Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jesus's Temptation and Worship

I'd like to apologize to both of my faithful readers for not posting the last few days. I was at a very wonderful and rejuvenating worship summit in Minneapolis. (Props to my wife for holding down the 3-kid fort so well). While I was there, I really enjoyed this excerpt from D.A. Carson, connecting Jesus's temptation in the desert to worship ministries. The following is from the presentation notes:

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, the ultimate issue was allegiance, true worship. As they looked over all the kingdoms of the world, Satan said, "All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus's answer was clear and strong: "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (Matt. 4:8-10; cf. Lk. 4:5-8; Dt. 6:13). D.A. Carson writes about this exchange: "This was not an invitation to change styles of 'worship' - to move, say, from pipe organ to guitars. In fact, it was not an ecclesiastical or corporate matter at all. It was private and personal; more importantly, it dealt with the fundamental question, the question of ultimate allegiance; Whom do you serve?

"This, surely, is where all questions about worship must properly begin. The critical issue is not the techniques of worship, or the traditions of worship, still less the experience of worship, but who is being worshipped, and who is worshipping.

" . . . If the heart of sinfulness is self-centeredness, the heart of all biblical religion is God-centeredness: in short, it is worship. In our fallenness we constrict all there is to our petty horizons . . . The sign that self is broken is true worship: God becomes the centre, the focus of delight, the joyfully acknowledged King, the Creator, the Redeemer. In this sense, none but the transformed can truly worship - and they too discover how much more transformation is still needed. Thus all worship becomes an eschatological [end-time] sign, a marker of what will be in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness, when the children of God have been 'glorified' (Rom. 8:30), and God is all in all. In anticipation of that day, and 'in view of God's mercy', we offer our bodies 'as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God,' for this is our 'spiritual' (Rom. 12:1)."

("'Worship the Lord your God': The Perennial Challenge," in Worship: Adoration and Action, ed. D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 13-14).