Getting Our WORSHIP House in Order!
I think there are many ideas that we Christians can “let slide,” so to speak. We don’t need to be too jazzed up about lots of matters in the life of the church. We’ve learned over the long haul that some of the stuff we’ve traditionally argued over isn’t really that important. In reality, we’ve been uptight about too many harmless customs. We were guilty of what Jesus described in Matthew 23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”
But the one thing we have to get right, leaving no room for error, is our worship. Worshipping God occupies the first four of the ten commandments and should be the first and greatest principle of our lives. Jesus taught that “the Father is seeking people to worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4). Worshipping God is defined in the New Testament as “loving the Lord your God.” It involves all different aspects of our lives, including our minds and our hearts. It involves the more formal aspects of our liturgy, like praise, prayer, and sharing in the sacraments. But it also includes our daily habits and actions. To the committed Christian, our everyday lives are potentially acts of worship. We don’t practice a “segregated” faith. There is no “secular” or “sacred” to us. As Mr. Tozer famously said, “worship is the everlasting preoccupation” of the believer in Jesus.
I have no interest in arguing over “contemporary” or “traditional” styles of worship, but I am prepared to go “toe to toe” over the matter of a correct understanding of the nature of worship. I fear that worship has become a “show” in too many churches. Don’t get me wrong. Any style of worship can deteriorate into a show of man’s glory in his talent. It’s quite simple for me. When I worship with God’s people, I ask myself if the people leading and the manner in which they do seem to be hallowing the name of the Lord. Do they present the humility and reverence that His name and His honour deserve? Do they lead us in worship with the passion and purity that honour their role?
It turns out that Paul was concerned about the same idea when he wrote to the divided church in Corinth. While addressing the abuses that were happening in Corinth, he exposed his very deep passion for the genuine and honourable worship of the God we love and serve. He addressed the abuses of various gifts used by that ancient church by reminding them that everything we do should reflect the character and authority of the great Father we worship and serve.
He called them to get their worship house in order so that it was clear to everyone that “God really is among you.” The presence of God can be so overwhelming that those who do not know Him will come under the great conviction of their sin and will fall down in repentance and worship, having had “the secrets of their hearts revealed.”
Church family, I look forward to worshipping God with you in prayer, praise, and the study of His Word. I will be speaking to you from 1 Corinthians 14. I want to address the subject of “getting our worship house in order.” See you at the 9 a.m. or the 11 a.m. service.