Four Motivations for Worship

by Joseph Franks

According to the hymn writer, “Christ is to be our vision.” According to our church fathers, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” According to the wise and inspired teacher, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” According to the preeminent New Covenant minister, “Whether one eats, drinks, or whatever one does, it is all to be done for the glory of God.” According to the Sovereign Lord, “The greatest duty of all men is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength.” 

This is what men ought to do, but why ought they to do so. It is this pastor’s contention that there are four motivations for worship – ascending from the basest to the greatest.

Men ought to worship because they fear supernatural retribution or discipline. One should worship because he does not wish to reap the results of the wickedness he has sown.

Psalm 7:11-13     God is a righteous judge who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword every day. He has bent and readied his bow. He has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.

Psalm 31:23     … The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.

Psalm 52:1-5     Why do you boast of evil O mighty man? … God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.

Men ought to worship because they wish to be wise, safe, and forgo unnecessary natural consequences. One should worship because he does not wish to suffer the natural consequences of living foolishly.

Psalm 7:14-16     Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His own mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. 

Psalm 27:11     Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path …

Psalm 31:19     Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you …

Men ought to worship because they wish to be grateful. Worship is the legitimate response owed to man’s Savior. Even if they do not want to live after God’s law, the right thing is to respond to Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Psalm 7:17     I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness …

Psalm 52:9     I will thank you forever, because you have done it.

Men ought to worship because they have great spiritual affection for their Heavenly Father, Heavenly Groom, and Heavenly Counselor.

Psalm 7:17     … I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Psalm 27:4     One thing have I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:8     You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.

Therefore friends who have not bowed the knee to Christ, kiss the Son of God lest he be angry and you be eternally consumed. (Psalm 2)

Therefore, friends who have bowed the knee to Christ, give him the honor, worship and obedience he is due. While relishing in his grace, love, and salvation from his eternal and supernatural condemnation, let us follow his Law because we desire less pain. How much longer would we play the idiot and assume we know best how to order our lives? Additionally, let us follow his law because we owe it to him.  Obedient worship is a small tribute to the one who died on the cross for our sins. However, more importantly, let us keep Christ’s Law because we love him. May we long to increase the smile on his holy face. And what ought we to do if we do not find ourselves having adequate spiritual affection today? Just as the disciples prayed, “Lord, increase my faith;” so we ought to pray, “Lord, increase my affection.” The love for God is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray, “Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.”

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