Humanity has pursued fulfillment with great fervour. Regardless of the quest, life has emotional hills and valleys. The question is not whether we have the ability to control contributing factors. The questions are: (1) what is our destination; and, (2) is there an ability to enjoy the journey? The answer is found in God and it is yes and amen: we can have unspeakable joy and full of glory!
Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
This means from the moment we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is the risen LORD we have a superior quality of life continually. Starting from salvation we should be growing in the abundant life right through into eternity. Another Scripture using the word abundantly is: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (Ephesians 3:20). Now that’s exciting!
The word abundant in Strong’s Definitions is G4053 περισσός perissós, per-is-sos’; superabundant (in quantity) or superior (in quality); by implication, excessive; beyond measure.
But let’s think about this. Will the Holy Spirit (the power working in us) give us ANYTHING we ask, even if we ask for something that (unknowingly to us of course) would harm us or someone else? We know Scripture tells us that God will supply all of our needs (as referenced in Deuteronomy 8:3-4; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalms 23:1-5; Psalms 41:1-3; Psalms 84:11; Luke 12:30-33; 2nd Corinthians 9:8-11); and, yet we know there are things the LORD in His goodness and foreknowledge does not provide to us immediately or even ever.
Scripture teaches us about our loving Father’s gifts:
- He loves each of us so much, He will not give us something that will cause us or someone else to live in sin (Luke 11:11-13; Romans 8:32; James 1:15-17); and,
- He does everything for our good and His glory (1st Corinthians 12:11; Romans 8:27-30; Deuteronomy 5:24; Ephesians 1:14).
To understand the abundant life filled with unspeakable joy, we will look at: (1st) what the promise is; (2nd) why worship results in joy; (3rd) how to worship (including a definition of worship); and (4th) the conclusion. To help with Biblical clarity, let’s look at Scriptural definitions of the words “unspeakable” and “joy” which are used together in only 1 verse in the King James Version:
- Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1st Peter 1:8 KJV).
Definition of Unspeakable: Thayer’s Greek Lexicon describes STRONGS New Testament G412 as “to which words are inadequate” and is only used once with joy. “Unspeakable” occurs only 2 other times (2nd Corinthians 9:15; 2nd Corinthians 12:4). Other words used with the same meaning include inexpressible and indescribable
Definition Joy: Strong’s Definitions is G5479 is : χαρά chará, khar-ah’; from G5463 and means cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight:—gladness
With those definitions in mind, let’s jump into the topic of worship!
What is the Promise of Unspeakable Joy?
Jesus came so we who believe could have inexpressible calm delight for eternity in Him starting at the point of spiritual rebirth. This does not excuse us from trouble; on the contrary, Jesus confirmed we would have trouble in this life.
- “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
No-one likes tribulation or trouble. Christ did not enjoy it either but He endured it for the joy before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Despite how hard our lives can be, Jesus expects us to access the peace and good cheer that is in Him. How is this achievable when the mind and the body influence our emotions?
- “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. … I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” … (John 15:9-17 )
- Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Jesus taught all the commandments hang on loving God with your everything and others as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). This is an ongoing developing or pruning process that yields more and better fruit(John 15:2). This requires submission to the LORD. When He fills our hearts with His love, we can abide in His love (John 15:5; Galatians 5:22; Philippians 1:11; 2nd Peter 1:3). When we invest our lives in the worship of our LORD, we are building that love of Him. The more we seek His face, the more revelation of Himself He gives, and when we begin to see Him as He is. Then we are able to love Him and abide in Him increasingly.
- I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me. (Proverbs 8:17 )
- And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
- Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)
Worship is designed by Almighty God to fill everyday life with unspeakable joy that grows increasingly. If this is not the case for you, self-examination is definitely worthwhile to make changes.
Why Worship Results in Unspeakable Joy
Our LORD does not want religious worship that is mechanical and without sincerity, zeal, or passion. Hebrews 12:18-19 sheds light on this so we will look at it from the Old and New Covenant standpoints. For context, the letter of Hebrews was initially sent as an encouragement to Jews following the Way: (1st) to hold fast to the superiority of Christ’s perfect sacrifice; and, (2nd) to preserve in faith regardless of any trouble that may lay ahead (Hebrews 13:5-8). The Way was the term that applied to all Christ-followers now called Christians.
