Worship and Public Policy (7)
This honor have all His saints.
Praise the LORD! Psalm 149.9
The beginning and end
Psalm 149 begins in the presence of God, where His people honor Him in worship and praise His holy Name. It ends not in a service of worship but in the everyday arenas of life, including the arena of public policy, where the people of God express the honor and glory of God which they have experienced, unto the praise of God in everyday life situations.
This they do by wielding the Sword of the Spirit with power and love.
Thus the glory of God, which leads us to exult in Him when we gather for public worship, bursts to light in the everyday arenas of life, glowing through us like the face of Moses, and turning the minds and perhaps the hearts of many to join us in praising and honoring the Lord. The honor of God is the beginning and end of Christian life, and worship is both the context in which we honor the Lord and the outcome of our living for Him according to His Word.
Worship is not an end in itself. Worship is not about us. Worship doesn’t end when the morning service is over. Worship, as Paul suggested (Rom. 12.1, 2), is our “reasonable” response to being transformed increasingly into the image of Jesus Christ, in heart, mind, conscience, words, and deeds. We worship God when we gather as an assembly of His people. And we worship God when we wield His Word against spiritual forces of wickedness in high places, wherever those forces seek to claim any area of life for themselves rather than the Lord.
Picking our battles
As those who are called to take the two-edged Sword into all of life, we need to pick our battles, plan well, and prosecute them doggedly.
Each of us has a Personal Mission Field, an array of places and people where Jesus has sent us for the sake of seeking and advancing His Kingdom (Jn. 20.21; Matt. 6.33). Our worship of God – corporate and daily – should prepare us to go forth in exultation, adorned with God’s salvation and armed with His Sword, to bring the power of God’s rule to bear on all of life. This includes our marriages, homes and families, places of employment, schools, neighborhoods, communities, cultural activities, social lives, and, yes, even the public square – all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities.
The worship in which we participate with other believers on the Lord’s Day should be such a time of celebration, inspection, and preparation that we are drawn into the very presence of the Lord and immersed in His glory, so that we exult in Him and lay our lives down as living sacrifices for His Kingdom (Rom. 12.1, 2). From there, armed with the Word of God, we go into our Personal Mission Fields, seeking the Lord’s wisdom for how to use our time and carry on our work (Ps. 90.12, 16, 17), “conquering and to conquer” (Rev. 6.2) for the progress of Christ’s rule on earth as it is in heaven.
But where is the evidence that the worship in which we participate each Lord’s Day is actually equipping us to worship God in every area of our lives? We began this series lamenting the fact that Christians seem to be little able to influence the arena of public policy for the honor and glory of God and His Kingdom. This can only mean that our worship is failing to fulfill the pattern and purpose outlined in Psalm 149 and elsewhere. Our worship is not equipping us for Kingdom living in our Personal Mission Fields, much less in the arena of public policy.
What you can do
So what can you do? Can you make a difference? Well, first of all, do you wantto make a difference? Or are you content not to “rock the boat” and let the ship of the Church continue to drift toward the shoals of shipwreck? Already young people are abandoning ship because they don’t believe Christianity is relevant or meaningful for the questions most pressing to them. Young adults are not far behind. Will we simply sit by and allow this to happen?
So what can you do?
First, pray. Pray daily and earnestly for God to pour out His Spirit in worship in ways you have not known before, so that He will stand forth in our worship, bring us into His glory, and do the transforming work only He can do. Begin and end your day in the kind of worship that enables you to see Jesus, exalted in glory, advancing His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven through you.
Second, download the free study of this series, Worship and Public Policy, which you can do by clicking the link in the tag that follows. Work through the daily questions and “next steps” until your worship begins to fit you for Kingdom living such as Psalm 149 indicates. Then share this study with some friends, and invite them to join you in working through it.
Let’s make it our business to bring the business of worship full circle, from glory to glory, from God honored in public and private worship to God honored in the public square. And let’s continue to do so until the knowledge of the glory of God begins to fill, at least, our own Personal Mission Fields more fully and consistently (Hab. 2.14).
For reflection or discussion
1. How can you make more time for worship in your schedule? What will you do? How you will carry this worship into your daily life to honor the Lord?
2. In worship we experience the glory and presence of the Lord. In life we express His glory and presence. Explain.
3. Suppose Christians don’t become equipped for wielding the Sword of the Spirit in the public square. What will that likely mean for the nation?
Next steps – Preparation : Which of the action steps called for in this installment will you take? Whom can you enlist in this effort with you?
T. M. Moore
A free PDF of this series, “Worship and Public Policy,” is available by clicking here.
Our book, The Highest Thing, provides an opportunity to review the Biblical basis, forms, and purpose of worship. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.