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True Worship Part 3

June 1, 2024, 9:00 AM

True Worship: Part 3

Colossians 3:12-17; Exodus 7:14-24

Worship is the response of an adoring heart to the magnificence of God. In its highest sense of the word, it is the occupation of the created with the Creator Himself. It is pure joy of magnifying the One whose name is above every other name.1 We also worship when we praise Him with our voices and speak about Him so that others may hear. Paul encouraged the Christians in Colossae, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your heart to God” (Colossians 3:16).

The reason God called us into the assembly of the church is so that as a corporate body we might worship Him! This is one aspect of the purpose of the church. God had demanded of Pharaoh, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert” – Exodus 7:16b. God brings them out so that He might bring them in, into His assembly, to the great company of those who stand before His face…God’s assembly at Sinai is therefore the immediate goal of the exodus. God brings his people into his presence so that they might hear His voice and worship Him! The worshipping assembly at Mt. Sinai couldn’t remain there before God forever, so God established other festivals in which the whole nation would assemble before Him three times a year.

The Israelites are a nation formed for worship. They were called to assemble in the courts of the Lord to praise together the name of the Most High. And in doing so, they are a picture of us. When doing this in obedience, they are a picture of God’s church. They are a picture of the New Testament that we live in today! But even though God established the other festivals for their assembly, that’s not what they did! Rather than worshipping God in a unified, holy assembly, the people turned aside to serving idols. So God, rather than assemble them to worship, scattered them in judgment in exile. But God promised that His plans, His purposes for His people would be fulfilled. There would be someday a great assembly not just of Israel but of all nations before His throne (Isaiah 2:2-4; 25:6-8; 49:22; 66:18-21; Jeremiah 48:47; 49:6; 49:39).

The fulfillment of this promise began only when Jesus started to build His church. Pentecost was the time of the first fruits. The beginning of the great harvest of redemption. Peter preached the fulfillment of the prophesy of Joel. The Holy Spirit has been poured out; the worship of the new age has been ushered in. The church, the assembly for worship, was praising God…now the ingathering had begun. The Gospel call is a call to worship. To worship is to turn from sin and call upon the name of the Lord. The picture of the church as a worshipping assembly is nowhere better presented than by the author of the letter to the Hebrews:

“For you have not come to what could be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, gloom, and storm, to the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of words. Those who heard it begged that not another word be spoken to them, for they could not bear what was commanded: If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned. The appearance was so terrifying that Moses said, I am trembling with fear. Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not reject the one who speaks. For if they did not escape when they rejected him who warned them on earth, even less will we if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven. His voice shook the earth at that time, but now he has promised, Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. This expression, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what can be shaken ​— ​that is, created things ​— ​so that what is not shaken might remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” - Hebrews 12:18-29.

In our worship in Christ’s church, we approach the throne of God as judge of all. We enter the festival assembly of the saints and the angels. We gather in Spirit with the spirits of just men and women made perfect! We enter the assembly of glory through Christ our mediator, and the blood of His atoning death. Therefore: Reverent cooperate worship is not optional for the church of God. Why? Because it brings to expression the very being of the church. It manifests on earth the reality of the heavenly assembly. So, worship is a direct expression of our ultimate purpose for living, “to glorify God and fully enjoy him forever.”2 Here are a few questions for you to ponder after reading this article: Are you experiencing genuine, fulfilling worship in all that you do…including church? What aspect do you find the most meaningful? Do you feel a strong sense of the presence of God in corporate worship? How would you describe it?

In Him


1 Ron Owens, Return to Worship: A God-Centered Approach (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1999), 38.

2Westminster Larger Catechism, Question 1: ‘What is the chief and highest end of men? Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and to fully enjoy him forever.’