The Impact of Worship (Gospel Preaching and Sanctification, part 6)



As believers, what is our biggest problem? What is our biggest need? Our biggest problem is the sin that lives within us (1 Peter2:11). Our biggest need, therefore, is the transforming power of God's Word and Spirit. This series has been about how this power comes to us in the gospel. Today we consider the spiritual impact of worship.

Question #11. What is the spiritual impact of worship? 

Worship transforms the worshiper into the image of what he worships. 

First, those who worship idols become like idols. See Psalm 115:4-8:

"Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
[5] They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see
[6] They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
[7] They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
[8] Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.

Those who make and serve man-made gods are given over more and more to man-made doctrine and religion. Worshiping what is spiritually lifeless brings spiritual death to greater and greater expression in hears, mind, and life. Worshiping false gods is a downward spiral into delusion, madness, and wickedness, all which comes with a veneer of religion and spirituality. 

Second, those who worship nature are further given over to natural passions. See Rom. 1:22-32:

"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
[24] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
[26] For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; [27] and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
[28] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. [29] They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, [30] slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, [31] foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. [32] Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."

Ascribing ultimate value, worth, and beauty to the creation rather than the Creator brings nothing but spiritual degradation upon the worshiper. He is further debased in heart, mind, and behavior. 

Third, those who worship Jesus become more like Jesus (see Matthew 10:24-25). This whole series is about this very point: We worship Jesus as His glory is revealed to us in the gospel, and the transformative glory of Christ in the gospel conforms us to His likeness.


What you are becoming depends on what you are worshiping. 

In the two negative examples above, the problem is one of seeing and worshiping. When you see things as God that are not God and worship things as God that are not God, it is not without impact. It stokes the fire of sin's reign. It hardens the heart in rebellion against God. It further dulls the mind to the wickedness of sin. This is why in human culture, people love wicked things and make money off them rather than hate and flee from them. Christians are on a different road! We worship God and, therefore, are being transformed to love, pursue, and grow in godliness, and that by the power of God's Word and Spirit.

Question #12. Why does worship have this kind of impact? 

Because in spiritual matters, there is a correlation between seeing and transformation. 

First, when we see Jesus fully, we will be fully transformed into His image and likeness. 

"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)

Second, until that time, the more we grasp the glory of Christ revealed to us, the more we will experience the power of Christ toward us and at work within us. 

"Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might." (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Discuss or Contemplate

How important is it, then, for believers to continually have God minister His gospel to our hearts and minds? What shape will our lives take apart from this?

Gospel Preaching and Sanctification

A Series of Devotions on How the Sight of Christ Transforms us into the Likeness of Christ