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The Wonder of Worship

November 17, 1996

Scripture: Rev. 1-22



Worship is the missing jewel in modern Evangelicalism.  We're organized, we work, we have our agencies.  We have almost everything, but there's one thing that the churches, even the gospel churches, do not have:  that is the ability to worship.  We are not cultivating the art of worship.  It's the shining gem that is lost to the modern church, and I believe that we ought to search for this until we find it.

   -- A. W. Tozer, The Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church

Worship is the highest and noblest act that any person can do. When men worship, God is satisfied! And when you worship, you are fulfilled! Think about this: why did Jesus Christ come? He came to make worshipers out of rebels. We who were once self-centered have to be completely changed so that we can shift our attention outside of ourselves and become able to worship him.

   Raymond C. Ortlund

God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship. . . . The very stones would praise him if the need arose and a thousand legions of angels would leap to do his will.

   A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

If we haven't learned to be worshipers, it doesn't really matter how well we do anything else.

   Erwin W. Lutzer (1941– )

John R. W. Stott once admitted the truth that many of us have felt but failed to confess:  "The thing I know will give me the deepest joy -- namely, to be alone and unhurried in the presence of God, aware of His presence, my heart open to worship Him -- is often the thing I least want to do."

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word darkness on the walls of his cell.

   C. S. Lewis (1898–1963)

God is looking for worshipers. And if the religious elite are too proud or too busy to learn to worship him, he seeks the worship of those whose lives are trapped in moral ruin.

   Erwin W. Lutzer (1941– )

If worship does not change us, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change. Worship begins in holy expectancy; it ends in holy obedience.

   Richard J. Foster (1942– )

In worship we meet the power of God and stand in its strengthening.

   Nels F. S. Ferré (1769–1821)

More spiritual progress can be made in one short moment of speechless silence in the awesome presence of God than in years of mere study.

   A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

If you can leave your church on Sunday morning with no feeling of discomfort, of conviction, of brokenness, of challenge, then for you the hour of worship has not been as dangerous as it should have been. The ease with which we go on being Christian sentimentalists is one of our worst faults.

   Paul Stromberg Rees (1900– )

The worship of God is not a rule of safety—it is an adventure of the spirit.

   Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947)

The philosopher aspires to explain away all mysteries, to dissolve them into light. Mystery on the other hand is demanded and pursued by the religious instinct; mystery constitutes the essence of worship.

   Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821–1881)

There are delights that the heart may enjoy in the awesome presence of God that cannot find expression in language; they belong to the unutterable element in Christian experience. Not many enjoy them because not many know that they can. The whole concept of ineffable worship has been lost.

   A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

Worship isn't listening to a sermon, appreciating the harmony of the choir, and joining in singing hymns! It isn't even prayer, for prayer can be the selfish expression of an unbroken spirit. Worship goes deeper. Since God is spirit, we fellowship with him with our spirit; that is, the immortal and invisible part of us meets with God, who is immortal and invisible.

   Erwin W. Lutzer (1941– )

Worship is transcendent wonder.

   Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)

Worship means "to feel in the heart."

   A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

Worship renews the spirit as sleep renews the body.

   Richard Clarke Cabot (1868–1939)

To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.

   Archbishop William Temple (1881–1944)

Worship is a way of living, a way of seeing the world in the light of God . . . to rise to a higher level of existence, to see the world from the point of view of God.

   Abraham J. Heschel (1907–1972)

We pay God honor and reverence, not for his sake (because he is of himself full of glory to which no creature can add anything), but for our own sake.

   Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

Worship is not a part of the Christian life; it is the Christian life.

   Gerald Vann (1906–1963)

A. W. Tozer said, "We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God."

Francis Schaeffer said, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”


I lay my "whys"

   before your cross

   in worship kneeling,

   my mind too numb

   for thought,

   my heart beyond

   all feeling:

   And worshiping,

   realize that I,

   in knowing you,

   don't need a "why."

      Ruth Bell Graham

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