The Sensitivity Of True Worship -- By: Bill Izard

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 02:1 (Winter 1993)
Article: The Sensitivity Of True Worship
Author: Bill Izard

The Sensitivity Of True Worship

Bill Izard

We must ask our twentieth-century selves an intensely serious question: In our desire to pursue biblical essentials of church life, have we subtly lost our way by designing and using worship as a means for accomplishing the end of evangelism? Or, more truthfully, are we making worship the handmaiden of church growth, measuring all that is done, especially and including worship, by its almighty rule? For although repentance is often seen in Scripture as a byproduct of true worship (e.g., Isa. 6:1–7; 1 Cor. 14:24–25), the act of purposefully designing worship to accomplish the goal of evangelism is without biblical precedent.

Evangelism is not an end in and of itself. The ultimate priority for the Christian is that God be glorified; evangelism must be seen as a means of worship—not vice versa. In other words, in all of his evangelizing, the Christian must be single-minded in his desire to please and honor God, just as he is in worship. We may worship through evangelism, but never are we instructed to evangelize through worship.

As sober-minded Christians of any age, but especially in this day of church-wide confusion, we would do well to examine the motives and methods that govern much of what we do in worship today. Let us look into the Scripture and ask some searching questions.

Does our worship emphasize the way in which we appear to men, or is it solely concerned with how we appear to God?

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full, but, when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matt. 6:5–6).

Jesus describes the worshipful act of prayer as an action to be done in private, not paraded before men in order to impress them. This passage is not a prohibition on public prayer but instead teaches an important principle regarding worship. Interaction with the Father is meant for the Father, not to be a display that pleases men. Worship is an expression of love to be directed solely to the Beloved, and there should be no concern in the heart of the lover/worshiper about negative or positive impressions gained by onlookers. The worshiper should give as little thought to onlookers as David did as he worshiped before the ark in his linen ephod (2 Sam. 6:14...

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