Authentic worship

The psalmist affirms humanity’s ultimate priority with an earnest call to worship our Creator: “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2 KJV). That is our supreme duty for time and eternity—to honor, adore, delight in, glorify, and enjoy God above all His creation, as He is worthy to be worshiped.

My own heart has been relentlessly stalked by the lion of worship over the years as I have traversed the pages of Scripture. My mind has been repeatedly arrested by the awesome majesty of the One we worship; by the ineffable glory of His perfect holiness; and by the pathetic reality of how far short we routinely fall in giving Him the honor He deserves.

One of the first things I discovered is that authentic worship is not a narrowly-defined activity relegated to the Sunday morning church service—or restricted to any single time and place, for that matter. Worship is any essential expression of service rendered unto God by a soul who loves and extols Him for who He is. Real worship therefore should be the full-time, nonstop activity of every believer, and the aim of the exercise ought to be to please God, not merely entertain the worshiper.

…ceaseless worship ought to be every Christian’s highest priority revolutionized and reinvigorated our people.

The typical church today is actually practicing a kind of populist religion that is all about self-love, self-esteem, self-fulfillment, and self-glory. All those things point people in exactly the opposite direction from true worship.

In the minds of many contemporary evangelicals, the word worship signifies the musical portion of the order of service, as opposed to the sermon or the offering. The chief musician is called the “worship leader” to distinguish him from the pastor (whose role apparently is perceived as something other than leading people in worship). Music is, of course, a wonderful medium for worship. But true worship is more than just music, and music—even Christian music—is not necessarily authentic worship.

Music can be an instrument for the expression of worship, but there are other spiritual disciplines that come closer to the essence of pure worship—activities like prayer, giving, thanksgiving, and listening to the Word of god as it is proclaimed and expounded. It is significant that Jesus spoke of truth, not music, as the distinctive mark of true worship (John 4:23–24).

Perhaps even more ominously, the deplorable state of worship in evangelical churches reveals the absence of true reverence and devotion in the private lives of countless church members. Corporate worship, after all, should be the natural overflow of worshiping lives united together in fellowship. This book is therefore a call to personal worship of the thrice-holy God. It is a call to a radically different type of living on the part of the believer: to a way of life that seeks to worship God continually—not just on Sunday. The

~ John MacArthur, Worship: The Ultimate Priority

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