Years ago I was listening to a Christian Academic give a lecture. He was talking about Worldview and said the common statement; “What you believe determines the way you behave.” Yet, he then added something I have never forgotten. He said; “What you believe determines the way you behave, and not just what you say you believe.” His point was clear; what we do reveals what we believe…what we really believe, not what we say we believe. (Another way to talk about this is in terms of Orthodoxy (belief) and Orthopraxy (practice).)
We should evaluate all areas of our life in light of this truth. Do my actions in my home, workplace, church, and community line up with what I say I believe? Are my stated beliefs and actions aligned?
Albert Mohler applied this principle to corporate worship when he wrote:
Roger Scruton, a well-known British philosopher, has suggested that worship is the most important indicator of what a person or group of people really believes about God. He writes: “God is defined in the act of worship far more precisely than he is defined by any theology.” In other words, if you want to know what a people really believe about God, don’t spend time reading their theologians. Watch them worship. Listen to what they sing and to how they pray. Then you will know what they believe about this God whom they worship. (He is Not Silent, pg. 31. Emphasis mine)
Yes, indeed, our worship certainly reveals the object of our worship…it reveals what, in our eyes, is of supreme worth. Let me give two specific reasons why we as a church want to continually be aware of our corporate worship.
First, we are all continually tempted and easily led astray into idolatry. Idolatry is worshiping anything other than God. We will be tempted to worship our preferences, tastes, emotions, intellects, and cultural relevance (to name but a few) in corporate worship. Notice the word “our” in the previous sentence. When we are led astray by these things often the idol we end up worshiping is us. We must be aware and prayerful.
Second, our worship is proclaiming either an idol or the triune God of the Bible. What this means is that our worship is evangelistic. It’s either proclaiming the Gospel or the false gospels of the world (consumerism, comfort, materialism, amusement/entertainment…). Remember, in our worship we are telling everyone who our God is. Therefore, we should always pay prayerful attention to our worship in light of God’s Word.
I am thankful to be a part of a church who cares about these things. Let’s pray that by God’s grace we will persevere and continue in this and that we will always be reforming according to God’s Word. Our prayer is that our church would be a faithful witness long after you and I are gone.