The Early Church worshipped God not out of sentiment but revelation. Just how packed with truth the worship of First Century believers was can be seen from Paul’s quotation from one of their worship songs. Truly Spirit-inspired, this song’s lyrics were as follows:
God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16
Paul introduces the song by saying without doubt the revelation we carry is magnificent: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.
The word ‘mystery’ means ‘a truth previously hidden, now disclosed’. Our worship also should be filled with truth about God – not just a personal response to God.
Recent surveys show that 15% of British people attend church services at least once a month. This leaves many ‘unchurched’ people who have yet to experience the joy of Christian worship. But what’s the appeal of songs of worship? Is it the musical style, the technical excellence or the feelings they evoke? Perhaps this has something to do with it – but far more important than that, is the fact that our worship gives us the opportunity to set our hearts ablaze with truth. Just look at the truth-content of this early worship song:
• God was manifested in the flesh – hallelujah! Jesus came; • Justified in the Spirit – he died and was raised again; • Seen by angels – he revealed the reality of the supernatural realm; • Preached among the Gentiles – he came for all nations; • Believed on in the world – we can all come to know him by faith; • Received up in glory – he ascended to heaven taking up his place on the throne of the universe.
This Easter we celebrate all these great truths, not just as poetry or sentimental ideas, but as truth. The mystery has been revealed. God has made himself known. Singing songs of truth edifies our mind and excites our spirit – and it rests on one great fact – Jesus is not dead, but is risen from the dead and is alive for evermore. We know that we are forgiven, called for a purpose and empowered by love.
Take time to worship the resurrected Christ in spirit and truth. Take even more time to spread the message that is the heart of it all. Let the world know the God whom we worship is the Lord of all.