In England during the 1500s, especially during the reign of Queen Mary, the Christian church came under terrible persecution. Many Christians including clergy were excommunicated and/or executed for refusing to denounce their beliefs and adhere to the teachings of the state church.
Some time ago I received an e-mail from a lady wanting to know the difference between personal and corporate worship. The answer I gave was this: Personal worship is often a term used for private worship or devotion. It would be the time a person spends alone with God. Whereas corporate worship is a term used to describe the time a church body gathers for worship such as Sunday morning.
John writes in his gospel, But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father…(John 4:23) What does it mean to worship the Father? How do we make the Father the object our worship? Let me suggest a couple of ways: 1. The Father must have our affection. 2. The Father must have our attention.
A few years ago I listened to a series of tapes by James Ryle titled The Mercy of God. During the series he shared an incredible story that I want to share with you.
For we Christians are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God, and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence on what we are in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances. (Philippians 3:3 AMP)
A few years ago I was a General Manager at a local Chick-fil-A restaurant. While I was there a directive came down from the home office for our employees to respond with “my pleasure” anytime our customers thanked us for our service. As Chick-fil-A employees it was our mission to ensure that each customer had a pleasurable experience when they came into our restaurant to eat. The “my pleasure” response was one way to let them know that we labored for that purpose.
Jesus said that true worshipers worship the Father in truth. What does it mean to worship the Father in truth? Let me suggest there are at least two answers to that question. The first is that true worshipers worship the Father in the truth about who He is. The second is that true worshipers worship the Father in the truth about who they are. Let’s look at the first one.
One of the early revelations God gave man of himself he gave to Moses.
Over the years I have received e-mails from pastors who are struggling with the idea of introducing contemporary worship music into their congregations. It seems their biggest fear is that their congregations might become divided by, as one pastor put it, the “ubiquitous worship wars.” Many churches have successfully dealt with this issue by scheduling an additional worship service for those who prefer a more contemporary approach to worship. But, that is not always possible nor necessarily the solution.
A few years ago I was leading worship one Saturday evening with a friend of mine at his church. We were well into the service when I began to hear voices coming from our monitor speakers. The only person singing through the sound system besides my friend and I was my wife. When the service was over we compared notes and realized that all of us had heard the voices. The only conclusion we could draw was that angels had decided to join us for the service. The worship of heaven had invaded the worship on earth.
It was in October of 1975 when I was 16 years old that I first remember kneeling at the altar to ask Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. I didn’t feel particularly convicted or remorseful of my sin. Our family had attended church all my life so up until this point I was a pretty good kid morally. It could be that at some point earlier in my life I had asked Jesus to save me, but I remember at 16 thinking I should really make sure that this is a done deal. Besides, there were some other kids in our youth group who were making that decision and if they were going to heaven I wanted to go with them.