relevant |ˈreləvənt| adjective closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand: the candidate’s experience is relevant to the job. DERIVATIVES relevance noun.relevancy |-vənsē| noun. relevantly adverb ORIGIN early 16th cent. (as a Scots legal term meaning ‘legally pertinent’): from medieval Latin relevant- ‘raising up,’ from Latin relevare.
I was just wondering if your church had good worship? Now, you might wonder, what do you mean by worship, and what do you mean by good?
In this case, by using the term worship, I am referring not to the concept of the lifestyle of the believer whereby he offers his life as a continuous sacrifice as an act of worship (Rom. 12:1-2)- though the believer’s lifestyle is vitally connected to worship, and though this is my favorite way to refer to worship in the life of the believer.
I am thinking of the Church worship service where the believer offers up gifts and sacrifices before the Lord.
Hebrews 13:15-17 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Is the time- when you corporately gather with other believers- when you formally devote yourself to offering up your praises to the Father and present your gifts to His body good?
You might think, “Yes! We have awesome worship music!” “We sing contemporary songs.” “Our worship is rooted in the bedrock of truth in the hymns of old.” Whatever your style is, your worship may or may not be good.
For a church service to be good it must be relevant.
The idea of relevance is a legal term, that when traced back to its root etymology (of re + levo) means to lighten the load or to relieve from evil, hardship; to comfort, refresh or console.
Relevant worship should lighten our load in life.
When we offer our sacrifices of praise, our burdens are lifted. This is consistent with Scripture. You might recall some phrases:
My yolk is easy and my burden is light…
Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you…
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery…
If the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed.
So you might wonder, what kind of worship is relevant? What kind of worship reckons me free from the weights of this world?
Worship that is relevant is connective between two parties, providing reckoning of a disparity (sin) and freeing from bondage. Relevant worship is a legal transaction between believers and the God of the universe! (In the New Covenant, this legal transaction is a declaration by God that believers are free because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.)
Relevant worship is connective. It must not only affect me but satisfies God.
Rom. 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.
Heb. 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…
If your worship service at church is good, then it is acceptable to God. This is in line with Jesus’ words:
John 4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Relevant worship, worship that is connective between man and God, worship that is reckoning of the sin in our life, worship that is freeing from bondage is rooted in spirit and truth.
Relevant Worship is Transformative
Worship in Spirit effects the heart, emotions and will. Worship in Spirit is moved by desire. It is pushed by emotions. It fuels our will to act. This part of worship is rooted in the Spirit of God, whereby he fashions and remolds our hearts to move toward Him.
Rom. 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
Relevant Worship is Traditional
Worship in Truth must be true. It must be rooted in tradition. By tradition, I mean truth that is passed down from generation to generation. Truth is the scalpel that God uses to cut our heart so that it responds to Him.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
So what does this mean for my Church? For yours?
If your worship is relevant then it is good. If the worship at your church is connective between you and God in such a way that brings transformation for you and satisfaction for God because the message has been rooted in the truth of the Gospel, then God is satisfied and your life is relieved from the burdens and weights that keep you down. Then yes, your worship is relevant. Then yes, the worship at your church is good.
Does this mean we have to sing funeral dirges all the time? Do we need to sing hymns? Must we sing contemporary songs that repeat themselves over and over in order to be relevant? No. No. And no.
But maybe, sometimes. Music is an instrument. It is something created by God, often used by this world, and can be redeemed to be used again to sing of His glory. It doesn’t matter the form so much as the message encrypted in that form and the way it is used.
I have been in contemporary service where emotions were absent because truth was lacking. I have been in traditional services where truth was abundant and hearts unmoved. And this is also probably true for you. But what we want in our churches is, whether our sacrifice of praise is offered to the tunes of young or old, the heart has been fueled to draw near to God because it is gliding safely on the truth of His proclamation in Scripture: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, is the worship at your church good?