Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
– EZEKIEL 22:26
By Donny Friederichsen:Worship that is reformed according to the Scriptures places the preaching of God’s Word at the center of worship. And yet in some Reformed and evangelical churches there is a new move away from the preaching of the Word as the central and highest point in worship. The experience of music or the community of small groups has become in many evangelical churches the mainstay and center of worship. The general word “worship” has become synonymous with the particular element of music. The “Worship Leader” in many churches is a position for the lead musician, as if music is the sum-total of worship. When people describe the quality of worship, they tend to refer to the emotions they felt during the music. The sermon is a multimedia talk presented between sets of music. Music fills the primary space of worship and becomes what is identified as worship, qua worship.
By Jon Payne:
To rightly understand Lord’s Day worship as discipleship, we must first recognize what public worship is not. Worship is not an evangelistic crusade meeting. Neither is it a time for sanctified entertainment, to showcase the talents of pastors, congregants, musicians, singers, dancers, or actors. Nor is public worship an informal church fellowship meeting to energize and inform the flock about up-and-coming programs and service opportunities.
While sadly these emphases have become all too familiar in worship services today, nowhere in scripture does divine worship display these characteristics. No, God’s word teaches something very different.
Biblical worship is a sacred meeting between God and his covenant people (i.e. the visible church). It’s where Christ, through his word and Spirit, matures his disciples. In other words, worship is the sacred context wherein the ascended Christ himself informs, feeds, nourishes, comforts, and fortifies the faith of his flock through the ordinary means of grace. God is not just present with us in public worship, he is active among us through his Word, sacraments, and prayer. Therefore, Lord’s Day worship is intended to be no less than the salvific in-breaking of the greater, eternal realities of the kingdom of God into the lesser, temporal realities of the kingdoms of man. It’s the workshop of the Holy Spirit, and not just another meeting of the church. It’s where disciples are made.
By John Payne:
In Psalm 42:1-2a the psalmist writes, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Elsewhere David pens, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1). Our Lord Jesus declares, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Mt. 5:6). The common theme in these verses is that of hungering and thirsting for God. The question is how do we recover and foster a holy hunger for God? How do we regain and cultivate a sacred thirst for Christ? How do we renew in our hearts an earnest longing for God? Here are three simple ways:
By Sean Morris:
Friends, there are many hungry and confused sheep in the fold of God like my college-age self: let us give them precisely what they need and what our Lord has determined they deserve. Let us not be unduly creative, inventive, or innovative in our preaching. Let us be steadfastly committed to the discipline and soul-nourishing practice of expository preaching. Let us faithfully exposit and herald and proclaim the wonderful words of life, to the everlasting good of the souls of God’s people and to the glory of Christ.
The Priority of Worship, by Sinclair Ferguson
No Idols, But Right Worship, by David McWilliams
A Call to Family Worship, by David McWilliams