Essence

The inner essence of worship is experiencing Christ as a more satisfying treasure than anything death can take or life can give. (Philippians 1:20-23)”

—John Piper, Sing! Conference 2018

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Jesus Himself

That which is received in the Sacraments is not something other than that which is received in the Word, though it is received in a different way; for both in Word and Sacraments it is Jesus Christ Himself who comes to us. 

—C.E.B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,” Interpretation 12:4 (October, 1958), 395

Provided for Us

We are accepted by God, not because we have offered worthy worship, but in spite of our unworthiness, because He has provided for us a Worship, a Way, a Sacrifice, a Forerunner in Christ our Leader and Representative, and our worship is our joyful Amen to that Worship. This is the heart of all true Christian worship. It is our response of faith to God’s grace. So we worship God “through Jesus Christ our Lord”, and pray “in the name of Jesus Christ.”

—James B. Torrance, “The Place of Jesus Christ in Worship”, in Theological Foundations for Ministry, 352

The Unique Center

I have long thought and taught that the right road into Christian theology is taken by reflecting on Christian worship in the light of the Bible. The Bible is supremely a manual of worship, but too often it has been treated, particularly in Protestantism, as a manual of ethics, of moral values, of religious ideas, or even of sound doctrine. When we see that the worship and mission of the church are the gift of participating through the Holy Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father and the Son’s mission from the Father to the world, that the unique center of the Bible is Jesus Christ, “the apostle and high priest whom we confess” (Heb. 3:1), the doctrines all unfold from that center.

—James B. Torrance, Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace, 9

With One Voice

Your accord and harmonious love is a hymn to Jesus Christ. Yes, one and all, you should form yourselves into a choir, so that, in perfect harmony and taking your pitch from God, you may sing in unison and with one voice to the Father through Jesus Christ.

—Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Ephesians (c. A.D. 100) 4:1

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

—Romans 15:5-7

The Content of Worship

The content of public worship is of immense importance. Writing in a different context, P. T. Forsyth said, ‘The preacher is not there to astonish people with the unheard of, he is there to revive them in what they have long heard.’ What is so for preaching—which is in itself an act of worship which is foundational to any public assembly for worship—is also true for the context in which preaching takes place. Every element of the public worship of the people of God must communicate the true content of the faith, which finds its focus on the person and work of Jesus the Messiah.

—Noel Due, Created For Worship:  From Genesis to Revelation to You, 235