Real Questions About Real Worship

Christians seemingly spend their lives obsessing over worship.

Think of all the questions we ask: “Who’s preaching?” “How long will it last?” “What’s the music like?” The questions go on and on.

While we are asking these questions, there are real questions to be asked about worship. Looking at the the message of the prophet Malachi, you can find at least four questions which should be asked by followers of Christ.

First, am I bringing authentic, Godly worship to my Lord? Worship is not for us; it is for God. He is worthy. He should be worshiped with genuineness and devotion. We should never make worship about asking questions which are important for us but which are meaningless to God.

God wants genuineness in our worship. He wants what truly belongs to Him–our praise and our devotion. Malachi condemned the worshipers in Jerusalem who were going through the motions and giving less than their best to God.

Second, will God receive my offerings and my worship? To us, it seems incomprehensible that God wouldn’t accept our offerings or our praise. In the Book of Malachi, this possibility is mentioned again and again. When we have an “offertory” prayer, one of the aspects of our prayer should be to ask God to accept our offering.

Third, are our leaders offering holy lives to God? I know we are all the same before God, but I also know God expects those whom He has set apart to live lives of integrity and lead worship with authenticity.

Finally, we should ask God if He wants to change anything in our lives. John Olen Strange famously said, “The greatest sin is to leave the house of worship unchanged.”

God forbid that we should worship without looking deeply at who we are in relation to who He is.

Ask these kinds of questions and answer them sincerely and you will “enjoy’ greater worship experiences.

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6 Responses

  1. Dr. Oswald in a preaching class at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary said, “People are generally interested in supporting their own ideas and projects.”

    I have found this to be a true and timeless statement. It was in response to an effort to gather support for Southern Baptist world missions through “Cans for World Hunger” and “Newspapers for Food” Ministries. Both recycle projects founded and facilitated by the Bi-Vocational Ministry Fellowship recognized through the Student Government Charter of NOBTS. The “aluminum can” money went to the Business office of NOBTS with the cooperation of Clay Corvan to direct funds to the Foreign Mission Food Ministry. The funds from the newspapers went directly to the New Orleans Food Bank. Since I wrote the charter and was the founding president of the Fellowship, I know a little about it and the people who worked for it, against it, and the could-care-less group. It is generally the rule of 80-20. Twenty percent do all the work and giving while eighty percent fall in the other categories, perhaps enjoying the benefit. I have learned that even if one is disabled, or poor as a “church mouse,” each has something to offer. I have also learned that perspective has much to do with enthusiasm. And, perspective is telling about Theology.

    I love this series you are preaching. It brings the message home. As Paul said: Your body and your Spirit which are God’s. I have sought help in legal matters, information, contacts, direction to combat the attacks upon a ministry of God, never money. I appreciate “Good Luck with That,” “Wish I could help you.” I have received a dishonest taking of my funds and the offer of open-ended contracts or engagement letters, as one would expect in business where making money is the primary goal/god, not unlike Malachi & Christ’s problem at the Temple. The world says such noble acts are stupid. It makes the case for those who said I have been “wasting” my life in-service to God. It also helps clear-the-air about who are my “Family,” as Jesus said. It shows me where the world resides. I’ll pass by the former site of Mid-City Baptist School later today; I’ll remember.


  2. The minister of my youth would often say, “if you didn’t get anything out of worship, maybe you didn’t bring anything to get it in.”
    It always made us laugh but there was often need for conviction.

  3. Thanks for continuing to remind us of what worship is and how we should approach worship. We must remember that worship is about God and not us. Too often we want to put our wants and needs first and not think about what God really wants and expects of us. I feel we are so blessed to have Godly leaders at our church who are good examples for us to follow. Thanks for your Godly leadership!

  4. Thinking on encouragement, I am reminded of the dinner conversation I had with Richard Jackson. He shared his “Call” to be something like this: “ Dad, this church has asked me to preach but I don’t know if I should accept.” His Dad asked, “Has anyone else asked you?” “Well, no,” he replied. “Then where is the decision?”
    And so, Richard Jackson launched his career. As he said to me, “I’m just a mechanic.” That was 20 plus years ago. The following is what he has said more recently in an article….

    “I have understood this much since I preached my first sermon at age fifteen: I understood that I was to make a difference in someone’s life. If we do not walk into the pulpit with that purpose, the message will not go anywhere, or speak to anyone.

    Preaching: North Phoenix Baptist Church has grown to be one of the largest churches in the United States. The pulpit of that great church has a well-deserved reputation for evangelistic preaching. How do you define or describe biblical preaching?

    Jackson: This issue is the same — a basic concern for people and a realization that preaching is to change lives. Evangelism, however, is an atmosphere God creates, not something a preacher brings about by clever preaching.

    I mentioned the sermon I recently preached from Luke, chapter 7. I spent thirty minutes of that sermon speaking directly to Christians — they were the focus of that message. Yet, for the last five or six minutes I spoke of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet and identified her as a sinner reached by God’s grace. Jesus ministers to those who sin, and they then recognize their sin and can be forgiven.

    I made this application and said that the church must minister to those in sin because of our Savior’s example. I just extended the application of the text to the invitation for sinners to come to faith and salvation. I just gave the invitation. You know, we had some twenty professions of faith.

    Many people have the idea that a preacher who has that kind of response, who baptizes large numbers of people each year, must get up and holler “Jesus Saves” for thirty minutes and give a twenty-minute pressure invitation. I preach for thirty to thirty-five minutes and ninety percent of the message is almost always addressed to believers.

    You know, the evangelistic application is always there. I don’t have to create it. The evangelistic message is shot through the Book — it is God’s heart. If we get up and give a method appeal or high pressure, we make God look like a beggar. If we just preach the Word, extend a dignified appeal, and provide an opportunity for response, it will happen. That is evangelistic preaching — and that is Christian preaching.”


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