One of the highlights on our recent trip to Israel was the times of worship! Our team had an abundance of angelic voices that harmonized beautifully and had a few worship leaders too. One day we gathered in historic Saint Anne’s church in Jerusalem where the acoustics are stunning and sang the well-known hymn It is Well. At one point I just had to stop singing in order to soak in the words of praise, which echoed off the ancient stonewalls. The music broke right through to my heart. All of us felt the same and we ended up singing several songs! At that moment there was a thin line separating heaven from earth, it was as if Jesus was standing right in front of us-taking it all in with joy.
One of the ways the church crashes the gates of hell is by exalting the name of Christ in worship. When our focus is on King Jesus and all He has done for us through His life, death, resurrection and reign we release the power of heaven and bring it to earth. Over the years in ministry I have seen the Holy Spirit use the power of praise to open up the hardest of hearts to a Jesus.
I have walked up to the pulpit after the Holy Spirit swooped in during worship and felt an open heaven above me to share the Gospel with an authority that came from another world. That is why I believe Worship and the Word must be intertwined so closely together.
In Matthew 16, immediately after Jesus declares that this community of followers who confess His name will overcome the “gates of Hades”, He adds;
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (vs. 19).
I believe the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” point us once again back to Jesus. Jesus opened up the door of heaven for us through the cross and all who confess Him as Lord and Savior have free access to God. A heart focused on Jesus in worship dwells in the heavenly realm, which will release a Spirit driven passion to share and live the Gospel message of love. Worship filled lives can’t help but flood the world with the Good News of Jesus-Who is the only ONE who can open the door to the joy of Heaven.
Last Friday night my daughter Anna invited my wife and I to a worship time with five other churches. The three hours flew by as we corporately focused on Jesus. With unified hearts we confessed sin, shouted praise, lifted holy hands in prayer, danced, and sang our hearts out to Jesus. Jesus responded as people were healed, the power of satan broken, prison doors opened, and spiritual captives were set free as the Good News of the Gospel flooded the hearts of many with Heaven’s fire.
Make the worship of Jesus your # 1 priority and watch how the doors of Heaven will break open and the power of the Gospel will flow in and through your life to the world around you.