True Worship or Playing Church
There are those who call themselves Sovereign Grace who have only changed one system of doctrine or theology for another. Everything else remains the same. While I am aware that many who believe the doctrines of grace have never been exposed to what a true Gospel Church actually is and therefore ought not to be judged too harshly the fact remains that the truth of God changes everything. When the Spirit of God writes the Gospel of Christ on the heart nothing remains the same. Our message, our method, our focus and our worship is radically altered. We cannot continue the practice of religion just as we did before while only changing the system of theology we believe. The true worship of God in Christ involves much more than a mere change of theology. We simply cannot worship in spirit and in truth while continuing to play church. True worship bears some radically different marks from those who have a name only.
True worship has Christ as its focus.
Christ is the central theme of the Scriptures and the central focus of true worship. In all things Christ shall have the preeminence. (Col. 1:18) True worship points us to Christ in our songs, in our prayers and in our preaching. We sing praises to Him who has done great things for us. We pray to Him and through Him trusting God will hear us because of Him. We preach Him in all His glorious person and work. The Scriptures are full of the bounty of Christ and His people desire to feast from His bounty. The pablum of religion will not do.
True worship has Christ as its motivation.
Those playing church seek to motivate folks with rules, instruction in what we ought to be and do and promises of reward. They preach messages on the family or marriage or money. They take the promises of God in Christ and make them depend on your obedience. They give you a plan on how to become more sanctified or shame you into obedience with accountability partners. They threaten to expel you from the church if you don’t live up to your profession.
True worshipers have Christ as their motivation.
Their obedience is motivated by love for Him not by fear or shame. They find all the promises of God to be in Him yeah and amen. (2Cor. 1:20) He is all in all to them and enough for them. They desire nothing but Him and find in Him everything they need for life and godliness. (2Pet. 1:3) They seek to know Him and be found in Him not having their own righteousness which is of the law but the righteousness of God in Him. (Phil. 3:9,10) He is made of God to be all their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. (1Cor. 1:30) The more they learn of Him the more they are made to rest in Him. (Matt. 11:28,29) They are motivated to good works because they are new creations in Christ created unto good works which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10) They never need the whip of religion to drive them because they have the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to them. (Rom. 5:5)
True worship has the Spirit.
If the Spirit is absent there is no true worship. The Spirit takes the things of Christ and shows them to His people. (John 16:14,15) By the preaching of Christ the Spirit convinces the world of sin because they believe not on Christ, of righteousness because He has gone to the Father and has justified all for whom He died, and of judgment because by His life, death and resurrection judgment is accomplished for all His elect. (John 16:8-11) When the Spirit is present He glorifies Christ. (John 16:14)
True worship is about Christ.
The song of the redeemed is worthy is the Lamb that was slain. (Rev. 5:9,12) We are never the focus or subject of true worship Christ is. If we are to worship God we can only worship Him in Christ who is the very brightness of His glory and the express image of His person. (Heb. 1:3) In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in a body (Col. 2:9) and only in His face is seen the very glory of God. (2Cor. 4:6)
Let those who have a name and a theology quit playing church and begin to truly worship God in Christ alone. Amen.
~ Ron Wood