Worship “Contrary to the Law”

Worship is not just about what you do in church on Sabbath. Worship encompasses aspects of our whole faith: what we believe, what we proclaim, how we act. Central to worship is the idea of the Lord as our Creator and our Redeemer. Everything about worship should flow from this fundamental and sacred truth. Again, worship is primarily about God and the actions of God in history. Authentic worship should draw participants into a closer walk with their Lord. It should lead us to a sense of awe, reverence, repentance, and love for Him and for others.

Though we always should be thinking about the Lord (Luke 21:36, Ps. 1:2), worship time should be something special, something unique. We cannot, however, rely on the church itself or on the worship leaders themselves to provide that kind of experience for us, however much of a role they can play. In the end, it comes down to ourselves and the attitude we bring to church with us on Sabbath.

At the same time, as we have seen all quarter, worship is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Our worship does not save us; rather, our worship is one of our responses to being saved.

Read Acts 18:1–16. What charge was laid against Paul, and what does that tell us about worship?  

It is fascinating that Paul was charged with persuading people toward a different kind of worship, a worship “contrary to the law” (vs. 13). (Even the Jews who believed in Jesus at times leveled a similar accusation against Paul.) The point in Acts 18 is that these people were so caught up in tradition, so caught up in how things were done in the past, so caught up in the forms of worship, that when Paul presented them with the One who was the whole purpose of their worship, the One whom they worshiped without knowing it, the One whom all the worship services really pointed to—they rejected what he said. So caught up were they in the law itself, they missed the One to whom the law pointed.

Again, though our circumstances today are radically different than Paul’s were back then, we need to be careful to not allow our forms and traditions to get in the way of what our faith really should be about. Any worship that does not lead us directly to the Cross is misguided.


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