The Discipline of Worship
“In public worship all should join. The little strings go to make up a concert, as well as the great. Though you have but little grace, yet God’s worship would not be complete without you.”
Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680)
Donald Whitney tells the story of his tenth birthday and how everything that day went perfectly from the hot dogs, to the cake, to the gifts and the games. But the highlight for Whitney was paying for each of his friends to go to the local high school basketball game. They left the party and loaded in his parent’s station wagon and headed to the hottest event in his town on that Friday night. But the excitement of the evening was shattered when, once inside, each of his friends scattered in all directions never to be seen again. There were no thanks for the party, no thanks for the food and fun, no thanks for bringing me to the game, just a scampering off to sit with someone else without so much as a word of gratitude. Don tells how he spent the rest of the night watching the game alone.
The author’s point in telling that story was not to gain sympathy, but because it reminded him of the way we often treat the Lord. Though we come to an event where he is the guest of honour, it is possible to give him a customary gift, sing a few songs, and then totally neglect Him. I am reminded of Matthew 15:8-9 “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me.”
How can we worship God and not worship in vain? Lets look at two truths … and some scriptures for you to consider.
1. Worship is … Focusing on and Responding to the Lord – To worship God is to ascribe the proper worth to God, to magnify His worthiness of praise, or better, to approach and address God, as He is worthy. The more we focus on Him the more we understand and appreciate how worthy He is. (Isaiah 6:1-8; Revelation 4:1-11)
2. Worship is … Expected BOTH Publically and Privately – The first habit in the discipline of worship is the habit of faithfully assembling with other believers for corporate worship. WE see this in Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” There is no wiggle room here. We are obligated by God to assemble with other believer’s for the express purpose of worshipping God. Not only are we to worship publically, with the gathered body of Christ, but, we are also to worship the Lord privately. It was the great puritan Matthew Henry who said “Public worship will not excuse us from secret worship.” WE have recorded in Luke 5:16 that the Lord Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” The Son of God understood the necessity of private worship … how much more should we?
The Spiritual Discipline of publicly and privately worshiping God is one of the means He has given us to receive the grace to grow in Christ-likeness. As we grow stronger in the worship of God, we grow stronger in the likeness of Christ. Perhaps Calvin Coolidge said much more than he realized when he asserted, “It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow.”
See You Sunday … as we Worship TOGETHER