John Piper has astutely asserted:
Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.
So why do so few Christians seem to value or even understand worship? I do not recall the actual statistics, but I remember hearing George Barna say that his polling showed only a small percentage of Christians actually worship even when they gather together on Sunday mornings (or whenever their fellowship assembles). According to Barna, shockingly few say they have ever experienced the presence of God in the midst of a worship service.
So with such widespread tepidness where worship is concerned, I think these 4 sage thoughts from J.C. Ryle about True Spiritual Worship are worth some contemplation:
1) True spiritual worship affects a person’s heart and conscience.
True spiritual worship will make a person feel more of the sinfulness of sin, and their own unworthiness. This will lead to a deeper humility and inner life. It will strengthen a person spiritually, thus enabling them to grow in the Christian life; whereas false worship can only weaken a person spiritually.
2) True spiritual worship will draw a person into close communion with Jesus Christ.
True worship lifts a person above the need for material adjuncts to the King Himself. The more they worship the more they will be satisfied with Christ alone. In the time of need they will turn instinctively to Christ and not to some external helps.
3) True spiritual worship will extend spiritual knowledge.
True worship leads to a more full knowledge of self, God, heaven, duty, doctrine, practice and experience. A religion with these points is very much alive. On the other hand, false worship is dead, and although it involves much hard work, it never leads to any increase at all.
4) True spiritual worship leads to an increase in holiness.
True worship causes a person to be more watchful about their daily life and habits. They begin to use their time and abilities in a Christlike way, and their conscience guides them more decidedly.
► Summary: Such true worship will stand the test of Christ’s great principle, “By their fruits you shall know them”. It sanctifies the Christian’s life, and makes them walk with God, lifting them above fear and love of the world. It enables a Christian to show God to other people. Such worship comes from heaven, and has the mark of God upon it.
NOTE: Taken from Ryle’s book Worship: It’s Priority, Principles, and Practice
3 thoughts on “4 Thoughts About True Spiritual Worship”
Not sure I agree at all with what Piper says but sure like how Ryle has framed this with his 4 points. Great insights on real Worship and it’s results. Love this ! Thanks for the post Dennis.
I get Pipers point that we will always Worship our God & Father. Not so sure about the statement “missions” will be no more. Of course I suppose thats how you define missions. I’m thinking God will have missions for us in heaven that we can’t even understand nor think of. “Eye has not seen nor ear heard the things God has prepaired for those…”
What about Piper’s statement do you find in error? Can you defend your objection Biblically?
Our mission is evangelism and evangelism to the ends of the earth. If one wants to include social issues like justice and cultural renewal, that is reasonable. However the latter are related to the evangelism mandate. They point to the coming Kingdom, “on earth as it is in heaven”…
Once the Kingdom has come in fulness there will be nothing to point toward. It would be like having a picture a Hawaiian beach that you got from a travel agent in anticipation of your Hawaiian vacation, and clinging to it even when you arrive and have the beach out your hotel window. One is a picture, the other a reality.
Further, once the Kingdom comes in fullness, there is no one to whom we should point toward it. Everyone who will experience its joys will already be experiencing them; no one else will expereince them.
Once the Kingdom comes in full there is no more mission. There is life. There is fellowship. There is worship. But there is no mission. All missions come to an end.
A couple of things Dennis. First I think the Goal of the Church is not defined in priorities. Worship over other things for example. Jesus gave us a mandate to make Disciples of all peoples just before he died on the cross. I would say that is pretty important. He didn’t say above all things just Worship !The issue of making Disciples is just as valid as Worship. In fact one could say it’s part of Worship. I also don’t believe all we will be doing in heaven is Worship. Yes, every knee will bow no question, (thats a different issue too) and yes we will all Worship our Father, absolutely, yes and yes. But I would also say God just may have some “Mission” for us as well. Don’t know what that will be, but I don’t think we will only be in a constant state of Worship sort of speak. Is Piper wrong saying there will be no more purpose for Missions as part of an evanglistic effort. No he’s not, and I agree with him on that. It would be silly not too. But I was thinking from a larger perspective. Thats why I said it “depends upon what you mean by Missions”. I think in the larger context, although evanglism as such, may, in it’s “normal” meaning be meaningless in heaven (Gods Kingdom), we may in fact still have a Mission from God to carry out in the form work, rulling, administrations, learning & growing and even helping others, etc.
Am I nit-picking, probably. Worship as such exists in many forms and in many ways, some not to Gods Glory. I would say Pipers statement is in need of clarification and assumes the reader understands what he is talking about. It’s a bit of “Christian Speak”. The real goal of the Church is to Bring Glory to God ! (did I say that ? ) We do that in various ways. All of which are valid and important.
So I wouild still say Piper missed the ultimate Goal of the Church in his statement. It’s really simply to Glorify God ! (Jeremy’s latest post on his blog is interesting and may impact here)
Now the real context of your post………What Ryle had to say is just GREAT !