by: Matt Alexander
This coming Sunday I will be preaching Mark 1:1-11 in honor of Palm Sunday. Mark 1 recounts Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. A most holy time as Passion Week would begin. There is much we can learn from Jesus' humble entry into Jerusalem but we must not overlook the fact that this passage is primarily about worship. Mark 1:1-11 reveals to us the true nature of worship as all eyes focus on Jesus.
Indeed, true worship is that which focuses all eyes on Jesus.
This should be the aim of every gathered body that calls itself a church. Over the course of the past decade or so my heart has become increasingly irritated at the phrase "worship wars." Though I understand the aim of this phrase is to highlight the battle that has long existed between traditional and contempoary worship in music, I hate the phrase because it suggests that worship is about man. Those who find themselves in the midst of a "worship war" usually are in turmoil over stylistic preferences as it pertains to musical worship. Let us not forget that congregational worship through music is only a small aspect of what worship should be in our lives. Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 that worship is a surrendered life. Did you hear that? Worship is all about surrender!
If worship really involves all eyes focusing on Jesus then those gathered in worship must get themselves out the way.
There must be absolute surrender. This must happen daily as we worship as individuals and it must happen weekly as we worship corporately. The problem is too many of us do not worship daily through a surrendered life but we "come to church" expecting our needs to be met so that we can feel good about being "in worship." This mindset is nothing short of idolistic self-worship. We can entertain many good excuses for behaving this way but that does not change the heart of the matter.
To worship is to surrender.
It is to surrender myself daily to the Word and will of God. It is to surrener myself weekly as I gather with the body to realize that my preferences and desires do not have to be met because it's not about me. Surrender in corporate worship says "I may not prefer it but I am going to worship through it because it honors God." Oh how many church conflicts would be solved if we all could participate in this type of Godly worship! One pastor was once told after the morning service, "I really did not enjoy worship today," to which he responded, "That's okay. We weren't worshipping you anyway." It's not about you and me.
It's not about what we enjoy in worship. Worship is about enjoying God through it all.
If you can't enjoy God through the songs you don't prefer then you are worshipping a song and not the one true God.If it's Biblically sound and it focuses on Jesus then we should enjoy it. We need the practice of getting ourselves out of the way while we are still on Earth because when we get to heaven we will realize once and for all...it's all about Jesus!
I hope that you will join me this Sunday as I share 5 ways that we can worship the King as found in Mark 11. Until then, would you pray with me for God to reveal in our hearts what we need to surrender so that all eyes can focus on Jesus?
What do you need to surrender in worship today, this week, and for the rest of your life?