Remember that question in Part I of Think Before You Sing (read Part I and Part II) I wanted you to mull over… What is the purpose of worship?
Is it to give us an emotional impact by replicating stadium-style worship concerts? Is it to bring young people into the church or brand our church?
Try this answer on for size: We are to worship God how God wants us to worship Him. Worship should first and foremost be designed to please God.
Worship must not be designed to please the unbeliever for evangelistic purposes or the believer to raise emotional fervor. The nineteenth-century pastor Charles Spurgeon said, “The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.” Entertainment can stir the emotions, but God uses the means of grace to change our affections. Yes, worship also raises our religious affections. So who would have guessed that Jonathan Edwards from the 1700’s would write about religious affections? A stuffy stodgy old Puritan? I dare you to read more about it: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/evangelical-history/2016/09/21/the-religious-affections-by-jonathan-edwards-a-qa-on-an-evangelical-classic/
Jesus taught the most basic principle for worship—“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Zeal of the heart is not sufficient to make our praise pleasing in God’s sight. One of the most enthusiastic worship services in history was the worship of the golden calf, and that did not end well for the worshipers (Ex. 32). Praise from the heart is not enough to please the Lord if we are not worshiping the true God, and so we must prize truth alongside ardor when we praise our Creator. We must emphasize both heartfelt praise of our Creator and worship that is structured according to His Word.
Are you a Spectator on Sunday Morning? I agree with modern hymn writer Keith Getty ~ Worship should also be the congregation singing to each other the goodness of the Lord; singing the Bible (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) and joining with the voices of Christians over thousands of years in singing timeless truths. It’s time to tear down the performance-oriented/concert-style stage, make the Word and the pulpit central again, turn down the volume of the instruments, turn up the houselights and enjoy singing alongside and hearing our Christian brothers and sisters sing of God and His glory accompanied by a variety of instruments. Can I get an Amen?