Worship

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"s.D.g." Those three letters written in the same order and in the exact upper and lower cases, were once the common signature of the great German musical composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), inscribed at the end of most of his many musical compositions. 

As an extraordinarily gifted musician, Bach believed that, the aim and final end of all music should be none other than for the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. Of course, as a musical director over four Lutheran churches in Germany, he meant music used in the public worship of the living God (at that time there was no other form of or purpose for music). And even though music exists in all types, styles, and forms today, its common end is typically more self-serving and for the glory of man, rather than for the glory of God. Of course, as God’s blood-bought and free-graced people, we are yet free to go forward and experience a variety of musical forms. However, we must still make it our aim to predominantly listen to music that brings glory to God and refreshes our souls! This is no more needful than in the area of our Lord’s Day public worship services. The music used in the average church today must have only one Scriptural-purpose: to aid God’s people in the singing of lyrics that are Joy-filled, God-centered, and Word-driven, which moves them toward the giving of authentic praise to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 1:3-4)! In other words, its intention should be to prepare our hearts to give both to the work of God, and to receive the Word of God (James 1:21, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls). Therefore, music is a servant of the living God, to move His people toward the adoration of Him, the confession of their sins against Him, and then toward the offering of thanksgiving to His Holy name! Nevertheless, many churches today believe, by their own definition, that “a powerful, exhilarating, musical experience on Sunday morning constitutes God-approved worship.” But that is a narrow and Scripturally-deficient definition of public worship. Because God-owned Public Worship (Leviticus 10:1-3) involves purely and simply: The giving of our spiritual service in worship; the giving of tithes and offerings; the singing of praise; the reading of Scripture; the offering of prayers; the preaching of the Word of God; and the regular celebration of the sacraments --  both the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. So, these various facets in the worship service are true Worship! And they flow best when we are engaging regularly and individually in personal and private worship, and also when our families are faithfully, engagingly, consistently, and resiliently, carrying-out the practice of daily Family Worship (Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”; Psalm 78:1-8)! The fruit of this life of worship, then issues-forth in the proper offering of “true worship” to the living God, with His people, on His day (Revelation 1:10). This is what He desires, and this is what He’s seeking, the woman said to Jesus, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:19-24). Such worship, is true worship, and is always well-ordered (1 Timothy 3:15), reverent, joyful (Psalm 2:11), God-glorifying, and inhabited by God (Psalm 22:3).  “If, therefore, the whole church comes together…and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you…” (1 Corinthians 14:23-26). Soli Deo Gloria! 

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