Who Serves Whom?

Brothers and sisters, here we are again, at the center of all creation. We have gathered here, in response to the Triune God’s command, to worship Him. We need to remember several things about what God does in worship and what we are expected to do.

God evaluates us in worship. God sees our hearts and knows our frame, from fingernails to split ends to little toes. He knows our motives and our true heart condition. Therefore, we must remember to present everything we do in the name of Jesus Christ.

God serves us in worship. That may sound a bit strange to the ears of someone who, with a high view of God’s sovereignty and glory, is not comfortable with seeing God as anything but the recipient during worship. We give Him glory. We give Him praise. But don’t squirm at those words. God serves us in worship. We give Him glory and praise precisely by receiving from Him. What do we have that we did not first receive from Him? And why to we give Him glory except because He gives us grace through His Son? God serves us in the “service of worship.” He ministers mercy and forgiveness and power for holy living, and He asserts through us His Lordship and awesome glory in the world. Therefore, receive the grace of His loving service through the covenant renewal.

What is expected of us in worship?

It follows that our job is to present ourselves in spirit and in truth. We sing from hearts and minds fully enlivened with the awareness that God is with us in Christ and within us by the Spirit of Christ, so we sing heartily. We don’t mumble the confession. We confess it loudly, boldly, earnestly. We don’t pray with passive minds. We grasp the confessions of sin and the words of praise and the intercessions and make them our own. We don’t hear the Word of God read and preached and eaten and drunk in the Supper with the blasé manner of a disinterested spectator. We are hearkening to the King of kings, the God of all grace who has come near. So let us be zealots, unashamed flaming brands of praise.

And it also follows that we receive from God. He serves us with condescending love and mercy and longsuffering. We then render to obedience Him and make His praise glorious and beautiful and holy. We are living sacrifices. Let us be burned up on the altar of Christ’s love today.

Come, let us worship before the Lord our Maker and Redeemer. Let us follow the Spirit Himself up into heaven to worship with the saints of all ages. We have come to a heavenly Zion to worship the Living God. Let us do so now.

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