As we look forward to our Sunday gathering once again I would like to look at the following quote about worship from David Peterson:
“There is no doubt that Scripture has much to say about the part we play in the adoration and service of God. So, worship is often defined quite broadly as our response to God. However, there is an important theological context to be considered when worship is presented in such terms. That is, we need to ask what role God plays in the engagement or relationship which is true and acceptable worship. At one level we must discover from his own self-revelation in Scripture what pleases him. We cannot simply determine for ourselves what is honouring to him. In particular, we need to take seriously the extraordinary biblical perspective that acceptable worship is something made possible for us by God.”*
Do you ever think about the fact that there are unacceptable ways to try to worship God? That is something that we may not like to hear as Evangelical Christians who are often keenly aware of God’s extraordinary love for us and his desire to draw us to himself. However, the Bible is very clear about God’s love as well as his holiness. Notice above how I stated try to worship God. That was intentional. It’s because I think that the Bible is forthright in telling us that if we are worshipping God in unacceptable ways, that is, ways that he does not accept, that we are not actually worshipping God at all. We are worshipping something else or some idea of God that isn’t true.
It is a glorious reality that, as Christians, we have been rescued from the depths of sin and death and hell by an infinitely glorious Savior. However, because we still remain in this world and in sinful bodies we continue to battle the remnants of sin in our hearts and our lives. And because of the battle with remaining sin we tend to forget the glories of God and drift into idol worship. We try to live from our own strength instead of confessing the indisputable reality of our own weakness. We confess our need for a Savior in the moment of our conversion, yet, after a while, we start to believe that we have arrived and we no longer struggle with sin.
What should happen instead is that we should grow more and more aware of the presence of sin in our lives and our desperate need for rescue at every moment and every turn. When we realize that sin is overwhelming and that there is an answer and remedy for sin in the death and resurrection of Christ, our hearts are overwhelmed with thanksgiving and praise! We lose all confidence in our own abilities and we once again rest in the reality that Jesus paid it all! This is the essence of worship.
Jesus alone makes our worship possible and acceptable before an infinitely holy God. Will we forsake our own self-righteousness once again today and bow our hearts in worship to the One who is all that we need? Will we allow this fuel us to experience the unique, life-giving worship that exists when God’s people gather in his name to worship him corporately once again this Sunday?
For this Sunday:
We will be continuing our series in the Gospel of Mark. Pastor Mark will be preaching from the Mark 12:13-17 and the title of his sermon will be “Jesus and the Role of the Government.” The songs that we will be singing are:
Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
This Is Our God
Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor
All I Have Is Christ
The choir and orchestra will be presenting a song called The Beautiful Body of Christ as the offertory. We ask that you would spend time reading through the passage of Scripture that will be the focus of our sermon. Pray for everyone who attends our worship service and that everything that happens in our worship will point us to the work of Jesus on our behalf. Let us consider, once again, how to stir up one another to love and good works.
See you Sunday!
*Peterson, David. Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992, 19.