The Old Covenant: was in anticipation or prior to the atonement (appeasement) of sin by our LORD.
- For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest…. “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.” (Hebrews 12:18-21). This passage refers to Exodus 19:12-14; Exodus 24:17; Deuteronomy 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:22-26; Hebrews 12:19-20.
The New Covenant: was in realization after the atonement and resurrection by our LORD.
- But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven…. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:22-29)
Whether we are gathered corporately or by ourselves, when we enter into worship, we are not alone. When we worship, our praises ascend into an invisible realm, and we are in communion with Holy Ones; with the Godhead who sustains our very breathing. Worship is not the means to manipulate our LORD into changing our circumstances. It is the reverent acknowledgement of God unto our God. Worship is to be intentionally focused with the mind and heart on the LORD for His glory. Because the LORD inhabits our praises, the presence of the LORD will change our feelings which helps us through our circumstances. (Matthew 18:20; 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18; Hebrews 13:15)
Although we journey in this temporal world that we experience in 4 measurable dimensions, our world and its boundaries are within eternity. (The 4 spatial dimensions are time, length, width, and depth.) Eternity is currently beyond our comprehension; it is where God resides in a realm we can not see while living on earth; that is unless we have a Divine illumination such as a vision (1st Timothy 6:16; Revelation 21:3; Revelation 22:5). Scripture tells us one day we will be able to physically see Him (1st John 3:2; Job 19:26; Psalms 16:11; 1st Corinthians 13:12; 2nd Corinthians 3:18). Praise God!
Before our glorification or mortal translation (1st Corinthians 15:1-58; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17), our LORD provides an invitation by the Holy Spirit to join in the eternal throng that is communing with the Godhead! Our spirits (once reborn) join the eternal worship around the very throne of God! Incredible!
Consider those from Scripture who saw a vision of the LORD high and lifted up in His glory. Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Paul, John and others who experienced this had reverence. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Joshua interacted with the pre-incarnate appearance of the LORD. They bowed down understanding they were in the presence of someone much greater than them; the One who was worthy of honour. They have entered eternity; in eternity we are worshiping God with all of them and other believers who have gone on before us. We just don’t see it while being limited to these dimensions. But we can certainly experience it!
Many in every generation have wrongly believed they can offer any form of praise or worship and expect God to be pleased. Can our free-will worship or gift to the LORD be:
- more from our sense of obligation?
- our desire to demonstrate respect and affection?
- the best within or outside of our means?
- that which makes us feel good?
- without much thought of the LORD’s desires?
- expressed affection we want to give to another human or receive from another human?
I know I have given gifts based on a combination of these reasons. The LORD does not require anyone to clean up their act before He regenerates their hearts! But, He does have some requirements about worship. When we want to give to the LORD, we should understand what He wants. God expects us to grown in our understanding of Him and our worship of Him. Scripture tells us that God does not accept just any worship (He may permit it, but He does not accept all worship):
- And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. (Genesis 4:3-8)
Cain was given the opportunity to correct his worship. Instead, he was angry because God was not pleased with what he wanted to give and ended up murdering his brother. Humans want what they want; yet in God’s graciousness, when we humble ourselves and submit our desires to the LORD, then He gives more grace (favour producing strength). This grace will change our desires to Godly ones that He fulfills.
Grace can be described as God’s merciful kindness in His exertion of His holy influence (the Holy Spirit) upon souls. This results in:
- turned hearts to Christ;
- sustained and increased faith, knowledge, and affection; and,
- exercised Godly virtues as explained by Christ.
Grace in Strong’s Definitions G5485 is χάρις cháris from G5463; means graciousness (as gratifying); the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude. It also means acceptance, benefit, favour, gift, joy, liberality, and pleasure.
In John 4, Jesus spoke to the woman at the well who was in an ungodly lifestyle. He saw she desired worship appropriately and she asked Him about it.
- “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24 )
This means worship approaches God with
- total respect for His holiness;
- zealous affection for His grace; and
- with surrender or obedience to His ways as outlined in His Word.
This is a resolve made in the heart and mind; not by the emotions. The difference between “in spirit” and “in truth” is elaborated in the next section along with a definition of worship.
