Monday, November 22, 2010

True Worship Part 5: Corporate Worship

This is important to God (Ephesians 5:19 / 1 Corinthians 12-14). Revelation 4-5 gives us a taste of heaven, and several marks of a God-centered service.

• A high view of God
• A constant focus upon God
• A distinction between God and man
• A deep fear of God
• A people separated unto God
• Repentance toward God
• Prayers to God
• The exaltation of Christ, as worthy, as the only way, as the glory of God

Corporate worship is obviously about more than music, as we have discussed, but part of corporate worship is that it allows us to proclaim truth to each other in song (Colossians 3:16). Personal worship is performed privately, and is a vital component of the Christian life. It reflects the “me and God” component which the Christian enjoys through the cross of Christ. However, it is not quite so with corporate worship. If you view corporate worship as only a “me and God” experience, you will not only lack the joy which comes from corporate worship, but you will be failing to accomplish one of the purposes of our meeting together, which is to edify one another (cf. Hebrews 10:24-25). Since corporate worship allows us to proclaim truth to each other it also allows us to learn truth from one another, with the words and the expressions we give, and the gifts we use. The church is not only taught by the lyrics of the songs, but by the church’s response to these lyrics, it is taught what it looks like to be impacted by truth. If the church fails to utilize such expressions, it has, to some degree, failed to feed its sheep with the teaching that corporate worship should offer.

While private worship is a vital component in the lives of God’s children which allows us to personally express devotion to God, corporate worship is God’s design to give us but a glimpse of what it will be like to be glorified in heaven. One of these things is that the redeemed will be joining together in song (Revelation 4:8, 5:9-12). To see the church congregated together to worship God in song gives us a glimpse of this. It increases in us the hope for future glorification which God has placed in the hearts of his people (Romans 8:24-25). When we envision worshipping God and the only thing which comes into our minds is ourselves, we fail to recognize what we are a part of (1 Peter 2:9).

The purpose of our corporate worship service is for our congregation to worship God. Every church has a liturgy, which refers to the form our public worship takes. That form may involve creeds, organs, bulletins, prayers, electric guitars, videos, and the list goes on and on. The question is not whether or not we have a liturgy, but whether we have a biblical one that includes scriptural elements, rehearses the gospel, builds up the church, and glorifies God. In worship today, there is a tendency toward casualness. The emphasis on feeling God’s closeness in worship may short-circuit our being transformed by a glimpse of the Transcendent One.

Idolatry is alive and well. We must not bow down at the altars of coolness, fame, material success, cutting edge technology, and emotional experience. We can appear to be worshiping God while serving our idols (2 Kings 17:32-41). We err greatly if our focus is on “hitting the right sound/style/song” in our services, rather than consistently and clearly leading our people to worship God in light of the Cross and Resurrection, God’s glory and our gain. Of course, the answer to slick, overproduced, overemotional worship is not shoddy, emotionless worship. Glorifying God by our worship must be our goal, our highest priority (1 Corinthians 10:31), and excellence is part of that. Worship is our highest calling, and it is more than a Saturday night or a Sunday morning or any specific time. Worship is more life than event (Romans 12:1-2).

Psalm 100 is a summary of instructions on how to worship the Lord. Who should worship the Lord? Everyone should (vs.1). How should we worship the Lord? We do it by serving (vs.2a), singing (vs.2b), submitting (vs.3), and sacrificing (vs.4a), both individually (vs.4b), and corporately (vs.4c). Why should we worship the Lord? He is good, loving, and faithful (vs.5).

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

1 comment:

Even So... said...

This is part of session #6 in a 10 session basic training and membership class at our church. You can see all ten weeks in .pdf form on the front page at

You can also see and download them from our "eDocs" section at SermonAudio...