It has been our privilege to read "Worship, The Christian's Highest Occupation" in manuscript. We acknowledge a great debt of gratitude to the author for being the first to bring to our attention, over thirty years ago, many of the precious truths contained in this book; and the acceptance of which radically changed the course and character of our ministry.
Here is a book with which we thoroughly agree and which we can heartily endorse without reservation.
The title is challenging and the treatment convincing. The author's assertion that "worship is associated with a spiritual maturity," is equally true of this book. Even a casual reader would soon detect that it is not the vaporizings of a novice ambitious to become an author; but rather the product of firm convictions based upon a careful searching of the Scriptures, and matured by meditation and by years of deep experience in the Christian path, and strengthened by keen observations.
In his own inimitable way, the author proceeds in an orderly and cumulative fashion. His homiletic gift is evident and most helpful to the reader. The book is marked by clarity of thought and expression, made more forceful by vivid figures of speech and graphic illustrations.
The reader is soon aware of the fact that worship is not a subject which can be developed and dismissed with a paragraph, but, instead, is impressed with the vastness and importance of the theme. Basic facts on the subject are drawn from both the Old and New Testaments. Practical applications and responsibilities are made clear and inescapable.
The truth concerning worship is faithfully presented and false theories and practices are mercilessly exposed, frequently by the apt use of sanctified irony. Clouds which confuse many on the subject are dispelled as a number of distinctions of truth are drawn. We cite several.
The contrast between the ritualistic worship of Judaism and the spiritual worship of Christianity and the superiority of the latter, is worth the reading of the book. The difference between worship and ministry is clearly drawn and is most helpful in these days when Christendom seems to know little about, and values less, the privileges of worship. The place of worship, within the veil, is clearly distinguished from the place of meeting; something which most religious systems utterly fail to see.
The chapters which deal with the worshipper, his privileges and perils, the things to be sought and the things to avoid, the preparation of the heart and mind for true worship, are most searching.
The description of the worship of the wise men is a spiritual classic, and might well be printed in pamphlet form for wider distribution.
Certain adult Bible classes would find this volume suitable for a text book for a series of studies on worship. Elder brethren would render a great service by circulating copies among those young in the faith.
We hope and pray that the book may have the wide reading which it merits, and that it may be used of GOD in leading many into an appreciation and practice of "the highest occupation of the Christian."
George M. Landis
If the title of this book is correct, as we believe it is, then the importance of the subject will be obvious to every child of GOD. A great deal of confusion exists in Christendom as to just what constitutes worship. It is often confounded with listening to a sermon; with service for the LORD on behalf of others; with testimony to CHRIST's saving and satisfying grace; with the preaching of the Gospel; with ministry of the Word to believers, and with prayer.
Many Christians put the emphasis of their lives on service for GOD, to the exclusion of the worship of GOD. Others swing to the other extreme, and so stress the importance of worship, that service for the LORD is viewed as being of little or no consequence. We must beware of lopsidedness, or of seeking to push one truth of Scripture to an extreme the Bible does not warrant. The believer must seek to maintain the truth of GOD in its proper perspective and correct balance. The words of our Lord JESUS CHRIST give the proper order of precedence. In His reply to Satan's temptation, He said: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10). That quality of worship which does not result in service, and that service which does not flow from worship, both come short of the Divine ideal.
The order in which the heroes of faith are mentioned, in Hebrews chapter 11, is not without significance. The first name is that of Abel, who, by faith, "offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain" (vs. 4). This surely speaks of worship. The next is Enoch, whose life was characterized by a walk of fellowship with GOD which delighted His heart. The third is Noah, who, in response to GOD's revelation, built an ark to the saving of his house. This certainly illustrates the work of faith. Thus the order of Divine precedence is here suggested: the worship, walk and work of faith.
To a great number of people the word, "worship," only connotes the respectful and formal recognition of GOD, at a distance, on certain stated occasions, in accordance with an ecclesiastically prepared ritual, usually in buildings particularly designed for the purpose, and generally through the mediation of specially selected, theologically educated, and humanly ordained clergymen.
One sometimes sees signs outside a church building inviting all and sundry to: "Come and worship with us." On entering such a place, all one would hear would be a preaching service, with a sermon which might, or might not, lead the hearer ultimately to worship; but the mere fact of listening to a sermon, even though it may be on the subject of worship, is not worship.
The distinction between ministry and worship can be simply stated as follows: Ministry is that which comes down to us, from the Father, through the Son, in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT, and through the human instrument whom GOD has gifted for this purpose. Worship is that which goes up, from the believer, by the HOLY SPIRIT's power, through the Son, to the Father. Thus ministry is that which descends from GOD to us; while worship is that which ascends from us to GOD.
We shall consider the subject of worship under the following ten headings:
1. Its meaning, or definition.
2. Its importance.
3. Its authority.
4. Its object.
5. Its ground.
6. Its power.
7. Its manner.
8. Its hindrances.
9. Its places.
Grateful appreciation is due to my very good friend and brother in CHRIST, George M. Landis, of Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, for his kindness in reading the manuscript, and writing a foreword to this book.
A detailed outline of the subject will be found at the beginning of the book. This brief analysis will enable the reader to grasp the argument as a whole, and also facilitate quick reference to any particular part in which he is interested.
May it be ours, as we study this important subject, not only to gain an intellectual apprehension of what the Bible teaches regarding worship; but to so adjust our lives to this knowledge that we shall be found amongst those who "worship God is spirit and in truth." By this we shall not only be enabled to bring glory to His name, but also delight to His heart.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION
It is with gratitude to GOD that a second edition of this book has become necessary. It is sent forth thoroughly revised, and with an addition in the form of an appendix which is devoted to the subject of, "Direct Address to the Lord JESUS."
May GOD be pleased to continue His good hand on the message of this book, and use it to lead many more believers to a greater appreciation of their privileges as "a kingdom of priests unto God," and a more faithful discharge of their responsibilities to GOD in this important matter of their worship.
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