TRUHT FOR TODAY - BIBLICAL ESSAYS BY PASTOR PAUL MIZZI

The missing jewel

I consent with A.W.Tozerĺs statement that worship is "the missing jewel of the evangelical churches." Such an evaluation concerning worship is not simply negative; it seeks repentance and reformation in the ways where we have gone astray.

On the whole, and judging from my reading and my experience both abroad but especially locally, Christians are not even aware that the Father is seeking such who worship him in Spirit and truth. They are not taught that worship is the "ultimate priority," as pastor J.MacArthur, Jr. called it. And it certainly is.

Worship is expressed by such terms as latrue˘ and proskune˘. The former signifies to serve, to render religious service or homage. The latter means to make obeisance, do reverence, (pros, towards, kune˘, to kiss). In worshipping man takes his proper place, with his face to the ground and God is acknowledged for who he is: the Creator, Preserver and Sovereign Redeemer of his elect. When God is confessed in this way, our whole life, attitude, world-view, and perspective on all things will be radically affected.

Perhaps the Lord has hid his face from us and has caused us to stumble; we are groping in darkness, multiplying activities and running here and there, assuming we are serving God. But God wants the sacrifice of ourselves before he wants what we have. The All-sufficient One does not need us: "If I were hungry I would not tell you" (Ps.) Perhaps we think we're doing God a favour in attending worship services; and we do not realize that in worshipping God we come to know both him and ourselves better.

The evangelical church today suffers in this way, I think, because it is much engulfed in the spirit of the age. Being men of little faith, we do not "see" the invisible God. Thus it is only "sometimes" that God surprises us with his presence, as Cowper expressed it in verse.

We certainly need reformation in the church, before expecting revival. We have departed from the pattern shown unto us, as those who worship God in the Spirit and put no confidence in the flesh. We need to trace our steps back to the "old paths."