Communion with the LORD causes our earthly bodies to sense, express and emote. It is the result; not the goal. There can be times of weeping, laughing, and dancing before the LORD. One can be overwhelmed at the beauty of His Majesty or exhilarated by His power. I wonder if this is how David felt (2nd Samuel 6:14). We can sense Him in such deep and real ways that at that moment we could desire to be in heaven immediately.
We also know from Scripture that God is orderly (1st Corinthians 14:32-33); and, He does not wish worship to be distracting from another’s ability to worship or cause another to stumble. Perhaps the diversity of churches provides different expressions of worship; and, it is holy provided it is done in spirit and truth and not stemming from bodily or sensual gratification. There is a time for everything and everything should be done in decency and order.
Can you imagine what heaven will be like when all the saints of God can freely join unhindered and fully engaged in true reverent worship? Countless beings exalting in chorus and bowing before Him – WOW!
All those who wish to worship God must seek to know Him as He is in truth: as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: John 14:6, 17; 15:26; 16:13. This sounds like a great incentive to make a life’s study of the ONENESS of God, the Godhead (also called the Trinity by the body of Christ or church).
Did you know the unity of the three personas of God is the basis and model for the unity of the church? (John 17:21-23). Christians everywhere (congregating physically or not, in the body or in heaven) join in oneness in worship around the literal throne of God. Incredible! The purpose of this great assembly is to give God glory, and in doing so, fulfill the purpose for which we were created. Being filled by His Spirit is such a magnificent state of being which results in unspeakable joy and brings God glory by fulfilling His plan.
Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. Our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
How to Worship Acceptably that Results in Unspeakable Joy
The Word of God provides both affirmations concerning His invitation to worship; and, warnings about being worldly. Our choice is in the extent we willingly adhere or apply the Word; this extent determines whether we partake of unspeakable joy in Christ.
|Warning||…Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? (James 4:4-5)|
|Affirmation||But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God…. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:6-8, 10)|
Here is the Definition of Worship
Worship is not a type of music, a particular order of service, it’s not just one thing.
Worship is the direct acknowledgement of God unto our God concerning His nature, His attributes, His ways and His Word. It, therefore, is a relational lifestyle.
For the believer, worship is fused to everything we do whether in word or deed. It is to give reverence, tribute, and service to our King; and, there are many ways to do this as He outlines in Scripture. Worship is a package; one should not exclude a form of worship because of a personal preference, instead, worship should reflect Scripture. His will which is in the Scripture is the deciding factor for us; it is how we acknowledge Him. Everything stems from this.
Now, how do we incorporate this into everything we do in spirit and in truth?
- “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! (Deuteronomy 6:4)
- Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. (Mark 12:29)
Let’s Look at Worship In Spirit
We learn who He is and what He wants by diligently seeking His face with all of our hearts: through reading (or planting) His Word; and, through honest humble prayer. When the Scripture is planted in our hearts, the Holy Spirit will guide us; but, He will not force us to be obedient. We humble ourselves to accept the Lordship or Rule of God in the proper relationship. Being humble is having the right perspective of God and ourselves. It is then that we can approach Him appropriately. Consider who God is.
Our God is ONE essence expressed to humanity with three substances or personas. Almighty God is expressed to us as:
- the Father (Eternal Spirit who is omnipresent)
- the Son (Eternal Word of God incarnate or embodied and glorified at the right hand of the father)
- the Holy Spirit (Eternal Spirit of God who enters, guides, and seals a regenerated person).
He has revealed Himself to mankind in history through interactions as:
- El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty);
- El Elyon (The Most High God);
- Adonai (Lord, Master);
- Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah);
- Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner);
- Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
- Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals);
- Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There);
- Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness);
- Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
- Elohim (God);
- Qanna (Jealous); Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide);
- Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace);
- Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)
- El Olam (The Everlasting God)
Throughout Scripture the LORD told various people about His character using these names. If you haven’t studied the names of God yet, I encourage you to do so.
