In the economy of the gospel, everything is turned upside down—including and perhaps especially our worship. Theologically our worship is not what we do. It’s what God does from the past in the present toward an explosive future. In the Word God in Christ addresses us. At the table God in Christ is the host. In our worship God comes to us as God promises. God takes what appear to be our actions, turns them upside down, and acts.
The hymns of Israel stand in service of the central theological claim of the Old Testament, that the Lord of Israel alone is God and requires the full devotion of all creation. The expression of praise was the glorification and enjoyment of God, the true measure of piety and the proper purpose of every creature. So for Israel the first and last word of faith was “Hallelujah!”
—Patrick D. Miller, Jr., “‘Enthroned on the Praise of Israel’: The Praise of God in OT Theology,” Interpretation 39 (’85):19
Worship is a site of God’s action, not just God’s presence.
—James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, 71
God is jealous for His own honor and He rightly seeks His own honor. He says, “I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (Ex. 20:5) and “My glory I will not give to another” (Is. 48:11). Something within us should tremble and rejoice at this fact. We should tremble with fear lest we rob God’s glory from Him. And we should rejoice that it is right that God seek His own honor and be jealous for His own honor, for He, infinitely more than anything He has made, is worthy of honor. The twenty-four elders in heaven feel this reverence and joy, for they fall down before God’s throne and cast their crowns before him singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:11). When we feel the absolute rightness of this deep within ourselves we then have the appropriate heart attitude for genuine worship.
—Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1005
In our worship services God simply doesn’t come through for who he is. He is unwittingly belittled. For those who are stunned by the indescribable magnitude of what God has made, not to mention the infinite greatness of the One who made it, the steady diet on Sunday morning of practical “how to’s” and psychological soothing and relational therapy and tactical planning seem dramatically out of touch with Reality—the God of overwhelming greatness.
—John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, 12-13
He is responsible to train his coleaders to understand what true worship is and then assist them in the implementation of a God-centered, scripturally-regulated, edification-oriented corporate worship service each time Christ’s flock gathers, especially on the Lord’s Day.
—Jerry Marcellino, “Leading the Church in God-Centered Worship: The Pastoral Role” in Reforming Pastoral Ministry, 137-38