Saturday, 5 April 2014

Whatever Happened to Worship by A. W. Tozer

Before Tozer died in 1963, he had expressed his concern that worship is largely missing from the church. He wanted to write one more book on the theme of the worship of God. He didn't get to write the book but a series of recorded sermons from 1962 made it possible to collate and edit his messages on worship and the result was Whatever Happened to Worship.
This book has a different tone from The Pursuit of God, which was published in 1948, possibly due to the fact that he didn't actually write this book. The first book was meaty and reflective; the compilation of sermons in the last book were punchy and pointed.

Tozer stresses that true worship must always be in spirit and in truth and that it is possible to have a form of worship and a religious experience that is not acceptable to God.

Some people let their worship begin and end with nature. This was me before I came to know the one true God. I thought nature was magnificent before I knew God but I was only seeing it through gauze compared to the wonder I saw when the veil was lifted from my eyes. I'd been worshiping a created thing and not the One who created it. I was worshiping unacceptably.
Tozer speaks about the godly men of ancient times such as Isaiah who,

...revealed in their writings that they were intensely in love with every natural beauty around them. But they always saw nature as the handiwork of an all-powerful, all-wise, glorious Creator.

He said that one of the greatest tragedies is the failure of men and women to discover why they were born and that there is an almost universal denial of the fall of the human race as recorded in the book of Genesis. As a result of the terrible injury we received in the fall, we have a numbing amnesia and we no longer know the purpose of our existence.

Numbness is not a good sign. If I woke up and couldn't feel an arm or a leg I'd be concerned. I wouldn't muck around or ignore the numbness. I'd take action and find out what the problem was. But I had spiritual amnesia as a result of the fall and I ignored it until a crisis occurred in my life and jolted me into acknowledging it.

I was created to worship and praise God. I was redeemed that I should worship Him and enjoy Him forever.

That is the primary issue...

God is not asking you to come to Christ just to attain peace of mind or to make you a better businessman or woman. You were created to worship. God wants you to know His redemption so you will desire to worship and praise Him.

...many Christians repent only for what they do, rather than for what they are.

Sometimes I'm asked if I would have done anything differently, in hindsight, as a mother or home educator but I have no real regrets about what we did or used or didn't do or didn't use. My regrets stem from who I was.

Real worship is, among other things, a feeling about the Lord our God. It is in our hearts. And we must be willing to express it in an appropriate manner.

What many of us do not understand is that all beautiful things, so pleasant to the eyes and ears, are only the external counterparts of a deeper and more enduring beauty - that which we call moral beauty.

In relation to Jesus Christ, it has been the uniqueness and the perfection of His moral beauty that has charmed even those who claimed to be His enemies throughout the centuries if history.

If you cannot worship the Lord in the midst of your responsibilities on Monday, it is not very likely that you were worshiping on Sunday!
We were part of a church for many years that used the term 'song service' as opposed to 'worship service,' to foster the understanding that worship isn't limited to a time or place but is part of our daily lives. Now when I hear musicians referred to as the 'worship team,' or the song leader called a 'worship leader,' I wonder if it helps to produce an incorrect view of worship - just a thought.
  
You are not worshiping God as you should if you have departmentalized your life so that some areas worship and other parts do not worship.

I'll finish with a quote I needed to read and which encouraged me very much:

A young man talked to me about his spiritual life. He had been a Christian for several years, but he was concerned that he might not be fulfilling the will of God for his life. He spoke of coldness of heart and lack of spiritual power. I could tell he was discouraged - and afraid of hardness of heart.

I gave him a helpful expression which has come from the writings of Bernard of Clairvaux: "My brother, only the heart is hard that does not know it is hard. Only he is hardened who does not know he is hardened. When we are concerned for our coldness, it is because of the yearning God has put there. God has not rejected us."

God puts the yearning and desire in our hearts, and He does not turn away and thus mock us.

 

2 comments:

  1. Nice review. I love Tozer. Carol, do you have a Kindle? If so, would you be interested in "borrowing" my copy of Monuments Men?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd love to! I sent you an email. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete