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Summary: Worship that embodies a lively eschatology empowers the church to live triumphantly in the present.

ESCHATOLOGICAL WORSHIP {PART 3}

Rev. 21-22

Big Idea: Worship that embodies a lively eschatology empowers the church to live triumphantly in the present.

REV. 21:1-6 & REV. 22:1-9

INTRO

For the last two weeks we have been discovering the potential that good worship has to impact the understanding of ourselves and our God. So far we have discovered 6 dynamics that can (will) take place when worship takes on a future-looking” element.

They are:

1) Worship Turns Chaos into Order

2) Worship Gives Courageous Hope

3) Worship Transports Us Forward

4) Worship Energizes Mission

5) Worship Transcends Time, Culture, Language and Affiliation

6) Worship Transforms the Marginalized and Suffering

Eschatological worship, as we are calling it, is worship that takes God’s intended and certain future into account. It is worship that looks beyond the present, reaches into the future to get a broader understanding of God’s love, character and work and then brings those truths back to the present to reorient the here and how. Eschatological worship offers the church new perspectives, new understandings, and new interpretations of reality.

When an understanding of God’s determined future and certain promises are embedded within our worship, they impact, embolden, strengthen and transform us in ways that cannot be calculated.

In other words, Worship that embodies a lively eschatology empowers the church to live faithfully in the present.

7) ESCHATOLOGICAL WORSHIP SHOWS ITS VIABILITY AND VALIDITY IN THE DEEDS OF THE CHURCH.

And that brings me to my seventh observation about future-looking worship … good congregational worship shows its viability and validity in the deeds of the church (congregation).

Ethics and manner of life, not just belief, matter in the eyes of God. Deeds are evidence of faith. Deeds are a necessary manifestation of the allegiance we express in prayer, song, and creed. The message to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 ends with practical instruction about behavior upon which salvation depends.

Faith and works complement each other. When they are authentic they mirror each other.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

James 2:14-18 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

Authentic worship brings a faithful God front and center and will evoke faithfulness in His church.

Hear me … Eschatological worship is dangerous for the status quo. It is dangerous for the cheap and easy way. It shows us the future and evokes response from us.

• It evokes a response that risks boldly.

• It evokes a response that sacrifices self for the sake of humanity.

• It evokes a response that dreams to bring God’s future into the present.

• It dares to pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).

• And it dares to live a life that strives to bring that Kingdom into reality!

The challenge for us is comfort. When the people of God are comfortable and provisions are met worship’s impact can fade. That is why John begins “The Revelation” by addressing the seven churches. Some of these churches were comfortable. That gave them time for navel gazing (judging others) and luke-warmness (no sense of urgency or passion). Worship, real worship, stops this spiritual erosion in its tracks. It meets it head on and forces the Church into an encounter with the living Christ; the One who calls us to live and love in passionate grace-full service. Such worship rebukes us for entertaining ourselves and exploiting others.

The challenge for us is sin. When the people of God are flirting with that which offends God, worship’s impact will fade. That is why John begins “The Revelation” by addressing the seven churches. Some of these churches were dabbling in doctrinal error and sinful practices. That took their eyes off the prize and set their focus on what the world around them could offer. Worship, real worship, stops this spiritual mis-direction in its tracks. It meets it head on and forces the Church into an encounter with the living Christ; the One who calls us to holiness and love. Such worship rebukes us for excusing our sin.

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