The Art Of Wor (Worship) @ robin aylor 09/26/2018
Around 2500 years ago the Chinese General Sun Tzu wrote a work we now know as The Art of War. It was all about strategies of fighting battles in various circumstances of engagement. It is still used and is very popular today.
But today I want to talk about the art of spiritual warfare.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
The case I want to make is that the weapons we use in daily spiritual battles are weapons of worship.
Think about it… If you are walking in a state of worshipping God can you continue to do so if you give in to greed or selfishness… if you are a lover of money?… or can you be worshiping God at the same time you are gossiping about a neighbor. Stealing? Lying? Being uppity and prideful? No! Can you be worshiping God while you are looking at porn or cheating on your spouse or living out some fantasy in your mind?
Of course not! True worship of God crushes the worship of all other things because it demands that we have no other gods before the true God.
In Luke 16:13 Jesus gives us an example of how we cannot worship God and at the same time be a greedy lover of money.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
In the OT, the people of God learned that worship and warfare went hand in hand. I think it is an example for us spiritually today. Over and over we read of situations in which the people failed to worship God with their whole hearts. As a result their enemies defeated them. However, when they repented and truly worshiped God, He always gave them victory. They could not win battles without sincere worship.
1- Jonah worshiped God in the belly of the great fish and was spewed up onto the shore.
2 - Joshua and the children of Israel worshiped God as the wall of Jericho fell.
3 - David worshiped God in the midst of his battle with Goliath.
4 - King Hezekiah worshiped God and he sent an angel to fight Assyria for Judah.
5 - Daniel in the lions den,
6 - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace… All these victories were in association to worship of God.
The list goes on and on…
In the New Testament remember how
7 - Paul and Silas worshiped God in prayer and singing while in the depth of the Philippian prison and were freed through an earthquake.
But in the New Testament we also see the examples in physical victories start to fade and the spiritual battles are focused on and highlighted.
Also if you think about it, all the heroes of our faith listed in Hebrews 11 experienced victory over the spiritual darkness while walking in worship. Worship and faith are interlinked. You cant have one without the other.
Hebrews 11 chronicles how the spiritual victories manifested themselves as physical victories many times in the Old Testament. Noah escaped a world wide flood worshiping God through faith. It speaks of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Remember how the people worshiped even as the walls of Jericho fell.
But then in verse 35 of Hebrews 11 we begin to see a shift from the Old Testament to the New… from winning physical battles to what they pointed to… winning spiritual battles… while for the time… remaining in a broken world. I’ll pick up in Hebrews 11:35.
35 …some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
These won spiritual battles they found joy and peace…
But so far, none of us have shared in the glories of the winning of the war as a whole. One day God will share with all his children from all of time.
In Ephesians 6 I want to briefly look at some pieces of spiritual armor Paul says to put on and as we see a few jewels in this armor I think we will also see how they are connected to worship.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Lets take a look at our armor and arsenal.
1 - 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth,
Do you consider truth as something foundational for the god you worship? Whether you trust the Bible or the koran, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or your favorite journalist on tv… does the truth matter? Do you care enough to see the truth amid all the fake news?
In John 14:6 Jesus said this to Thomas: …“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
For believers in Jesus, truth is a strong belt that holds fast our amor. It brings validity and confidence to our worship. Truth is essential for fighting the lies of satan as he attacks us daily. He wants to invoke doubt and worry. He wants to steal our confidence in Christ and his word. But Gods word has continued to prove true since the beginning.
Jesus said in John 4:24: God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Ephesians 6:14 continues:
2 - and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
We receive a indestructible breastplate of Jesus righteousness when we initially come to worship or delight in God. If you claim your own righteousness can defend you in the daily battles you will find your breastplate is made of thin paper… more like toilet paper armor… and its not clean either! Our righteousness is as filthy rags.
And so we put on the breastplate of Jesus righteousness. He lived a perfect life on earth that he might impute his righteousness to all who worship him in faith.
He took the penalty of our sins on the cross so we could have his righteousness. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And then he defeated death itself that he might one day raise us up incorruptible in righteousness with him forever.
That indestructible breastplate of righteousness only comes when we initially worship God by faith in him and not our own goodness.
