STUDY THREE: LIFESTYLE WORSHIP IN THE BIBLE
© Rosemary Bardsley 2007,2013
The God we believe in is worthy of our worship. We have seen this in the previous study where we looked at corporate worship. In addition to the corporate and verbal worship of the believing community the Bible exhorts those who believe in God to worship him – to demonstrate his worth and his glory – in the way they live their daily lives.
In Romans 12:1 Paul wrote: ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship’. The last clause is rendered ‘your reasonable service’ [KJV] and ‘the true worship you should offer’ [GNB].
A. PERSPECTIVES ON LIFESTYLE WORSHIP
A.1 Perspective from John Piper
‘So you can see what is happening in the New Testament. Worship is being significantly deinstitutionalized, delocalized, de-externalized. The whole thrust is being taken off of ceremony and seasons and places and forms and is being shifted to what is happening in the heart – not just on Sunday but every day and all the time in life.
‘This is what it means when we read things like, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). And ‘whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 317). This is the central New Testament action of worship: to act in a way that reflects the glory of God – to do a thing in the name of Jesus with thanks to God. But the New Testament uses those greatest of all worship sentences without any reference to Sunday worship services. They describe life.’ [John Piper Brothers, we are not professionals’ p232].
A.2 Persepctive from John Calvin
Commenting on Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 6:19, Calvin states:
‘Now the great thing is this: we are consecrated and dedicated to God in order that we may thereafter think, speak, meditate, and do, nothing except to his glory. For a sacred thing may not be applied to profane uses without marked injury to him. … We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours.
‘Conversely, we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God’s: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God’s: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal… [Institutes of the Christian Religion III.VII.1]
A.3 Perspective from Jerry Bridges
Jerry Bridges has written a book titled I Give You Glory O God that helps the reader to focus on five aspects of worship as a way of life. I have listed below the section titles, the chapter titles and scriptures referred to in those chapters. [Some of the scripture references express the contrasting opposite of the point Bridges is making; some express examples of people who expressed the truth he is teaching.] We could all do well to meditate on these concepts and these verses.
Delighting in God - Psalm 27:4; 63:1-4; 42:1,2; Isaiah 26:8-9
I Want to Glorify You, O God – In all I do
How we glorify God - Matthew 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:31
So Others Can See Him - Titus 2:4-5, 9-10; Romans 2:23-24
Those Recurring Struggles - Psalm 138:3;
God’s Glory and My Neighbour’s Well-Being - Romans 14:22-23; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; 10:22-23; Luke 9:24; John 12:24 15:8.
Only by Depending on Christ - John 15:5; Philippians 3:9; 4:13; 1:11; 1 Peter 4:11; Isaiah 42:8
The Stewardship of Pain - Job 13:15; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10;
Trusting in His Promises - Gen 15:2; 16:1-4; 17:17-18; 22:18; Romans 4:18-21; 2 Cor 1:20; 2 Peter 3:1-4
I Want to Glorify you, O God – Living in Reverential Awe
The Joy of Fearing God - Psalm 63:1-4; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Revelation 14:7; 15:4
Stored-Up Goodness - Psalm 31:19; Job 1:21; 1 Peter 5:6-7;
Awesome Indeed - Exodus 15:11 Nehemiah 1:5:9:32; Ps 65:5; Habakkuk 3:2; Ps 119:120; 68:35; 9:2
When There’s Reason to Fear - Rom 3:18; Ex 5:2; 9:30; Deut 25:17,18; Ecc 8:13; Jer 5:23-24; Gen 20:10-11
Consuming Fire - Rom 3:18; Lev 10:1-2; 2 Sam 6:6-7; Acts 5:1-11; Rom 11:22; Heb 12:28-29
The Soul of Godliness - Hebrews 12:29; Psalm 7:11;
Jesus Delighted in Fearing God - Colossians 3:22; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 2:17; Is 11:1-3;
The Awe That Changes Our Lives - Psalm 47
In God’s Very Presence - Judges 6:22-23; Job 42:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-5; Es 1:25-28; Genesis 28:12-15;
The Creature and the Creator - Luke 4:1-11; Jeremiah 10;6; 32:17
Crossing the Infinite Distance - Rev 1:12-17; Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 5:8; Rev 19:16; 2 Cor 12:1-9; 4:7;
I Want to Glorify You, O God - Living as Your Child
His Slave or His Child? - Matthew 25:24-25; Isaiah 63:16; Hebrews 2:11,17; 3:6
A Healthy Respect for His Discipline - Exodus 20:20; 1 Peter 1:17;
