by Rick Pidcock
Have you ever lost your wallet and thought you were about to lose your mind? Last summer, Ruth Ellen and I went on vacation to visit her family in Maryland. And about half way through the trip, I had no idea where my wallet was.
To make a long story short, we nearly tore the entire house apart looking for it, but to no avail. Thankfully, the airlines still allowed us to return to Denver. And eventually, a generous stranger mailed me my wallet. But for a while there, I was frantic.
John 4:23 says, “…True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”
This article is about the role of the Father as the Sovereign Seeker of true worshipers. I pray that you will see in the next few pages that the Father is a much different type of Seeker than we are. He does not seek worshipers like you and I search for lost wallets, frantically hoping to find it. Instead, He seeks worshipers in a much different way. THE FATHER CREATES TRUE WORSHIPERS.
John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Worship begins with the Father. Not only is it improbable that we would just decide to worship the Father, it is impossible. He is the Great Initiator who draws us in to become true worshipers. Ephesians 1 is one of the clearest chapters on how the role of the Father as the Sovereign Seeker relates to God-centered worship. Let’s just take the next few pages and gaze upon all that the Father means to our worship.
1. He chose us before creation.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” –Ephesians 1:3, 4
Before God chose the color of the sun, He chose you. Before He chose the texture of snow, He chose you. Before any foundational preparation for the entire universe was made, God chose you and me to be His worshipers. Notice the explicit connection between the choice of the Father and worship.
The purpose of God’s choosing us is “that we should be holy and blameless before him.” In other words, God chose us so that we would become whole-life worshipers. And what is the purpose and result of whole-life worship? Magnifying the supremacy of God.
2. He predestined us for adoption.
“In love, he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” –Ephesians 1:5-6
God the Father predetermined that you and I would be adopted as His children. That is the essence of predestination. God specifically predetermined our destiny to be His children. He is now our Father. Jesus is our firstborn Brother. And we have all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that come with the blessing of God’s predetermined adoption.
Once again, notice the explicit connection between God’s predetermined adoption and worship. Verse six says, “…to the praise of his glorious grace.” The reason that the Sovereign Seeker has predestined us is not to show us how special we are, but to show us how special He is. It is for the furtherance of worshiping Him for how gloriously gracious He has been to us in Christ.
3. He redeemed us through Christ.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.” –Ephesians 1:7, 8
We have forgotten the gore of the cross. We read phrases such as “redemption through his blood.” And while it sounds almost sing-songy in a theological kind of way, it does not bring to mind the depth of the wrath that Christ was under.
The wrath that Christ was under through the shedding of His blood had to be sufficient to satisfy the righteous demands of the Father. Because Christ accomplished the satisfying of the Father’s righteous glory through the shedding of His blood, the Father can now redeem us by forgiving our sins. Because of Christ, the Father can now lavish the riches of His grace upon us.
So how is this connected to worship? Verse seven says, “…according to the riches his grace.” Ultimately, this points us to the wondrous riches of the Father’s grace. And as a result, how can we do anything but joyously turn to Him in repentant faith and pursue His rich grace every day?
4. He revealed to us His will.
“Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” –Ephesians 1:9, 10
Unity is something that is often abused. But it is something that must not be feared. Biblical unity is the purpose of the will of God. And as such, we should pursue it to the glory of the unified Triune God. The will of the Father is to unite us in Christ.
Once again, this points us to worship because unity is something that cannot take place apart from the gospel that glorifies God. We are a splintered creation—torn apart by our own greed and pride. And only a Sovereign Seeker who re-creates us into true worshipers can unify us. As a result, this re-creative unity points us, not to the glory of our own splintered separatism, but to the glorious power of the One who unites—chiefly our Father.
5. He blessed us with an inheritance.
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.”—Ephesians 1:11-12
An inheritance is a possession that one receives based upon his relationship with the person giving it. Because we have been predestined by the Sovereign Seeker, we have been given an inheritance in Christ.
I would encourage you to do a study on the inheritance that we have in Christ. Because God has predetermined to adopt us in Christ, we have become heirs of the earth, salvation, blessing, glory, incorruption, eternal life, grace, and every other promise of God. Once again, the purpose of the Father’s blessing of inheritance is worship. He did it so that we “might be to the praise of his glory.”
6. He sealed us with His Spirit.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”—Ephesians 1:13-14
The guarantee for our inheritance from the Father is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. The fact that the Holy Spirit indwells us based on the merits of Christ confirms God’s pledge of inheritance for us.
Just as in each of the other aspects of the Father’s sovereign seeking that we have considered in this chapter, His sealing is also for the purpose of worship. In verse fourteen, we read the words, “…to the praise of his glory.”
Jesus said, “All that the Father has given me will come to me.” Worship is the continual act of coming to God by faith for His glory. And it all begins, not with our own inhibition, but with the sovereign seeking of the Father.
In closing this article, I fear that we often view worship as dependent upon us. God saves. We worship. But I hope that you will begin to see over these next few chapters that worship is ultimately dependent upon God. And I pray that you will also be encouraged as we dive into the God-centered roles of the Father, Spirit and Son in worship.
The Father is the Sovereign Seeker. But His sovereign seeking is not anything like our frantic seeking. He seeks worshipers by creating them through His choice, predestined adoption, redemption, revelation, inheritance, and sealing. Thus, all of worship is initiated by the Father for the glory of the Father.