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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Worship in Revelation (8)

One of the great frustrations of this life is that even when we are granted a glimpse of the glory of God, our capacities for pleasure are so small that we groan at the incongruity between the revelation of heaven and the response of our heart. Therefore the great hope of all the holiest people is not only that they might see the glory of God, but that they might somehow be given a new strength to savor it with infinite satisfaction.

—John Piper, The Pleasures of God, 311

Worship in Romans (37)

“…in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” (Romans 15:9)

How does Paul unpack the word “glorify” from verse 9? He does it with four Old Testament quotations in verses 9–12.

As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”

And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”

And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”

Praise, sing, rejoice, praise, extol, hope.

Glorifying God for his mercy starts with the emotions of joy (verse 10) and hope (verse 12) in the God of mercy. Joy as you savor the merciful God now, and hope as you happily expect to savor him even more in the future. Then that joy and hope overflow in praise (verse 9, 11) and song (verse 9).

This is the essence of gospel worship: Heartfelt, hope-filled joy in the God of mercy overflowing in fitting outward expressions. The reason I say this is the essence of worship is because I know there are other emotions that are part of worship besides joy. Like the sorrows of confession. But these sorrows are not true worship, unless, at root, they are sorrows for our failures to experience joy in the God of mercy. Therefore, joy in the God of mercy remains the essence of gospel worship. And that is really good news, because in God’s design, we get the mercy, God gets the glory. We get the joy, God gets the praise. We revel in hope, God receives the honor. When we call the nations to worship the true God in Christ, that is what we call them to.

—John Piper, “Gospel Worship: Holy Ambition for All the Peoples to Praise Christ”

Worship in Romans (33)

[Romans 12:1]

Take me, body and soul, and make me the instrument of Your glory in the world. Let the renewal You are working from within show on the outside. This is my spiritual worship. To show the world that You are my all-satisfying treasure. . . .

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16) All of life is the outshining of what you truly value and cherish and treasure. Therefore all of life is worship. Either of God, or of something else.

—John Piper, “All of Life as Worship” (Romans 12:1-2), sermon 11/30/97

Worship in Romans (18)

Paul said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Sinning is a “falling short” of the glory of God. But the Greek word for “falling short” (husterountai) means “lack.” The idea is not that you shot an arrow at God’s glory and the arrow fell short, but that you could have had it as a treasure, but you don’t. You have chosen something else instead. This is confirmed in Romans 1:23 where people “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image.” That is the deepest problem with sin: it is a suicidal exchange of infinite value and beauty for some fleeting, inferior substitute. This the great insult.

—John Piper, God’s Passion for His Glory, 36