Friday, December 14, 2007

Worship and Service

I've been getting hit from a couple of directions with teaching hovering around the following two verses:
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." (John 4:23)
From the White Horse Inn's recent broadcast, "Worship in Spirit and Truth" and from Desiring God Radio's recent broadcasts ("The Son of Man Came to Serve" Part 1 and Part 2 and "The Son of Man Came to Give His Life a Ransom for Many" Part 1). From these, I've been challenged to think of what a worship service is, and the differences between our service and God's service.

Michael Horton on the White Horse Inn argues that "spirit and truth" in John 4:23 refer to the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ Himself as The Truth (see John 14:6). The guys share interesting insight into Cain & Abel's offerings (Genesis 4), and the Israelites and the golden calf (Exodus 32), and Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, offering "strange fire" (Leviticus 10) and Isaiah's vision in Isaiah 6.

Horton comments on Isaiah's vision:
"This is the way worship is supposed to work... We come in thinking we're okay. We have a little glimpse of God's holiness and are completely undone. He stoops to forgive us; confirms that, ratifies that, with bread and wine, and then He sends us out into the world as witnesses and people who are loving and serving our neighbors in our vocations."
Horton on our "worship experience," tainted by the Fall:
"Ever since the very beginning, we want to offer what we have. We don't want to be served by God. We don't want Him to come down to us in judgment and justification. We want to rise up to Him to justify ourselves."
Kim Riddlebarger had this to say about Sunday morning services:
"This is an amazing event that's about to happen. The Creator and Sustainer of all; the Redeemer of my soul is going to come and visit me and my fellow sinners. He's going to speak to us. He's going to serve us this wonderful glorious feast. He's going to be present when we sing to Him."
From the end of John Piper's sermon, "The Son of Man Came to Serve" (originally delivered December 17, 1995):
"Our new daughter, Talitha Ruth, arrived in our home Friday night at 9 1/2 weeks old. She smiled. She cooed. She ate. And she fell asleep in her crib. And slept for seven hours. She did not serve us at all. She is totally dependent on being served by us. If she insists on serving us rather than our serving her, she will die. This is why Jesus said, 'Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 18:3).

"It's almost Christmas. Open your heart to receive the best Christmas present imaginable: Jesus giving himself to die for you and serve you, all the rest of eternity. Receive this. Turn away from self-help and sin. Become like little children. Trust him. Trust him. Trust him with your life."
From Piper's opening prayer in "The Son of Man Came to Give His Life a Ransom for Many":
"We call this a worship service and I sometimes think we get it all wrong. It is Your service of us now. You are serving us with Your word. You are serving us by Your spirit. You are serving us a banquet of truth and of life-changing insight into your character and your glory. And I pray that You would humble us not to serve You now, but to receive Your service."

I highly encourage you to listen to these - they're tremendous.

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