John Piper has astutely asserted:
Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.
So why do so few Christians seem to value or even understand worship? I do not recall the actual statistics, but I remember hearing George Barna say that his polling showed only a small percentage of Christians actually worship even when they gather together on Sunday mornings (or whenever their fellowship assembles). According to Barna, shockingly few say they have ever experienced the presence of God in the midst of a worship service.
So with such widespread tepidness where worship is concerned, I think these 4 sage thoughts from J.C. Ryle about True Spiritual Worship are worth some contemplation:
1) True spiritual worship affects a person’s heart and conscience.
True spiritual worship will make a person feel more of the sinfulness of sin, and their own unworthiness. This will lead to a deeper humility and inner life. It will strengthen a person spiritually, thus enabling them to grow in the Christian life; whereas false worship can only weaken a person spiritually.
2) True spiritual worship will draw a person into close communion with Jesus Christ.
True worship lifts a person above the need for material adjuncts to the King Himself. The more they worship the more they will be satisfied with Christ alone. In the time of need they will turn instinctively to Christ and not to some external helps.
3) True spiritual worship will extend spiritual knowledge.
True worship leads to a more full knowledge of self, God, heaven, duty, doctrine, practice and experience. A religion with these points is very much alive. On the other hand, false worship is dead, and although it involves much hard work, it never leads to any increase at all.
4) True spiritual worship leads to an increase in holiness.
True worship causes a person to be more watchful about their daily life and habits. They begin to use their time and abilities in a Christlike way, and their conscience guides them more decidedly.
► Summary: Such true worship will stand the test of Christ’s great principle, “By their fruits you shall know them”. It sanctifies the Christian’s life, and makes them walk with God, lifting them above fear and love of the world. It enables a Christian to show God to other people. Such worship comes from heaven, and has the mark of God upon it.
NOTE: Taken from Ryle’s book Worship: It’s Priority, Principles, and Practice