Too many, throughout history have lived through the pain associated with the struggle to find an appropriate expression in the worship of God. Why would worship, that which should unite us, so often divides us? Could it be that our focus when we gather to worship is misplaced?
Walter Thomas Conner, Southern Baptist theologian and professor at Southwestern Theological Seminary, wrote, “The first business, then, of a church is not evangelism, nor missions, nor benevolence, it is worship. The worship of God in Christ should be at the heart of all else the church does.”
If worship is at the heart of all else the church does, where does worship begin?
Biblical worship begins when we understand that worship is a matter of God’s pursuit of His most prized creation – man.
A.W. Tozer highlighted this truth when he wrote, “When Adam sinned it was not he who cried, ‘God, where art Thou?’ It was God who cried, ‘Adam, where art thou?’”
Worship then is a matter of God’s desire to have man relate to Him in a worthy manner. God, being God, does not need to be worshiped by man, but “wants us to worship Him. He doesn’t need us, for He couldn’t be a self-sufficient God and need anything or anybody, but He wants us.” Said another way, you have nothing that God could want or need, but you are everything God desires. Thus, God pursues you, to reconcile you to Himself, in order to restore a proper relationship that acknowledges Him as the King of Glory (Psalm 24:10).
According to D.A. Carson, “Worship is the proper response of all moral, sentient beings to God, ascribing all honor and worth to their Creator-God precisely because he is worthy, delightfully so.”
Worship is our response to our Creator’s invitation to join Him where He is as we rejoice in knowing He has asked us to meet with Him. The Creator, not the creature is to be the focus in worship. The heart of worship then should be our desire to honor the Lord as we gather in His Name. God has not left us without instructions as to how we might honor Him in worship. The Bible is our manual for worship that is pleasing and acceptable to God. It is the Bible that reveals, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, HCSB).
All things have their beginning with God and are intended for Him, “For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16, HCSB).
For worship to honor the Lord, it must follow the pattern provided in the text of the Bible.
Chuck Groover is pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.