In the earthly ministry of Christ, He taught us who He was by explaining the old covenant types, pictures, and references that we could come to comprehend:
- I AM the Bread of Life: John 6:48 (illustrated in the Old Testament’s Table of Shewbread, as manna – bread from heaven);
- I AM the light of the world: John 8:12 (illustrated in the Old Testament’s Menorah)
- I AM the door: John 10:9 (illustrated in the Old Testament’s Tabernacle Door)
- I AM the good shepherd: John 10:11 (illustrated in the Old Testament’s Altar of Sacrifice)
- I AM the resurrection and the life: John 11:25 (illustrated in the Old Testament’s Mercy Seat)
- I AM the way, the truth, and the life: John 14:6 –(illustrated in the Old Testament’s Ark of the Covenant)
- I AM the true vine: John 15:1 (illustrated in the Old Testament’s Tabernacle Laver, abiding in the cleansing Word)
When He said “I AM” He was the same voice Moses heard at the burning bush: John 8:58; John 1:1-2; John 17:5; Colossians 1:17; Revelation 1:11; Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 46:9 . Note that all three personas were made known at the same time during the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17).
Let’s Look at Worship In Truth
His Word is truth and defines how to approach God. As soon as the Israelites were delivered from the bondage of slavery, God gave them His moral law to teach what a transgression against the LORD was. He gave Moses instructions to build a Tabernacle fashioned after the pattern He showed him so that the LORD could dwell (tabernacle) with His people. The tabernacle would be built from free-will offerings but had to be constructed exactly how God mandated. The people had a choice to give, but not in what or how. Exodus 25:1-9. These things were for types or foreshadows of what was to come (Jesus) and is in heaven. Exodus 25:1-9, 40; Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:9.
God provided such detail to prescribe every aspect of worship in the tabernacle including building materials, furnishings, priestly garments, various offerings, and laws about access to each section of the tabernacle. He did not want mechanical, ritualistic, legalist observance. No. He wanted relationships with individuals who respected Him for who He was. He wanted to dwell (Tabernacle) with His people and He wanted to be their Redeemer, Saviour, and King. He was establishing a picture for future generations that pointed to Jesus Christ.
The following graphic attempts to demonstrate the tabernacle as a “type”. A study of the tabernacle in Scripture would best illuminate this. The graphic serves to demonstrate the revelation of the Trinity in the tabernacle and how it correlates to the believer.
Of note for podcast listeners: You will need to visit the DesiringFruitfulness’ Blog to see the pictorial references that will be described now.
- This diagram does not put humanity on par with God in any way, we are merely created in His image.
- Scripture informs us we are the temple of the LORD in 1st Corinthians 3:16-17; 1st Corinthians 6:19; 2nd Corinthians 6:16
- References to that parts of a person include and are not limited to Mark 12:30, Hebrews 4:12
This next diagram attempts to illustrate how we submit to God in worship. It is not intended to be a formal process but helps visualize what Scripture is explaining to us. Truly, by meditating on the Word that we study and through prayer, the Holy Spirit will teach us all things.
Scripture tells us to: Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. (Psalm 100:4-5)
- Enter at the door or gates (Christ) with thanksgiving for His gift of salvation: Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving. (Psalms 95:1-2)
- Enter into His courts with Praise by recalling His nature and His acts toward you: Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land. (Psalms 95:3-5)
- Enter into Holy Place in humility waiting quietly or listening for Him: Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. (Psalm 95:6-7)
When we surrender all we are to His Lordship, we rest in all He is.
Scripture highlights various individuals with a wide spectrum of personalities and experiences that worshiped with reverence. Although I have specified Scripture(s) for each of these various expressions of worship, there is much to learn from the individuals’ stories. The LORD used and esteemed these people.
- Sacrificial Obedience: Genesis 22:5
- Corporate Worship: Exodus 24:1
- Private Worship: Exodus 34:8
- Surrendered Worship: 2nd Samuel 12:20
- Reverential Worship: Joshua 5:14-15
- Accepting God’s Will: Job 1:20
- Offerings: Matthew 2:11
- Humility, repentance and obedience: Judges 6:12-26
- Consistency in devotion to the Lord: Daniel 6:10
Worship in Strong’s Definition is Number H7812 and matches the Hebrew word שָׁחָה (shachah). It means to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God): to bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, make obeisance or adoration, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.
Conclusion: The Result & Requirement of Unspeakable Joy
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, … you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls. … Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot…. Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, (1st Peter 1:6-9, 13-23)
Thank you for investing this time meditating on what God’s Eternal Word says; and for considering how we can apply His wisdom to our lives daily. May our gracious, loving, and forgiving Saviour bless you as you cooperate with Him to deepen your relationship with Him! Amen and Amen.
All Scripture used in this blog is from the New King James Version, unless otherwise specified.