3 - Verse 15: and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Most nations that engage in war would claim that their end goal in war is peace. Nobody wants war to continue. But in accomplishing peace the world goes about it in a very different way than believers in the spiritual war.
What about these shoes we wear? In a dirty physical battle while preforming an on the ground attack, would you wear high heel shoes into battle? Not at all! The boots made for war carry a person into battle through mud and guts and blood… and all the way they cry out advance forward! be aggressive with strength and power… Boots advance the man with swords and guns a blazing bringing death to those in his path.
But for believers our shoe preferences are different. While fighting in a spiritual battle, our battle shoes are reinforced with power of the Cross. It is the Cross that defeats sin and brings peace. We don’t defeat daily spiritual battles promoting our own strength with guns a blazing. But we advance crying out “here is peace!, this is good news!, Jesus died in your place and even defeated death that he might raise you up! He is the strong one that brings peace for sinners!
The Gospel of peace is a strong weapon in daily spiritual battles. And if you are walking in the peace of the Cross you are walking in worship.
Ephesians 6 continues:
4 - Verse 16: In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
Our worship is defined by where we put our faith whether we treasure the promises of the world or the promises of God lets us know who or what we worship.
We already talked about how faith and worship go together when we looked at the heroes of worship in Hebrews 11.
One word that I believe defines worship is: “treasure” as in “What do you treasure”. We usually put our faith in those things we treasure. If you treasure money, then it will be your shield in battle. If you treasure your position, then you will shield yourself with that.
This week… what or who will be the shield we treasure and place our faith in?
In Matthew 6:21 Jesus said it like this: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
5 - 17 and take the helmet of salvation,
Of course as we said Salvation is first consummated in us through true worship of God through his Son Jesus. When we first see him as glorious and beautiful he is good news to us and we delight in him with worship. That same Gospel… that same good news is just as beautiful and significant for us today as it was when we first believed. The same principals of our initial Salvation save us from defeat in daily battle. The Gospel is for every day… Walk in the Gospel. Walk in worship… Salvation is of the Lord.
6 - and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
The word of God is a spiritual sword used in a persons heart to bring about true worship. It’s spoken of in Hebrews 4:12 as being used on the darkness that embeds itself within our own hearts. We use it on the old nature in daily spiritual battles every day.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Paul connects the glory of God and growing in our worship of him with the Holy Spirit in 2nd Corinthians 3:18: And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
That is worship… seeing and internalizing more of Gods glory in his word. The degree of our worship is in proportion to how glorious we see God and it says this all comes to us from the Spirit.
So without the sword of the Spirit we cannot worship God. Here we can use the same verse we used earlier for truth: John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
As our text in Ephesians talked about putting on armor, Colossians excludes the metaphors relating to putting on armor and says it in a more applicational way. These are all ways our worship of God manifest themselves. We don't fight the daily battles with tools of the world but Spiritual weapons:
3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
All these things are outflowing aspects of worshiping the Lord. When we put on the armor of God spoken of in Ephesians 6 we are practically putting these things. As we walk in worship they flow from our walk with Christ… and the battle is the Lords.
So, in our worship of God we are acknowledging that he is our strength…
The following are a number of scriptures relating to this one we worship as our strength. They are not all included in the audio edition. Enjoy.
Exodus 15:1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.
Psalm 24:8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
Psalm 761 In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel. 2 His abode has been established in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion. 3 There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah 4 Glorious are you, more majestic than the mountains full of prey. 5 The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil; they sank into sleep; all the men of war were unable to use their hands. 6 At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both rider and horse lay stunned.
Psalm 61:2 from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 3 for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
Isaiah 42:13 The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes.
Isaiah 59:14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. 19 So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. 20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord.
Spiritual battles working themselves out in physical everyday life are manifest as worship.
Hebrews 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1st Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Much more could be said but remember this:
Worship always glorifies God bringing effectiveness to our jobs, relationships… in public speaking, preaching, singing, teaching… whether we are raising our children, practicing law or medicine, digging ditches or cleaning toilets. Worship fulfills our purpose. We cant even witness or share Christ as we ought if we are not walking in a state of worship…
Lord keep reminding us over and over every day the rest of our life to worship you as we go… to delight in your word… to meditate on what you say… and to joyfully walk practically in worship of you. In Jesus Name Amen.