Biblical worship is Christ-centered. The person of Jesus Christ and God the Father’s work through Jesus Christ is to be focus of our worship because it’s only through Jesus that we have redemption.
Peter preached this truth by the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:8-12:
- Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
Jesus is the only hope for salvation, and therefore should be center of our worship
There are two great hymns in Scripture that model for us Christ-centered worship. The first, Colossians 1:15-20, focuses primarily on the person of Christ and is believed to be an early Christian hymn:
- He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
As I told my congregation a while back, “I knew Jesus was good, but I didn’t know He was this good!” Jesus is incomparable and worthy of being our focus our center of attention when we approach the Lord in worship.
The second, Revelation 5:1-14, focuses primarily on the work of Christ:
- I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
The hymns of the living creatures, the elders, and the angels will be our song forever! Therefore, Jesus Christ with His substitutional life and death and His glorious resurrection should saturate every instance of our worship moments now. In fact, a practicing Jew or a Muslim should be very uncomfortable in our worship services. Our point is not to offend. We just don’t have any other reason to worship than Jesus Christ!
The great rival to Christ-centered worship is not the devil. It’s you and me. It’s me-centeredness. Let’s be honest. Our society’s me-centeredness has crept into the church. In our society that is consumer-driven and seeks “what’s in it for me,” worship can easily become a commodity that the church is trying to package and sell to you, the worship consumer.
I’m sure that every one of us has left a service saying, “I just didn’t get anything out that.” I’m guilty. However, that attitude is wrong. The question isn’t “did I get anything out of that?” or “did you like the songs we sang today?” It should be: “Was Jesus Christ lifted up?” “Was God glorified?” “Did I worship God?” “Was God blessed?”
Let me say just a word about the music service. I’ve been a worship leader in churches since 2002. I’ve said for years that the worship leader has the most difficult job in the church because everybody has an opinion about what songs should be sung, how fast the tempo should be, how often we sing certain songs, how much of a song should we sing, etc. It’s mind-boggling!
Let me say this: the mature worshipper can worship in any style. Now, I understand that it’s sometimes difficult to worship using songs that are new to us. That’s fine because we can fix that. However, when we say, “I’m not going to sing that song because I don’t like it; it’s too traditional or too contemporary,” that’s me-centeredness, and it displeases God. Believe it or not, you are not the only worshipper in the service. Church, when we become motivated in worship by me-centeredness, God is robbed of His worship.
May we get out of the way let Jesus be the center of your worship!!
Links to previous posts in this series: