Summary: New Testament worship either leads to action or it isn’t really worship.
People hire acting coaches, career coaches, executive coaches, financial coaches, job search coaches, and life coaches in addition to athletic coaches. What are all of these coaches supposed to do? I mean, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper didn’t want to take anything away from Mark Buehrle’s perfect game the other day, but when he said he could take NO credit for a pitching performance, I had to ask myself why the position existed. It seems to me like a coach is there to offer counsel from the position of broader experience; to provide sound fundamentals from both experience, knowledge, and observation; to provide encouragement when things aren’t going well; and to offer direction for improvement and accomplishment. So, you’re wondering what all this has to do with worship?
Well, if everything else we want to accomplish requires a “coach,” maybe we need a “worship coach.” And fortunately, as with everything else we need, we find that God has already provided a “worship coach” in the Bible. So turn with me, if you will to the first two verses in Romans 12.
Before we get to today’s text, though, I think it’s important to get the overall thrust of the Book of Romans. Here’s a quick chapter by chapter outline.
In the first two chapters, Paul removes any philosophical excuse for avoiding the issue of God’s will. He takes the socio-religious-cultural divides of the ancient civilization, Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Barbarians, and places them all on the same level.
Chapter 3 introduces the SIN problem and together, Chapters 4-5 introduce FAITH as the solution.
Chapter 6 reminds believers not to take GRACE and the life of FAITH for granted.
Chapter 7 confesses that the life of FAITH is still a struggle, but Chapter 8 guarantees the VICTORY in Christ Jesus.
To many of us, Romans 8 is the high watermark of Romans, but Paul (guided by the Holy Spirit) isn’t finished yet. He wants to pull all believers together, regardless of their socio-religious-cultural differences.
Chapter 9 speaks against the early church’s tendency to devalue the heritage it inherited from Israel and God’s future plans for Israel.
Chapter 10 ensures that no one gets the idea that there is any substitute for the saving work of Jesus. Both the Old Israel of the Jews and the New Israel of the church would be united in Jesus.
Chapter 11 demonstrates that God wants to save Israel. God’s purpose is the same for the Jews as it is for those of us who call ourselves “completed Jews,” people who have responded to God through the New Covenant.
Chapter 12 teaches that the life of a believer is intended to be a life of service, but everyone’s service isn’t the same. We serve God according to our different gifts. God intends for there to be diversity within the church.
Chapter 13 emphasizes the fact that the life of FAITH is a practical life, FAITH lived out in daily life.
Chapter 14 affirms our individual freedom as believers, but Chapter 15 challenges us to self-denial.
Chapter 16 wraps things up with Paul’s personal concerns and instructions. That’s probably a good model for us because it means that theology and worship are never completed till we get personal.