Thoughts about the gospel, the armor of God and worship


I was reading this morning about how, like in 2 Chronicles 20, our worship is warfare. In this passage, King Jehoshaphat learned that a vast army was coming against Judah from Edom, on the East side of the Dead Sea. When Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the Levites, who told him, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. … You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you” (vv.15-17).

We then read that Jehoshaphat put men in front of the army, who sang to the Lord, praising Him for His holiness, and thanking Him for His endless love. And as they sang and praised, the Lord sent ambushes on the army, and by the time the Judahites arrived, not a man was left alive.

We’re probably all familiar with the “armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6. In the book, The Worship Pastor, Zac Hicks reminds us that the armor is God’s, not ours, and the armor “is what God gives us in the gospel … in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ.”[1]

• Belt of truth – Jesus is the truth (John 14:6)
• Breastplate of righteousness – Jesus is our righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21)
• Shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace – Jesus is our peace (Rom. 5:1)
• Shield of faith – which we receive by hearing the word of Christ (Rom 10:17)
• Helmet of salvation – Jesus is our salvation (Eph 2:8-9)
• Sword of the Spirit – “the Spirit’s proclamation of Jesus, the Word of God, to us” (John 15:26)[2]

It’s all the gospel embodied in Jesus.

Note two more things about this passage: Once we have the armor of God, all we are called to do is stand (v.11,13,14). And on top of that, the only offensive weapon (the sword) is also the gospel, the Word, Jesus. 

Wow. This was huge for me today. The armor of God is all about the gospel and nothing I actually do. During these “stay at home” times, we’re being forced to not do. The same is true in our spiritual life. What a relief that I am called to not do

When we realize that worship is warfare (back to Jehoshaphat), then we realize that what we do as worship leaders in corporate worship is like a general leading the troops (congregation) into spiritual battle. Hicks says, “But here’s the catch. This battle is … not waged by efforts of human action but by reception of divine action” (harkening back to Jehoshaphat). “… Instead of pacing before the troops, holding up a sword and chanting, ‘Kill them all!” the war general [worship leader] plans a worship service where the Spirit can stand before the congregation, holding up the cross and shouting, ‘Jesus paid it all!’”[3]

So, we put on God’s armor, which is all Him, who He is and what He has done, and we stand, proclaiming the gospel in worship. Then we stand back and watch Him fight the battle.

Just a note that the elements of corporate worship all proclaim the gospel: song, prayer (which, by the way, we’re called to fervently at the end of the Ephesians passage), Scripture reading, preaching, baptism and Communion. 

This may seem like a disparate thought, but I was brought to tears today by Bob Kauflin and his daughter, McKenzie Fuller, singing a new version of “Be Ye Glad,”[4]. This song is incredibly relevant for this season we are in, and when I think of the lyrics in the light of God fighting the battle for us as we sing the gospel … just wow. And right now, we’re being called to corporately proclaim the gospel in a different way than when we’re together in person. But we are still called to worship and to just be; He is fighting for us.

In these days of confused situations
In these nights of a restless remorse
When the heart and soul of a nation
Lay wounded and cold as a corpse 
From the grave of the innocent Adam
Comes a song bringing joy to the sad
Oh, your cry has been heard and the ransom
Has been paid up in full, be ye glad 

Oh, be ye glad
Oh, be ye glad
Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad

Now from your dungeon, a rumor is stirring
Though you have heard it again and again
Ah, but this time the cell keys are turning
And outside there are faces of friends 
And though your body lay weary from wasting
And your eyes show the sorrow they’ve had
Ah, the love that your heart is now tasting
Has opened the gates, be ye glad 

So be like lights on the rim of the water
Giving hope in a storm sea of night
Be a refuge amidst the slaughter
Of these fugitives in their flight 
For you are timeless and part of a puzzle
You are winsome and young as a lad
And there is no disease or no struggle
That can pull you from God, be ye glad

[1] Hicks, Zac. The Worship Pastor, p.84.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., p.85.

[4] “Be Ye Glad,” Words and Music by M.K.Blanchard. © Gotz Music/Benson.

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