Sunday, March 11, 2012

Biblical Thoughts on Worship

My pastor at Colonial Hills Baptist Church (Taylors, SC) preached another sermon this evening in a series on biblical worship.  It was another great installment in the series.  Because his points were so valuable, I want to share all six of them here.

1.  Worship was not designed to be entertaining.  Perhaps the most obvious problem with what is called "contemporary worship" is that it is, in fact, designed to entertain those in attendance.  We are to "give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name" (Psalm 29:2, 96:8) whether or not it is admired by those around us.

As a corollary point, special music is a ministry, not a performance.  I do not believe it is appropriate to applaud special music in a church service, for that gives honor to the person(s) who provides the music, not the God about whom he or she is singing.  Let the focus of the music be on Him.

2.  Worship is not primarily for the benefit of the individual.  Worship is to give God His due, to ascribe to Him the worth which is His.  It is not primarily to make us feel better (although, of course, it is certainly acceptable to feel better because you have worshipped biblically).

3.  Worship, in its precepts, practices, and principles, is not determined by man.  It's not about you.  It's not about me.  It's about God, and He has a lot to say about how He is to be worshipped in His Word.  To think that I have ideas about how to do it "better" is foolish.

4.  Worship is not primarily a time of asking but of surrendering.  When we come to worship, we must surrender our will to do our own thing.

5.  Worship is not primarily to compliment the accomplishments of man.  While there is a place and a time for congratulating and thanking those who are worthy of such, it is still not the focus of worship.  That focus belongs to God.  Corollary points about musicians can be made here, too.

(Side note:  It is altogether appropriate to thank the musicians who serve in church, especially if their music enhances biblical worship.  We had a men's group this evening do a fine job singing a song with a clear message; for that I am especially thankful.)

6.  Worship is not primarily to obtain the accolades of man.  If the pastor's sermon draws praise because of his eloquence, logical skills, or creative thought, and not for putting the attention of the congregation on God, there's a problem somewhere.  Certainly, there are some pastors who are "menpleasers" instead of "servants of Christ" (Eph. 6:5-7); this is not conducive to true worship.

Christians today need to stand strong against the "redefining" of worship to mean whatever man thinks it should mean.  God speaks about the worship He demands; it is wise for us to read what He has given us.