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Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

This truth changed my life a dozen or so years ago. I have quoted it so often that I am not sure where I got it from (maybe someone can help with its origin in the comments). I am convinced that it is not original to me, for it is far too good. The truth is this: Worship is not so much about what we receive, nor about what we give, rather, it is about being. Do we give in worship? Of course, we give our praise and thanksgiving to God. We give our offerings for the use of His Church. Do we receive in worship? Of course, we receive mercy and grace. We receive encouragement and peace. But worship is not primarily caught-up with giving or receiving. It is primarily about being, meeting with God. Or more rightly put, God meeting with us.

When we gather with God’s people on Sunday morning for holy worship, it is holy worship because He is meeting with us. The great promise of the Scriptures, “I will be your God and you will be my people,” (Ex. 6:7; Lev. 26:12; Jer. 30:22; 2 Cor. 6:16) is being realized in a special and glorious way when we gather for worship. As Israel worshipped the living God at the Tabernacle and the Temple when He descended upon them in a cloud, so we enjoy Him in the company of His saints by the indwelling Spirit and the truth of His Word (John 4)—all looking forward to that day when this promise of Him being our God and we being His people is fully consummated in the new heavens and new earth when He makes His home in the midst of us forever (Rev. 21:3). Heaven is one continual meeting and dwelling with God. Our corporate worship is but a type of that glorious heavenly meeting that awaits us. It is but an appetizer to the full banquet of God dwelling in the midst of His people forever.

This one idea can change how we approach worship. It rightly moves our petty concerns to the side. It takes our focus off self and directs it to the Lord. It makes worship more about truth than the latest gimmick. It moves us from wanting to leave with something more and rather focused upon what we have already received and shall enjoy someday. Worship becomes less about being an information download and more about engaging my whole person with the whole Christ of the Scriptures. It becomes less about my preferences and more about Him; becomes less about what moves me, stirs me, encourages me, and fills my cup and more about just purely delighting in Him.

Think about that as you gather with His people this upcoming Lord’s Day. Think about that as you meet with Him and He meets with you by His Word and Spirit. It is easy for corporate worship to become common place to us. We do it week in and week out. It occurs every seven days. But it is anything but common. It is extraordinary. It is amazing, in the true sense of that word. It is wonderfully glorious. It is a gift. The greatest gift we could receive: God Himself. He is meeting with us, communing with us, dwelling with us. And we are getting to delight in just being with Him.

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7 thoughts on “One Truth That Changes Worship”

  1. Curt Day says:

    This is a good post, especially for today’s world, because it talks about the giving aspect of worship. It is good for us to realize that worship services are not just there for us to receive. But if we make an analogy between giving in worship to painting a room, an important difference between a good paint job and a bad one, between good giving in and inadequate giving in worship, is in the preparation. Certainly part of preparation involves a check on ourselves and our relationships with those around us. But another part of the preparation involves what we do for people in need with whom we might or might not have a relationship. This is the point of some of the Scriptures like Isaiah 58. We can have good form in worship, but without the preparation of helping the oppressed and those in need through hospitality and working for justice, our worship relationship with God may not be what we think it is.

  2. It might be worth asking how one could “be” in the presence of God without some kind of “giving/receiving” experience. “… an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers” (John 4:23).

    John Stott offered a great summary: “Word and worship belong indissolubly to each other. All worship is an intelligent and loving response to the revelation of God, because it is the adoration of his Name. Therefore acceptable worship is impossible without preaching. For preaching is making known the Name of the Lord, and worship is praising the Name of the Lord made known. Far from being alien intrusion into worship, the reading and preaching of the word are actually indispensable to it. The two cannot be divorced. Indeed, it is their unnatural divorce which accounts for the low level of so much contemporary worship. Our worship is poor because our knowledge of God is poor, and our knowledge of God is poor because our preaching is poor. But when the Word of God is expounded in its fullness, and the congregation begins to glimpse the glory of the living God, they bow down in solemn awe and joyful wonder before this throne. It is preaching which accomplishes this, the proclamation of the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. That is why preaching is unique and irreplaceable” (John Stott, Between Two Worlds).

  3. Cheryl Sheahan says:

    This thought transforms my personal worship times as well!

  4. Jason Helopoulos says:

    Steve, I tried to make it very clear. There is giving and receiving. We never want to deny that. Rather, it is about what is primarily happening. There is no giving or receiving without Him being with us. It is the communion that provides the grounds for the giving and receiving.

  5. a. says:

    “One Truth That Changes Worship”

    thinking even today, His kingdom here is ‘one continual meeting/dwelling with God’ in some way or another every day, gathering “as one man” (Ezra 3:1, Neh 8:1); by One Spirit, Christ’s body held together by joints and ligaments, filled to all fullness of God, with His joy, glory, love given to Jesus, made one, just as God is one. Col 2: 19 ;Ephs 1 23 ;3 19 ;4. 4 ;1 Cor 12:11-13 ;John 17

  6. I have received a powerful blessing reading these blogs & responses. I know the writers have experienced real worship @ some point in thier lives as believers and that encourages me. I personally find it difficult not to worship when I hear of Gods redemptive power, His mercy, His grace, and His love for me being voiced in preaching or songs, be they be the invaluable hymns or songs of praise. I find strength in realizing God is there before I arrive with His arms outstretched to be my purpose in coming to worship. My wife shared a sketch she had seen in which a child lay upon Christ shoulder and the Holy Spirit impressed upon her” Are you hanging on in your own strength or are you being held in My strength. Worship is allowing God to hold me and allowing myself to experience all He & I can do together. Hopefully you will allow me to invite you to look at my blog , It is called ‘ clearskygroup ; true expressions of the heart.

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