Monday, September 12, 2011

Fear and Trembling Transforms Corporate Worship Part Two

The first thing we should say is that this Christian fear and trembling should be felt especially in our worship services. Corporate worship is the experience of coming corporately and consciously before the face of God. Here, if anywhere in the Christian life, there will be a proper fear and trembling. Consider how the Bible connects worship and the fear of the Lord.

Psalm 96:9, “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” Revelation 14:7, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Revelation 15:4, “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

But now here is a great fear-transforming reality, and it explains why Christians sing with joy in worship, and Muslims don’t. Fear and trembling are not because God is our enemy but because he saved us from his wrath through Christ, and now we stand on the brink of the Grand Canyon of his holiness and justice and grace and wrath with unspeakable wonder, knees wobbling and hands trembling, but overcome with worship at the depth of his majesty, not with worry that we might fall in.

Listen to the way the Bible says it so paradoxically, and yet, all true saints know what these words mean. Psalm 2:11, “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Isaiah 11:3, “And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” This fear is full of delight. Nehemiah 1:11, “O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer . . . of your servants who delight to fear your name.” This fear is what the saints delight to experience.
Those who have seen and savored the holiness of God and justice and wrath and grace of God can never again trivialize worship. There ought to be a sense of His holy presence when we come together. Ananias and Sapphira lost this sense of His presence. Those at Corinth also lost it and for that reason many were fallen asleep (1 Corinthian 11:30). We need to cultivate this sense of His presence among us; it really needs to be more than a principle base on Matthew 18:20. It needs to be a power that transforms us!

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