed – to be made what we were always meant to be; for us to be restored to our position in relationship with God that we were always meant to hold; so that we can be in a fit state to rebuild the Church in this nation to be what it was always meant to be.
TIME FOR A NEW METAPHOR: CHILD OF GOD
There is an amazing privilege that we have with Almighty God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, the One who not only made but also holds together the whole universe in all its immensity, the author and finisher of all life…and that is that we are called “children of God” who are able to cry out “Abba! Father” – “Daddy!” You are a child of God. He sees you as a little child that is deeply loved with a complete and never-ending love. God is our Father, and He has made us His own, and He delights in us and has brought us into His family forever and ever and ever. One of my favourite spiritual pictures is of God the Father carrying a photo, just of me, in His wallet next to His heart; pulling it out and saying “this is Peter, he’s my child, and I love him”.
CAST OUT THE LIES AND BRING IN THE TRUTH – RENEW YOUR MIND WITH IT!
We know who is the “father of lies”. We are not unaware of his plans. His name is the devil and he has been a deceiver since the beginning.
His strategies have included persuading mankind, by whispering in his ears, that you can get to heaven by being good. Lie! Also, that if you live your life in a certain way, performing certain rituals, speaking certain words, then you will be allowed entrance into Glory. Lie! Also, that if you are obedient to all His commands, only then will you be welcomed into Paradise. Lie! Also, that if you make sacrifices in your life, and give all you have to the poor, and go to church every Sunday, and never swear, and never sin, then you earn Eternal Life. Lie!
None of us can ever achieve all this! We are human. We are fallible. We are so easily tempted and so easily fall. And the devil whispers to us the lie that we are therefore not good enough for Eternity. Lie!
And so we fall easily into legalism. Live a certain way, talk a certain way, obey all the rules, make all the sacrifices. And the world rightly looks on such legalistic lifestyles as miserable, judgmental, overbearing, unforgiving….
The call today is to be restored to the relationship with God that He has always desired to have with us.
God hates legalism!
Simply hear what the Bible says about it:
Hosea 6: 6 – “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings”
Psalm 51: 16-17 – “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Isaiah 1: 11 – “‘The multitude of your sacrifices – what are they to me?’ says the Lord.
‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats’”
1 Samuel 15: 22 – “’Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams’”
And then, finally, we have the words of the writer to the Hebrews (chapter 10 verses 4-10) who explains WHY legalism is not of any avail –
4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, “Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, my God.”’ 8 First he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them’– though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, ‘Here I am, I have come to do your will.’ He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Legalism does NOT secure us a place in Heaven. Accepting the sacrifice of Jesus who died in our place DOES!
Legalism does NOT save. Relationship with God DOES.
Listen to what Jesus said to His beloved disciples (which means me and you!) in John chapter 15 –
9 ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: love each other.
It is not KNOWING ABOUT God (through study of the Bible) that saves you.
It is not OBEYING God (through obedience to the Law) that saves you.
It is not SERVING God (through all of our good works) that saves you.
It is KNOWING God that saves you – and this is through relationship with Him. Listen to Him, hear Him through His Word; keep your eyes fixed upon Him; be filled with His Spirit; like the Prodigal Son, just come back to Him and throw yourself upon His mercy
WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO TO RESTORE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM?
In Matthew 11: 28-30 Jesus says:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Legalism says “do…and He might look down on you with favour”. Jesus says “come to me”. That’s it! It’s as simple as that. Like the children of God that we are, we simply come to “Abba Father” – daddy – and He will be with us, and give us rest and peace and hope and comfort and strength.
And how will we know Him? He will teach us (verse 29). He will teach us about Himself; and, as the UCB Word for Today (11 June 22) tells us, He is saying:
‘Let me teach you how to handle your money, your marriage, and your mood swings. Let me teach you how to live the right way on earth, and how to go to heaven when you die.’
THIS is going back to the Heart of Worship!
WHAT DOES THE HEART OF WORSHIP LOOK LIKE?
Let’s look at the very words of Jesus when He gave us what has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6, as I believe that the first part of it (verses 9 and 10) clearly shows us the relationship that God offers us:
‘“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
- Let us cry out “Father! Daddy!” and enjoy being His children.
- But let us also come before Him with fear and trembling as we worship Him in His Holiness, His awesomeness, His almighty power.
- Let us always long for His Kingdom and seek to bring His Kingdom culture to the earth.
- Let us live out His will – serving Him and obeying Him in all things. In this, I find 1 John 2 verse 3 helpful:
“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands”.
That’s clear, isn’t it. Keeping His commands shows we know Him – we are in relationship with Him. But, doesn’t that sound a bit like the legalism that we are trying to get away from? No! Legalism is that we have to obey in order to be accepted. The wonderful declaration of John here (in verse 1) is:
“if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One”
We will sin – it is common to man – but rather than legalism (which says that we will therefore be in a real mess) we are given the reassurance that Jesus will speak up on our behalf before the Father and we shall be forgiven. We will obey because we want to follow Him. That is coming back to the Heart of Worship.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
God wants to restore our relationship with Him – through getting to know Him, listening to Him, looking at Him, talking with Him, singing to Him – getting “back to the Heart of Worship” with Him.
Let your mind be renewed with this truth – God is love and He loves you!
And WHEN you have this personal, wonderful, relationship with God…THEN you will want to know more about Him (and so will study the Bible and read it over and over again); THEN you will want to be obedient to Him (obey His good commandments); THEN you will want to serve Him with all your heart. But this will all come out of a relationship with Him and not out of legalistic duty to Him.
Let you mind be renewed and seek to be restored in your relationship with Him.
And so we have an either/or choice: God is calling us back into a renewed relationship with Him as we enter this time of rebuilding. He wishes to restore us to the place with Him that He always wanted us to be. Are you going to seek to do this yourself with a legalistic approach of “if I do the right things then I will be right with Him”, or are you going to “get back to the heart of worship” and bring Him your heart, your soul, your all…in quietness and reverence?