Five Marks of Acceptable Worship
FIVE MARKS OF ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP
The Letter to Hebrews gives us a glimpse of what true worship means. “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. . . . Through him (i.e., Jesus) then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Heb. 12:28; 13:15-16). Here we are given five marks of “acceptable worship.” It is offered in deep AWE AND ADORATION, a quality scarce today. It is RADIANT WITH PRAISE. It is THE FRUIT OF A LIFE and lips that consistently shine for God throughout the week: otherwise Sunday worship is a sham. It DOES GOOD in practical ways. We are to “be content with what we have” (13:16)—in strong contrast to the greed and selfishness that are two of the main characteristics of modern, as of ancient, society. Real worship changes all that. It leads to A SIMPLE AND A GENEROUS LIFESTYLE. Open to God, it is open to others. This may find its most obvious expression on Sundays, but it springs from seven-days-a-week living. Therein lies the truth of the old adage LABORARE EST ORARE “to work is to pray.” Worship and life cannot be divorced. They belong together. Worship without work is hollow. Work without worship is barren.
—Michael Green and R. Paul Stevens, LIVING THE STORY: BIBLICAL SPIRITUALITY FOR EVERYDAY CHRISTIANS, Chapter 1 “Abba Worshipers” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), p. 4. ISBN 0802860745
[Even so, let us work and pray. Amen!]
Have a great week.
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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