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Monday, May 18, 2015

One Test for God-Centered Worship

One of the results of worship that it unifies believers; when unity is not being achieved, then some aspect of worship is not being followed as God desires or as Scripture teaches. Worship was to be central to the life of the Israelites:

– The Ark was literally in the center of the tribes as they traveled in the wilderness and helped them focus on a central point as they watched the cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night.

–The major worship feasts brought the people together 3 times a year after they entered the land promised by God.

– After the northern tribes split from Judah during the reign of Rehoboam,  Jeroboam had two golden calves built under the guise of convenience, but to draw the Israelites away from returning to worship in Jerusalem for fear that their continued worship would work to re-unify the kingdoms.

– The very mystery of the Trinity reflects unity in diversity; we worship a God that is Three in One.

– One of the central themes in Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is “that they may be one as You and I are One.” Since unity is Jesus’ desire, worship that fails to bring unity, works in contrary to the prayer of the Son of God.

– One of the few visions of heavenly worship in Revelation describes myriads of every tribe, tongue and nation centered around the Lamb on His throne.  

– Paul put it this way: “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” [Rom. 11:36] “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” [Gal. 3:28]

I cannot fathom getting to heaven, seeing the countless myriads of worshipers gathered around the throne of God, actually seeing the nail prints in the hands of the Lord Jesus who sacrificed Himself so that we might have a relationship with Him and then saying, “Lord, can I move over to the other side of heaven, since I like the angels that sing over there better.”  Ridiculous? Of course it is.

Of course it is.  Worship is not about what pleases me, but our obedient response to God. We dare not forget that as we pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we must apply that to our worship as well. The worship of heaven is our model for worship on earth. When we set as a goal of worship “Making me happy,” we will neither please God, nor make ourselves happy. Only as we fulfill God’s design do we find true fulfillment and peace, regardless of the circumstances. Worship based on likes and dislikes, but a throwback to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and their decision to become the judge of what was right, wrong, and good for their lives.

Until we submit ourselves to God and worship Him as He desires; we will continue to see worship divide, rather than unite.  As long as we demand the right to define what worship is, then we will continue to deceive ourselves in self indulgence. When we see worship coming off its Christ-centered base, then we can be sure that division is not far away.


  1. Amen to this post! Psalm 133 - "Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity! ... For there the Lord commands the blessing, life forever more." As you point out, God centered worship results in unity. I would also submit that when we strive for a culture of greater unity in our worship practices (hint: be more inclusive of those not like us), then as a result there is greater blessing - and our worship becomes more God-centered. Thanks Ed.

  2. Thanks, Rob. Let's keep praying for the unity that results from biblical worship.