Man’s Response to the Holy God
The Rev. Louis B. Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
All Christians affirm the fundamental importance of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible declares the Risen Lord to be the “first fruits” of Creation, 1Corinthians 15:20. Paul was referring to the third day of Creation, Genesis 1:8-13. Recall that on the third day of Creation, “God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.”’ (Genesis 1:11) Jesus’ resurrection began the New Creation. He is the “first fruits” of the New Creation.
The resurrected Jesus is the first fruits of the New Creation and all those in Christ will be like Him for they shall see Him as He is, 1John 3:2.
Christians should often reflect upon the blessing of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. His resurrection not only validated what He said, that He is the only Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, but it declares to those who are in Christ that they will have glorified bodies like His and they will dwell with Him forever!
The implications of this reality are too numerous to list in this short article. But there is one implication that I see being ignored by most of the evangelical church in the west. That implication is the content of our worship.
So much of what is called Christian worship carries little knowledge of the truth of the Person and Work of Jesus, of the glory of the Resurrected Christ. What portends to be “spiritual” and edifying worship is nothing more than man’s attempt to feel better about himself.
I want to share something of my recent experience in order to cause you, as a Christian, to reflect upon your worship of the Triune God who is known in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, revealed in the Bible.
As we moved closer to the entrance of the worship location, the ground seemed to vibrate with the sound of an electric bass guitar and electric drums. Entering the worship space which was a gymnasium, the instrumentation was deafening. The large congregation stood and stared at the band; some moved to the rhythmic beat of the music. I looked around to see if anyone was singing the words that were on a large screen and observed only a few. I read the lyrics of the unfamiliar tunes and became even more discouraged. The best ones declared what God had done to “lift us up.”
There was an attempt at a confession that didn’t confess anything, certainly not sins. The only Scripture read in the “service” was the portion that the Pastor attempted to preach.
The Psalmist declared that he “was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1) I had no such gladness. In fact, I was ashamed that I actually stayed for the entire spectacle. What made matters even worse was that I had just attended Ligonier’s National Conference in Orlando., FL. What a blessing it was to be with more than 4,000 listening to the teaching of several great theologians. Drs. R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler, Ian Hamilton, Derek Thomas, Robert Godfrey, Steve Lawson, Stephen Nichols, Michael Reeves, and others taught the pure word of God, declaring the centrality of the gospel, the sovereignty of Christ and the holiness of God!
At the close of the Conference on Saturday, I looked with anticipation to worship the Lord on Sunday. Unfortunately, I was left empty.
So then, what is Christian Worship? Christian Worship is praise and adoration given to God by those who have been made new creations in Christ. The corporate worship service is therefore to be designed by believers in accordance with God’s word to give to Him all the honor and glory that is His due. The Bible says that the Father is the one who seeks worshipers. Those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit because He is spirit. Those who worship Him must worship Him in truth because He is truth! (John 4:23-24) God alone is the object of Christian Worship! Therefore, the public reading of Scripture and the preaching of Scripture are central elements in Christian Worship, as God speaks to us as we read and hear His word.
As we lift up our worship to Him as He has commanded we receive His comfort and blessings!