I begin with Revelation 22:9 not because I want to do an exposition of it today, but because I want us to hear the simple command, “Worship God!” The angel said to John, when he fell down at the angel’s feet, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.” In others words, don’t worship angels, worship God! Don’t worship nothing, worship God! Don’t neglect God or despise God, worship God! This is the last chapter of the Bible, and this is the last duty of man: worship God!
—John Piper, “Worship God” (sermon)
If we honestly compared the amount of time in church spent thinking about what others think or might think with the amount of time thinking about what God is thinking, we would probably be shocked. Those of us in congregational leadership need to think deeply about this.
Often the “eyeservice” [Ephes. 6:6] that occurs in present-day church services comes in the form of trying to “move” people. “Wasn’t that a great service?” we often say. But what do we mean? Are we really thinking about how God felt about the service? What is the correlation between God’s view of a great service and the human view? We need to be very careful about this, or the rule, “Truly, they have their reward,” may apply to us.
—Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God, 202
The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation for several criteria that can be used to evaluate and prescribe liturgical practices in many contexts. These criteria can be phrased as simple questions: Does liturgy speak of God with reference to particular actions in history recorded in Scripture? Does corporate worship in a particular congregation rehearse the whole of the divine economy? Are its liturgical actions carried out as means for a personal relationship and encounter with God? Do these actions acknowledge the example and mediation of Jesus Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Does the community itself model the kind of intimate fellowship or koinonia that is central both to divine life and the Christian life?
One strength of these criteria . . . while they are certainly formulated in a very culturally specific way, they are the kind of transcultural criteria that are useful for contextual ministry on any continent.
—John D. Witvliet, “The Trinitarian DNA of Christian Worship: Perennial Themes in Recent Theological Literature,” 18
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