Worship

Posted: February 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

Wayne Grudem opens Chapter 51 of his Systematic Theology stating “The term worship is sometimes applied to all of a Christian’s life, and it is rightly said that everything in our life should be an act of worship, and everything the church does should be considered worship, for everything we do should glorify God.  However, in this chapter I am not using the word in that broad sense.  Rather, I am using the worship in a more specific sense to refer to the music and words that accompany that praise, especially when Christians assemble together.”

So, Grudem defines worship as “the activity of glorifying God in his presence with our voices and hearts” (Col. 3:16).  As Grudem notes (quoting the late, great Ed Clowney), God has always desired that his people worship Him and worship Him corporately (See Exod. 7:16).

Corporate worship is not just a nice thing we may or may not feel like doing now but is, as Scriptures such as Isa. 2:2-4; 25:6-8; 49:22; 66:18-21; Jer. 48:47; 49:6, 39 attest, worship by all believers together is a point of history itself. 

Grudem quotes Clowney again who elegantly stated,

Reverent corporate worship, then, is not optional for the church of God…Rather, it brings to expression the very being of the church.  It manifests on earth the reality of the heavenly assembly.

Grudem then writes, “Worship is therefore a direct expression of our ultimate purpose for living, ‘to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever.'”

What are the results of worship? (1) “We delight in God” (Ps. 16:11; 27:4; 73:25; 84:1-2, 4, 10; (2) “God delights in us” (Isa. 62:3-5; Zeph. 3:17); (3) “We draw near to God: the amazing unseen reality of new covenant (Heb. 10:19, 22; 12:18-24, 28-29); (4) “God draws near to us” (James 4:8); (5) “God ministers to us” (2 Cor. 3:18); (6) “The Lord’s enemies flee” (2 Chron. 20:21-22); and (7) “Unbelievers know they are in God’s presence” (1 Cor. 14:25). 

Grudem points out that the Apostle Paul writes that worship is not a waste of time but the best use of it, see Eph. 5:15-20.

How can we truly worship? This is largely the job of the Holy Spirit working within us (John 4:23-24).  So, let us all strive for true worship by, to paraphrase Jonathan Edwards, work hard for God to bring us closer to Him by stripping the dross away through prayer and fasting and turning ourselves over to the Spirit of God.

May we give glory and honor to the only one truly deserving of praise.

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