Written by Michael W. Pursley
Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.
Worship the LORD in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established,
it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Psalms 96: 8-10.
Did you see the phrase in the above verse, “Worship the LORD in holy attire” ?
Do you realize just how outdated that verse is in today’s Seeker-friendly churches? Today, we live in a world where we go to church in flip-flops. We politely(?) sip water from plastic bottles, or our coffee Lattes during the church services. Sometimes we show up with our hair looking like we just rolled out of bed. In fact, we sometimes dress up better to watch television than we do for church. And then, to justify the egregiousness of our attitudes, we tell ourselves that God is just happy that we even decided to get out of bed to show up and to worship Him…. Really? Says who?
Where in the bible does God say that He is just happy that YOU decided to show up for church to worship Him? I want to see that verse. I know the verse where all of heaven rejoices when you repent. –Luke 15:10; but like the woman at the well, I tell you plainly if you think that God appreciates a lazy, insincere form of worship just because it suits your tastes then, “You worship what you do not know….” And just like that woman; found in John 4, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” In fact, you would be on your knees, with tears, begging him.
Do you think that I am making a big of a deal about this?
Here, you are worshiping the transcendent King of the universe, just like you were reading the Sunday comics, but you don’t think that that fact hasn’t escaped God’s notice? Do you think the awful and glorious King of the Universe, the one whose sinless seraphim cover their faces in his presence, is going to give you two thumbs up for your laissez faire, anything goes, attitude?
Ok, show up for work, the way you show up for church; see how long you last…
What would your boss say if you showed up for work like many of you show up for church? You don’t think that he would come to you and ask you if you didn’t have an attitude problem? And if you were by chance naive enough to ask him what he means, don’t you think that you wouldn’t hear a lecture about respect? Don’t you think that you would hear a lecture about respect for the business, respect for your fellow employees and your boss and respect for your customer? You might even get reprimanded by being written up. Continue along this course and your position in the company may very well be jeopardized. Even many of the most menial positions have uniforms…. Respect.
We must have respect for God. And our worship of God actually does reflect our level of Respect for Him.
This is totally counter-cultural to the thinking of today’s seeker-friendly churches. Yes, they are noisy. Yes, they are filled with bright, colorful lights, power-point presentations, and big movie screens. But have they replaced a truly spirit-filled, worship service? In many instances the answer is an unfortunate yes. And as a result, the Christian church today is losing both its orthodoxy and its heritage; In short, it is losing its saltiness. Look how Jesus provides this timely warning in Matthew 5:13: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
However, let me be totally upfront, this is not a member problem, this is largely a leadership problem.
Listen to this thought by Reformed pastor, Bill Hornbeck:
“I have come to the conclusion over a long time through a study of Reformed Doctrine, sometimes kicking and screaming against it, that first of all, our worship services should not be just about what suits our taste and preference, but our worship services should be, so to speak, what suits God’s taste and preference (or in the language of today’s Scripture “as He commands us”). Second, God is Holy and Almighty and deserves more of a reverential worship service, more of a worship service where we worship in “holy attire” and are more properly in awe of God. Third, God is perfect and deserves more of a perfect worship service, whatever that may be.”
Now compare it to this thought by professor Robert D. Decker of the Protestant Reformed Churches:
“… Not only in the sphere of what may be called “broadly evangelical churches,” but also among Presbyterian and Reformed denominations the contemporary church is plagued by “worship wars.” We hear of contemporary worship, seeker-sensitive worship services. There is a wide variety of worship styles among the churches. There’s even blended worship, which is an attempt to combine the new worship styles with the old, traditional worship. How did we get to this point…? We are where we are because of a couple of false assumptions. One is that traditional worship is too somber and sober, too unemotional. We need to experience the joy of salvation in our worship. Another false assumption is that we need to attract the unconverted. Our worship must not make them feel uncomfortable.
R. C. Sproul once said, that “Ideas have consequences.” I believe that as a result of our slothfulness in our worship, our loss of Divine perspective, that the Christian church is fast losing its saltiness… because it has lost its perspective of who God is and what our relationship is to him.
A friend of mine, who was once a missionary in Africa, tells about a deacon in his church that would always put on his white shirt and suit before he would pray… even at home. And though he was often told by the pastor that he didn’t need to dress up to pray to God, especially at home, this old deacon, would reply that if he went before the governor in his bed-clothes would he be well received by showing such disrespect? Could he then ignore the fact that he was praying to the King of the Universe? Can you? If you have lost that perspective of who God is, is not your worship then in fact, idolatry?
Maybe, that is the point. You ARE worshiping and praying to the King of the Universe.
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns…”