“worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling” Ps 2:11
I is apparent to me that something is lost in modern worship towards God. There is no fear. When Christians fear the Lord, they do bring to God what pleases Him. What pleases them should never even come into the discussion. Reverent fear and trembling makes us to bring only the worship which God has prescribed.
But today the typical worship service – and I’ve experienced them many times when happening in for a visit – is standing, swaying, clapping, loud music with the decibels way too high. People love this. And they are offended if reminded that worship isn’t about pleasing man. The attitude is disturbing to me that besides there being little care about orderliness and edification (which doesn’t happen by a string being picked) but there is a lack of fear for bringing what God didn’t prescribe. Where is the fear?
What should we do? Speak only the Word of God. Do not be presumptuous to add opinion. Eat and drink the emblems of the Lord’s Supper and use that time to reflect back on the sacrifice of Jesus. “Celebrating” the second coming of Jesus isn’t what the Lord’s Supper is about. And it perturbs me to no end to suggest that the words “until he comes”, as in “you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26), is telling us that the Lord’s Supper is a looking forward to the second coming of Christ. It is a memorial and the memorial is observed until he comes again – that’s all. So if you do not wish to reinterpret the meaning of the memorial, do not use that period of worship to direct men’s spirits forward into the future. Look back when you eat the bread and drink the cup. Worship that is reverent includes singing. What’s that? You play the guitar? That’s nice, do it at home because our time of worship in the assembly is not the time to showcase your talent of music making. We sing because God said to sing, Eph 5:19; Col. 3:16. And in reverent worship, there is prayer to the Father through the Son, Jesus Christ, 1 Tim 2:5. And Christians worship by bringing a sacrifice of thanks in the offering of money. It is a worldly person, unconverted in spirit, who is willing to worship God to the point of giving, but then little to nothing is given in the contribution. Why give anything? Well has God given to you? Is your home, car, food, savings, and material gain not the bounty from God? Giving money is the way to demonstrate faith in God’s hand to supply your needs. This is undoubtedly the faith belief rather than the carnal mind that says, “Thanks for nothing God…I have all of this by my own effort.” I have heard such a mocking but it’s not the attitude of someone who understands God. So in your giving, show the same reverence and trembling so that selfishness doesn’t hinder your faith.
When men dismiss the Bible and speak their opinions, they do not trembling at the Lord. When men turn worship into a carnival or a music concert, they intentionally turn the focus to pleasing men which is idolatry. The reverence for God doesn’t allow us to pray to dead saints who cannot hear. The reverent worship of God is a sacrifice and anything less than a sacrifice is as displeasing to God as offering nothing.
I’m writing this to remind us to begin our worship in the proper frame of mind by focusing on reverence. Watch for people to get defensive and respond with passages against fearing God. And it’s true that perfect love cast out all fear (1 Jn 4), but when love is not perfected because men offer to Him self-willed worship, they should fear. When we truly revere God, our actions in worship will be done according to His will.