Worship in Spirit & Truth
This is part 1 of 3 of a series of blogs written especially for this site by Simon Brading who leads the worship team at Church of Christ the King, Brighton. I've had the privilege of leading alongside this man of God the last couple of years at Mobilise and he's a huge inspiration to me so I'm sure you'll find this blog useful!
It seems worship leaders are often trying to find ways to enrich and enhance the ‘worship experience’. What’s the secret we ask??? And so we search for the latest high-impact songs… or work hard to create the perfect atmosphere for electrifying worship….or find the new sounds and styles that will make the people weep.
Well, fortunately the Bible doesn’t leave us guessing. In John 4:22-23, Jesus makes it plain. You want to know the secret to high-voltage, electrifying worship? The two power cables are simply labeled ‘Spirit’ and ‘Truth’.
That’s where the real power lies. Music, arrangements, lighting, atmosphere and PAs can all be helpful, but they are penultimate, not ultimate. Why? Because they cannot reach inside the human heart and draw worship out of you. Only the Holy Spirit can dive into the hidden-depths of your heart, open your spiritual eyes with the awakening power of the gospel and draw out genuine, heart-felt, passionate, zealous worship. The Holy Spirit and Truth of the gospel.
So I’m going to be doing a couple of guest posts over the next few weeks – ‘Worship in Spirit’ and ‘Worship in Truth’ – with the aim to dive a bit deeper in how we can plug ourselves into God’s power circuits when leading worship, rather than attempting to power it ourselves. #fail
At this point, it’s worth pointing out the intrinsic connection between Spirit and Truth. A bit of geekage for ya: The OT Hebrew word for Spirit is ruah and can just as accurately be translated “wind” and “breath” as well as “spirit”. The NT Greek word for Spirit is pneuma can also just as accurately be translated “wind” and “breath” as well as “spirit”. SO… biblically speaking “the Spirit of God” is as closely connected with the Word of God as breath is connected to speech. Where the Word of God is, the Spirit of God is there too. He cannot not be. The two come together.
Also, one of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God’s truth to us (John 16:13-15). Why is that a big deal??? Most of the problems in our lives are because we are listening to or believing a lie, rather than living in the freedom of God’s liberating gospel. We are being lied to day a night (Rev 12:10); the enemy longing to steal our eyes off Jesus, strangle us in fear, chain us in condemnation, riddle us with anxiety, rob us of God’s provision, remind us of past sins, seduce us into sin… constantly lying, day and night. What’s the opposite to a lie? The Truth. And Jesus said ‘you will know the truth and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). That ‘know’ isn’t just a head knowledge, but an experiential knowledge.
So knowing the truth doesn’t mean reciting some religious facts from our brains, but it’s God planting His liberating and freeing truth deep into our hearts – deep into the center of decision making chamber, deep into the core of our emotional being – expelling every lie of the enemy and propelling us into spacious freedom. And what’s our response? Worship.
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God go hand in hand. So learning about ‘Worship in Spirit’ and ‘Worship in Truth’ will inevitably have large overlap... as well as different emphasis. So hopefully over the next few weeks we can learn together how connect with the Spirit and Truth of the gospel as we worship and lead others in worship.
By Simon Brading 12/06/13