From Part 1:
“Often, people gauge the quality of their worship experiences according to whether their emotions were stirred and whether they left the service feeling motivated. The trouble with such an assessment is that it is very much informed by taste and preference. It is for this reason that we consider it a fruitless exercise to try and assess the relevance or efficacy of any specific form of worship – each have their place and function and believers should enjoy the freedom of participating in worship environments where they feel comfortable.
What we should do, however, is consider some of the qualities that constitute genuine and fruitful worship, seeking to ensure that these qualities are present, whatever contexts we find ourselves in. So, the question is, what are some of the qualities that would constitute Christian worship? Biblically, we have some instructions as to what our worship should contain.”
Access Part 1 here!
- Worship in love
This refers to the affection of our Worship. Service without true warmth leads to drudgery and boredom. Worship is a heartfelt reaction in gratitude towards the goodness of God. We love because He first loved us (1 Joh.4:19) and as the highest expression of that love we love the people of God (Matt.22:39). C. Welton Gaddy says,
“The chief aim of worship is to please God – whether by adoration and praise, prayer and proclamation, confessions and offerings, thanksgiving and commitment, or by all of these actions combined. The point of Worship is to recognize that “God alone matters”… “any potential or alteration in the purpose of Christian worship must be addressed and avoided. A constant temptation towards utilitarianism has to be rejected. To use Christian worship for any purpose other than for the glorification of God is to abuse it. God expects a Church to meet for divine worship without ulterior motives. Thus, worship is not convened so that Church budgets can be pledged, volunteers in ministry enlisted, programs promoted, attendance goals met, or personal problems solved. Authentic worship takes place only in order to honor God. People gather to worship God in order to give everything to God”.
- Worship in Order
Some might think that orderly worship stifles intimacy with the Holy Spirit or that tradition might deflate congregants. Scripture gives a lot of room for expression, freedom, and joy (1 Tim.2:8, Ps.84 &150). But what is important is to notice that Worship is not a mindless exercise. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we find a calculated expression of what God deems necessary. This speaks of the method of our collective Worship. R.C. Sproul writes.
“The worship to which we are called in our renewed state is far too important to be left to personal preferences, to whims, or to marketing strategies. It is the pleasing of God that is at the heart of worship. Therefore, our worship must be informed at every point by the Word of God as we seek God’s own instructions for worship that is pleasing to Him.”
Order is the way God’s people harmonize with each other (Col.2:5) and welcome non-believers into the congregation (1 Cor.14:5-25, 33, 40).
- Worship in Humility
Worship will always lead us to a true estimation of ourselves and a true approximation of God. Humility is not thinking of ourselves less, but thinking less about ourselves. True worship understands the difference between the Creator and us as creatures. Humility refers to the posture of our worship. A.W. Tozer writes,
“It is delightful to worship God, but it is also a humbling thing, and the man who has not been humbled in the presence of God will never be a worshiper of God at all. He may be church member who keeps the rules and obeys the discipline, and who tithes and goes to conference, but he’ll never be a worshiper unless he is deeply humbling.”
James writes as a command to “humble yourselves” (Jam.4:10) and Peter cautions the same (1Pet.5:6). There is a high tax placed on how we should approach the Lord. Jesus is the highest expression of His Incarnational call comes clothed in humility (Phl.2:8). Worship should not be counted as a platform to display our giftedness or skill. Andrew Murray writes in his book on Humility.
“The root of all virtue and grace, of all faith and acceptable worship, is that we know that we have nothing but what we receive and bow in deepest humility to wait upon God for it.”
Worship is the reflection of our truest desire. We are created to Worship, and if we do not worship the One true God, lesser gods will arise and take priority, and temporary affections will become our obsession.
Rev. Hugh Goosen is a minister with the Baptist Union of Southern Africa. He holds a MTh and is in the process of finishing his PhD with a focus in pneumatology. He currently serves as the Ambassador of the South African Theological Seminary.
Ps Rudolph Boshoff has completed his BTh and his BTh Hons at SATS and is currently pursuing his Masters in Theology with a specific emphasis on Islam at the same institution. He is also actively involved with Cult and Muslim Evangelism (Ad Lucem Ministries) and he also lectures full-time at a local seminary in Randburg (RBC).
 The Gift of Worship. Pg. 40 & 210.
 A Taste of Heaven: Worship in the Light of Eternity.
 Worship: The Missing Jewel, Pg.4- 5.
 Humility, Pg.25.