Jesus Christ our Lord said, ‘true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship him’ (John 4:23). One of the most amazing facts about God is that he is seeking a people to worship his Son Jesus Christ.
If you have become a Christian, one of the primary purposes of your salvation is that you might joyfully worship the Son of God. There is nothing in the Christian life of any greater importance than this. And yet, tragically, we find few Christians who either understand the nature of true spiritual worship or who practise such worship. We should ask ourselves right here at this point – Is there a true spirit of worship in our hearts and in our churches?
The presence of Christ
A. W. Tozer once wrote, ‘There are today many millions of people who hold right opinions, probably more than ever before in the history of the church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the church, the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the “program”. This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us’.
Biblical and spiritual worship is the soul’s longing to see the glory and the beauty of Jesus Christ. When worshippers see Christ they will have the joy of experiencing the presence of Christ.
Worship is at its fullest and richest point when our souls are lost in the wonder of the glory and majesty of God. Much of what passes for worship today will not produce this. The shallow and superficial services that characterise this present generation are producing neither true worshippers nor great saints.
Understanding biblical worship
In order to understand biblical worship and to realise exactly what it is that the Father is seeking of us, we need to examine worship at its purest level. When we turn to the Bible we find many examples of people who worshipped God. But the clearest and most sublime example is the picture that John draws in the book of Revelation.
In chapters 4-5 the Lord pulls back the curtain and allows us to glimpse what I call ‘Throne-room worship’. In these two chapters, we actually see a worship service taking place in heaven in the throne room of God. If we are to worship biblically, we must make certain that our worship on earth reflects the example and direction of heavenly worship.
There are many lessons in these chapters but we have space only to consider the first, namely, that spiritual worship is God-centred.
As John glimpses the worship service in heaven he says, ‘Immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold a throne set in heaven, and one sat on the throne’ (Revelation 4:2).
At the very outset, we notice that God is in the centre of spiritual worship. Our focus and attention is immediately drawn to him. God-centred worship simply means that God’s glory, honour, majesty and will are foremost in our thoughts and desires.
So often today worship is man-centred rather than God-centred. But my desire and prayer is that the church of Jesus Christ will once again discover true worship – that the church will rediscover and return to biblical throne-room worship.
A. W. Tozer wrote, ‘The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base, as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
‘For this reason the gravest question before the church is always God himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he … may say or do but what he, in his deep heart, conceives God to be like’.