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November 15, 2013

TISCIONE: Worship for entertainment or edification?

By LOU TISCIONE

When we gather for corporate worship, is it to be entertained or to be humbled? Of course our answer would be submission in humility. The most basic attitude for a Christian, especially in worship, is humility. The Bible teaches that an important byproduct of genuine worship is the edification of the worshiper. (Psalm 73:16-17 and Hebrews 10:23-25)

The Psalmist called God’s people to “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” (Psalm 96:9)

One of the most comprehensive books outside of the Bible written on the subject of biblical worship is, “Recalling the Hope of Glory … biblical worship from the garden to the new creation.”

The author, Dr. Allen P. Ross, defined worship precisely: “True worship is the celebration of being in covenant fellowship with the sovereign and holy triune God, by means of the reverent adoration and spontaneous praise of God’s nature and works, the expressed commitment of trust and obedience to the covenant responsibilities, and the memorial reenactment of entering into covenant through ritual acts, all with the confident anticipation of the fulfillment of the covenant promises in glory.”

Reading Dr. Ross’ long definition causes me to “feel” the weight of worship.

Knowing and feeling the weight of worship is indeed what every believer ought to experience. We gather before the God who is “holy, holy, holy.” (Isaiah 6:3) We worship the God who has revealed Himself as the God of all glory. We come before Him not in familiarity but in reverent fear of an intimacy that is an acknowledgment of our unworthiness to be in His presence.

Yet in the western church we hear of worship services designed by and for so-called seekers. We see corporate worship designed to attract people; formatted so as not to offend the unbeliever.

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