He Disciplines Those He Loves - 1 Peter 1:17; Hebrews 12:6; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32; Col 2:13; Rom 4:7-8
I Want to Glorify You, O God – Living by Your Wisdom
The Only Foundation for Right Perspectives - Proverbs 1:7;
Sources of Wonder - Isaiah 28:26; John 17:3; Mark 8:36-37
Ethical and Practical - Proverbs 9:10; James 3;17; Proverbs 11:1; 1 Samuel 2:7
Wise and Joyful Living - Proverbs 15:16-17; Luke 12:15;
I Want to Glorify You, O God - And Enjoy You Forever
Enjoying His Provision - Lk 1:37; Ps 85:9; 112:1; 128:4; 34:3; 111:1-5; 1 K 17:7-16; Lk 4:25,26; He 11:8
How God Provides - 1 Kings 17:7-15; Luke 4:25,26; Romans 11:33; 2 Corinthians 8 and 9
Enjoying His Protection - Psalm 33:16-18; 145:10-12, 19; 34:7;
Enjoying His Guidance - Psalm 25:12; 23:3; Jeremiah 1:12
Enjoying His Compassion - Psalm 103:8-18; Isaiah 11:3; 2 Corinthians 1:20;
A Scroll of Remembrance - Malachi 3:8-16; Hebrew 3:13; Esther 6:1-2; Matthew 25:23
Bridges has pointed out to us that the concept of lifestyle worship includes:
1. That our desire should be to glorify God in all that we do. This is where the rubber hits the road – where our claim to believe in God is demonstrated in the way we live our lives. Here we are exposed as being either self-centred or God-centred. Here we realize whether we agree or disagree with the statement of the Westminster catechism: ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.’
If we really believe in God as the Bible presents him then it will be our over-riding desire to live our life for his glory.
2. The desire to glorify God in our lives will flow out from, and be accompanied by, a reverential awe of God. Our knowledge of God as the holy, majestic Creator and Lord of all will enter into every nook and cranny of our lives. We will live in constant amazement and reverence in his presence. We will not take either God or the salvation he gives us lightly. We will live with an overwhelming sense of unexpectedness – the unexpectedness that such a God as this God should even be interested in such people as us, and the utter unexpectedness that this holy God should do what he did to give to us the free gift of perfect salvation through his Son.
3. The knowledge that we are now God’s children. We are not his slaves. The reverence and respect in which we hold God is not that of servile, cringing, abject fear. Rather, it is the reverence and respect of love and devotion. It is the fear of doing anything that would bring a tear to the eye of our loving Father. It is the fear of doing anything that would bring discredit to the name of the One we love. It is also the acknowledgement that he, our Father, lovingly corrects us because he loves us too much to let us do the wrong thing.
4. It is acknowledging that God knows best, and therefore allowing his Word to direct our paths, rather than making our choices on the basis of our own wisdom.
5. It is living in the presence of God with joy. True faith knows that it has been released forever from a tit-for-tat law-based, performance-based relationship with God. Christian believers can live in the presence of God with joy, confident of his love, assured of permanent access and acceptance, and rejoicing, not only in the immeasurable eternal salvation they have in Jesus Christ, but also rejoicing in God himself [Romans 5:11].
All of this, rightly understood and applied, will make your life a life of worship to your King.
B. WHY SHOULD WE DEVOTE OUR LIVES TO WORSHIPPING GOD?
The Bible clearly commands us to live our lives in such a way that God’s glory and honour is demonstrated. This is a heavy command, a full-on, life-time commitment. It raises the question: Why? Why should I devote my life to glorifying God?
By referring to the perspectives above, and the scriptures below, comment on the following answers to this question. Note any significant points arising from the discussion. Include any pointers that will help you to worship God by your lifestyle.
Because of his great mercy [Romans 12:1]
Because we belong to him [Romans 14:7,8; 1Corinthians 6:19; Colossians 1;15,16]
Because he has set us apart for his own special use [1Corinthians 3:17; 3:34; Ephesians 1:4; 2:19-22; 5:3,27; Colossians 1:22; 3:12; 1Peter 1:15,16]
Because he saved us for his glory [Ephesians 1:6,12,14; 2:10; Matthew 5:16]
Because he calls us to obedience and commitment [Romans 1:5 Mark 7:6-8; 1Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17, 23,24]
C. IMPLEMENTATION AND COMMITMENT TO LIFESTYLE WORSHIP
In the space below make a list of things that you need to  keep doing,  stop doing and  start doing so that your lifestyle will give glory to your holy God.