Worship and the Theology of the Cross In One Sentence

I just want to share some thoughts as we prepare for the Lord’s Day. Why are we going to worship the Lord tomorrow or any other day? Are we going to get an experience out of it like a trip to the zoo? Are we to seek an emotional experience like you get at the end of watching Old Yeller? Sinners that we are I believe these attitudes can creep in and we can think like that which is a reason that our journey doesn’t end when by God’s grace we come to faith in Jesus Christ. It begins.

At the same time, for example, when a very popular and influential pastor writes the following words that I stumbled upon we can begin to think too highly of ourselves.

Worship is not for your benefit. As a pastor, I receive notes that say, “I loved the worship today. I got a lot out of it.” This is another misconception about worship. It isn’t for our benefit! We worship for God’s benefit. When we worship, our goal is to bring pleasure to God, not ourselves.

If you have ever said, “I didn’t get anything out of worship today,” you worshiped for the wrong reason. Worship isn’t for you. It’s for God. Of course, most “worship” services also include elements of fellowship, edification, and evangelism, and there are benefits to worship, but we don’t worship to please ourselves. Our motive is to bring glory and pleasure to our Creator.

There is a larger context to this quote and, of course, I agree that the purpose is to bring glory to God and I even agree with much of this article. However, the implication is almost that God needs our worship. I’m not saying that our worship doesn’t please God, but I will say individually that I know mine doesn’t always! I’m there because I need Him not because I have something that He benefits from. I can’t imagine getting up Sunday morning thinking that I’m getting ready to go benefit God because of my worship. Bringing glory to God through worship is coming to Him in a joyful sorrow with a repentant heart. I’m not trying to fully unpack the differences between the two positions, rather I am trying to challenge the attitude of how we approach God. How many times to we weep like Peter after he denied Christ when we deny Him? How often would we weep?

Gene Edward Veith gives a short Theology of the Cross for Dummies post that gives a little something further to think about. And for a little more to think about there is a great chart at the Confessing Evangelical blog. In the comment thread of this post is the one sentence rhetorical question that sums up worship and the Theology of the Cross.


Who should be thankful at the end of a service: God, or us?


Just think about it…


in Church Issues,Culture,Evangelism,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Jordan October 7, 2007 at 9:08 am

Mark…I think you’re on to something here. I think maybe out of an over-reaction to “me-centered” worship, we can believe that worship isn’t to our benefit. Worship is for our benefit because it true worship should bring us joy. However, that joy needs to be there because we are valuing He is most valuable.

2 John Jordan October 9, 2007 at 8:20 am

wow…i don’t even understand what I said there. I guess I should proof-read before posting. So…let me try to restate. I believe that worship is for our benefit. God cannot benefit from anything we offer him. However, we do not benefit when our worship is “me-centered”. Through worship, we benefit by being reminded of God’s holiness and our own sinfulness. So, in that sense, worship is for our benefit.


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