[Sorry for the gap in posting. Have been overseas.]
All Christian worship is basically our offering of obedience and gratitude to God’s giving in Christ our Lord, foretold in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New Testament, remembered and received anew in Divine Worship, in sermon and sacraments. That response to the Gospel of God is given by the Body of Christ in prayer and praise and dedication. In stately cathedral or in hillside chapel, in parish church or in meeting-house, in whatever tongue, whether with ceremonial or with only the barest minimum, in set liturgy or in freer forms of worship (or in silence, occasionally broken by the devout meditations of the obedient servants of Christ, as in the case of the Society of Friends), it is the mighty acts of God in the redemption of the world through our Lord Jesus Christ that are represented, and the benefits which are appropriated.
—Horton Davies, Christian Worship, Its Making and Meaning, 101
Approach, my soul, the mercy seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly fall before His feet,
For none can perish there.
Thy promise is my only plea;
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened souls to Thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.
Bowed down beneath a load of sin;
By Satan sorely pressed;
By wars without and fears within,
I come to Thee for rest.
Be Thou my shield and hiding place,
That, sheltered near Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died.
O wondrous love! to bleed and die;
To bear the cross and shame;
That guilty sinners such as I,
Might plead Thy gracious name.
Poor tempest-tossed soul, be still;
My promised grace receive;
I’ll work in thee both power and will;
Thou shalt in me believe.
—John Newton (1725-1807)
The integrity of the Christian is grounded in the imputed righteousness of Christ mediated by the Holy Spirit. It is impossible by our own effort to come to worship to be shaped by the Holy One and at the same time to acquire the necessary holiness sufficient for worship that pleases God.
—Robbie F. Castleman, Robbie F. Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 122
The sacramental actions of the church—baptism and the Lord’s Supper—are concrete, tangible, and visible means by which the church takes the very stuff of creation, water, bread, and cup, and in response to the invitation and command of Christ reenacts the wonder of the gospel. In so doing, the material creation is a means by which God’s grace is known.
—Gordon T. Smith, A Holy Meal: The Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Church, 28
The opening chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans illustrates how Jews and Gentiles have failed in their own distinctive ways to reverence and serve God acceptably (note especially Rom. 1:21-23). The refusal to glorify God as God has its consequence in every form of wickedness, abuse, hypocrisy and injustice in human relationships.
Yet Paul’s exposition of the work of Christ and its consequences (Rom. 3:21–11:36) shows how God has acted to transform this disastrous situation. Now it is possible for all to engage with God in a new way, on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice, and to offer the worship that is pleasing to him (Rom. 12:1).
—David Peterson, “Worship in the New Testament,” in Worship: Adoration and Action, 58
“For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.” (Romans 15:8-9)
And what was the aim of God in this overflow of mercy for the nations?
The aim was worship. Romans 15:9: “In order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” Notice: It’s not just that the Gentiles might receive God’s mercy or simply experience God’s mercy, but that they glorify God for His mercy. The aim of the gospel among the nations is not man-centered. Paul does not say, “Christ became a servant in order that the Gentiles might receive mercy.” He says, “Christ became a servant in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for receiving mercy.”
The ultimate aim of the gospel is God — God glorified for His mercy. Don’t fall short of the ultimate aim when you preach the gospel. Don’t just offer people mercy. Offer them the greatest gift: a merciful God, and that God glorified for His mercy. Human beings were made finally for God, not mercy. Mercy is a means not an end. Savoring mercy is not the end, savoring God for His mercy is the end.
—John Piper, “Gospel Worship: Holy Ambition for All the Peoples to Praise Christ”
God’s mercies, supremely expressed in the saving work of Jesus Christ, the gift of His Spirit, His perseverance with faithless Israel, and His gracious offer of salvation to the Gentiles (Romans 1-11), call forth the response of grateful obedience, with all the implications outlined in Romans 12-16. Paul’s ethic is theologically grounded and theologically motivated. Christian obedience is an expression of gratitude for the blessings received from believing the gospel. ‘God has redeemed us, therefore let us serve [worship] Him!’ (O. O’Donovan)
—David Peterson, “Worship and Ethics in Romans 12,” Tyndale Bulletin 44.2 (1993):280