Worship Pastor Insight: Teaching Obedience

Our church is working its way through the book of Romans. Now, I know I'm not supposed to play favorites with books of the Bible, but Romans is my favorite book, followed closely by 2 Kings. This week we are going through that amazing passage in Romans 6 where Paul encourages us to consider ourselves dead to sin. However, a question arises during this chapter. Since God loves to give grace and we love to sin, shouldn't we just sin more in order to see more of God's grace? Paul responds with a resounding "By no means!"

As I was planning the service this week, I thought a lot about this passage. There aren't a lot of songs that specifically focus on this problem. There are very few that speak about considering yourself dead to sin. So, what can we do to prepare our hearts to hear this message? This is a message that gets to the heart of what motivates our obedience. It speaks to our new life as slaves to Christ rather than slaves to sin. The more I thought about this the more I thought about my own struggle with sin. What causes me to run to the cross and flee sin? What causes me to want to obey? It certainly isn't being told to obey over and over again. Neither is it trying to avoid feeling guilty all the time.

The real motivator for me is obeying out of thanksgiving as an offering of worship. I think we are all more motivated to obey when the object of our obedience is deserving of that service. So, the key this week in worship will be to help us all meditate on and celebrate what God has done to deserve our obedience and worship. There are many things that would fall into this category, but for the Christian, one thing stands above the rest: the cross.

The cross of Christ is what makes our adoption into God's family possible. The sacrifice of Christ enables us to go from death to life, from slave of sin to slave of righteousness. That act of Christ, apart from anything we could ever do, secures our eternal future. Knowing and understanding this will encourage us to obey anything the Lord asks of us. This isn't an obedience to earn anything or to try and repay God, just like a child obeying their parents doesn't do it for money or to repay them for all they've done. This obedience is motivated out of love and thanksgiving and a desire to please God.

So, this Sunday we will sing about the greatness of God. We will sing about the power of the cross. We will stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and, as we celebrate our service of worship in song and become refreshed by hearing God's Word, we will continue in worship as we leave our church and enter into the world, remembering all that God has done for us through the cross of Christ.
(see, I can even write a run-on sentence like Paul does in Romans)

Wherever you end up worshiping this weekend, I would encourage you to think through the elements in your service. Notice how the songs prepare you for the message. Notice how the whole service works and flows together. And, be encouraged to live obediently and joyfully for our great God as you head into another week.

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