April 13, 2021

Our Approach to Worship

How seriously does God take the worship of Him?  Does He really accept a “come-as-you-are” philosophy or does He place demands and expectations on us?  In “the church age” where we are “under grace” instead of “under the law,” what does God expect from His worshipers?

I believe that we have gotten away from thinking about what God would have us do because of the emphasis that has been placed on the act of salvation and on eternal security, and I’m not alone.

A.W. Tozer (in the book The Divine Conquest) says this:

The churches (even the gospel churches) are worldly in spirit, morally anemic, on the defensive, imitating instead of initiating and in a wretched state generally because for two full generations they have been told that justification is no more than a “not guilty” verdict pronounced by the Heavenly Father upon the sinner who can present the magic coin faith with the wondrous “open-sesame” engraved upon it.

Indeed, we have gotten to a point that we no longer concern ourselves with our approach to God because we believe that God will accept us “Just as I am” after conversion.  “Since I can worship God anywhere,” the logic goes, “why can I not choose to wear whatever, sing whatever, and be whatever I want when it comes to public worship?”

Two priests had this same thought, and it was a “life-changing” experience for them and their father.  Back in the Old Testament book of Leviticus 10:1ff, Nadab and Abihu thought that they could cut some corners and use some fire that was already burning and they were burned alive by the fire of the Lord.  Aaron was instructed not to weep.

In the New Testament, Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) believed that they could come before the congregation claiming to have done something that they had not and would receive praise– instead the same people that took her husband out took Sapphira out after they were struck dead.

God took the worship of Him seriously.  If God truly is unchanging, then we must assume that He has the same standards today.  So, why doesn’t he act like these two examples all of the time?

I cannot begin to say that I have the mind of God totally here.  An easy answer would be to say that even if we saw these things we would not change our minds.  Looking a little deeper, I would suspect that God is a God of grace, and He is working in lives– disciplining and molding in different ways.  These are pretty spectacular examples, and they are there for instruction, but God deals with each person individually.

Personally, I would take these examples as a warning to look at what He desires.

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3 thoughts on “Our Approach to Worship

  1. I have been reading “The Gospel According to Jesus” by J. MacArthur. What a treat!
    Exactly on the issues of Your series here. I am somewhere in the middle of the book, and let me tell you – it is an eye-opener for an unbeliever and believer alike.
    The main motif of the message is to not only accept Jesus as our Savior, but also, or above all, as our Lord. Those two are inseparable and give the only true meaning of the Gospel, and of our worship, of course.
    A little reminder: 31 October, tomorrow, Reformation Day!

  2. “Going to church” is a phrase I have theological problems with, as it is, much less dressing up so that we will please God when we do it. I’m not sure if that’s what you are talking about or not, so ignore if this isn’t related! lol…

    But first of all, the Body of Christ is the church, not a building attended once a week. Secondly, God is pleased through Christ, not whether or not I dress up or down. My actions should be those that honor and love others, so if I am in the Bible Belt of Texas, I’ll probably dress up to attend a gathering of Believers—since it’s what they do there, and I don’t want to draw attention to myself for something as stupid as clothing.

    But while in Alaska, where people aren’t concerned much about dress, some come dressed in full suits (those are the rare ones, though) but most come in lumberjack shirts and jeans. When someone tells me that you can only respect God in dress clothes, it makes me sick to my stomach. Seriously. I mean, what, these honest loving people aren’t respecting God because they come in a tucked-in flannel shirt and (their usual) scruffy beard? I see more God-honoring here than I ever did in the slick-hair power-suit halls of the huge First Baptist church I worked for in TX… I mean, come on—95% of the men in our congregation don’t even HAVE a full piece suit, unless it’s a leftover from their wedding day 20-30 years ago… Who really wants to stand in the pulpit and tell them God isn’t happy with them, and won’t be, until they fork out the dough to buy a suit?

    Worshipping God *is* serious business. But I think it has very little to do with whether we wear a tie to church.

  3. Molly, there’s always has been a difference between corporate and private worship. Certainly this distinction was seen in the Old Testament with the Temple and the commands, but people who have come face to face with God always did it with reverence.

    To me, there’s a difference between when I’m with God during the day and when I specifically come to a place to worship together with other believers.

    I don’t believe I specifically mentioned a coat and tie– for some, that is the way that they would show respect. What I am saying is that how our outside is is reflective of what is on the inside. If we are coming to a place for the express purpose of worshiping the Creator of the Universe, I would expect that a reverent heart would come in a way to show that awe of the God whom we serve.

    I’m not saying that everyone needs a coat and tie. What I am saying is are you bringing your best or don’t you care. Even Cain had enough sense to bring his best– and we know what happened there. Look at the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament and even if you can’t take away a specific requirement, you can see a pattern of God expecting the best in worship to Him– not sloppy irreverence.

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