Evangelical Worship Edition
January 25, 2016. In this edition we are going to be taking a look at the next song on the top new song list for 2015 found at Worship Together. Today’s song is “One Thing” by Hillsong Worship. If you’re idea of a worship song is to take the typical “woo your girlfriend for romance” type of song and replace “girlfriend” with “Jesus” and “romance” with a mystical experience (or just leave it as it is and call it ‘passion’), then this is the song for you. *sigh*
This should never be played in a church service… but what worries me is that this was probably aggressively pushed at youth conferences/rallies/retreats.
Hillsong Worship Lyric Video
Lyrics (via Worship Together)
I tasted the world, seen more than
Enough, it’s promises fleeting.
Of water and wine I emptied the cup
And found myself wanting
But there is a well that never runs dry
The water of life, the blood of the Vine
And all I know is everything
I have means nothing
Jesus, if You’re not my one thing
Everything I need right now
All I need is You right now
‘Cuz all i want is
Everything you are and nothing
Jesus if you’re not my one thing
Every thing to me right now
Just one thing I ask
And this I will seek, if
Only to know You
To be where You are and
Go where You lead, my God, I will follow
The things of this world, I’ve counted as loss
I lay it all down to take up this cross
And I’ll sing, Whoa , whoa
I want nothing but to know
You and Be with You, my God
Writer(s): Joel Houston, Aodhan King, Dylan Thomas
Theme(s): Call to Worship , Commitment & Dedication , Faith & Trust , Peace & Hope
CCLI #: 4869957
Scripture Reference(s): John 4:14; Psalm 27:4
Let’s begin with its Scripture Reference(s):
John 4:14 (ESV) but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
Clearly this single verse isn’t the complete thought. However, this passage wasn’t torn out of its context for this song. The passage is referenced in a manner consistent with its context… though I really wish they’d reference the full passage. The point of the first verse of this song is an attempt to place the singer in the shoes of the adulterous Samaritan woman at the well. Let’s read it in its context.
John 4:1-42 (ESV) | Jesus and the Woman of Samaria
4 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
Such a powerful story. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Christ, to the Samaritans. But what is the water that flows from Jesus and becomes a spring of water in us unto eternal life? The Gospel of Jesus Christ, of forgiveness, of the waters of Baptism, of the resurrection and the Life in Christ Jesus. Does this song faithfully convey this? No… true to Hillsong teaching, it’s switched from the Gospel to some emotional worship experience that comes as a result of “making Jesus your One Thing”. What does that even mean? We’ll get to that, but for now lets move on to the other referenced passage.
Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
This passage is used to explain the rest of the song. This one isn’t kept as contextually based as the other. The Seeker-driven approach to corporate worship connects exuberance and excitement to attend a Hillsong concert, or “worship experience” to dwelling in the house of the Lord and inquiring in his temple. They don’t focus on preaching the Word of the Lord, Law and Gospel. They are selling the exuberance, the emotion, the passion of the moment. Hillsong preaches the prosperity false-gospel, so they didn’t include the rest of the Psalm that demonstrates hardship and hard times. No, they pulled verse 4 to turn it into a formula that the song is presenting… If I make Jesus my One Thing, then I’ll have everything I need and nothing else will matter. The problem with this formula is the “if I make Jesus my One Thing”. No one is capable of making Jesus their one thing… for we are all sinners. We sin. This is LAW (do this to be righteous). The Samaritan at the well was familiar with the LAW… it wasn’t the LAW that forgave her, it was the Gospel. In this Psalm, David has asked for permission to dwell in the house of the Lord… and committed himself to seeking Him in His House. But he asked, because the LORD gives by His Grace and Mercy… it cannot be granted us by our merit, for we don’t merit anything and our vows are worthless. Only in Christ are granted access to God, adopted as sons through Him.
Verses. These verses are quite pious in their claims at rejecting earthly living. Notice there isn’t a mention of sin, guilt, shame, or repentance… there’s just a sense of “well, I’ve tried the world and am left empty and wanting more… I’m not satisfied”. This is the problem that Prosperity doctrine tries to remedy… not sin and the Wrath of God, but mediocrity, blandness, unfulfilled living. I don’t like throwing out the “pelagian” card, but that philosophy is here… as if to say that we are somewhat neutral at our core, but we’ve been looking to the wrong places for fulfillment… when what we should be doing is ignoring everything but Jesus so we can finally be fulfilled. That’s not preaching neither God’s Law nor His Gospel… it’s scratching itching ears and teaching for shameful gain what ought not be taught.
Choruses. Here’s the wooing of “girlfriend Jesus”… where impossible promises are made to secure an intimate experience. No one else matters to me, hun, you’re the only one I see… No one holds a candle to your radiant sunshine… or more directly, Nothing else matters to me than to make you my One Thing right now, in this moment, in this place.
So, the point of this song is to make a promise to Jesus that “you’ll make Him your One Thing” so that He’ll give you an emotional/spiritual experience in this moment… so you can feel Him… and then nothing else in the world will matter. So… what happens if you don’t feel Him? Well, just walk through the song to see that clearly you haven’t made Him your One Thing. You need to give sacrificially of your time or money… you need to do more… let go of more… until YOU’VE made Him your One Thing. Anything less than that is failure, worldliness, mediocrity. Law, law, law…. law. Who benefits from this? Hillsong. Who suffers? the congregant who recognizes his/her own sin and crushed by the LAW but isn’t preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sin.
This song is abusive in its theology, and teens are particularly susceptible, given their fixation on the “here and now” and “emotional intelligence”. But they are not the only susceptible group… millions of people worldwide are held captive under this false doctrine of “experience” and law-heavy, man-centric piety.
Jesus is the well of Life… and you don’t even get to draw the bucket. He washes you, regenerates you, and Saves you. You contribute nothing but the sin that needs to be forgiven.
Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,