July 2, 2022

The Cross: Essential in Worship

A couple of years in the past I had a dialog with a Christian chief in regards to the sorts of songs we needs to be singing in worship. I steered we wanted extra songs that referenced the cross of Christ and all it means. His response was dismissive. “Matt Redman has written sufficient songs in regards to the cross for all of us.”

I used to be surprised. I’m a giant Matt Redman fan and assume he’s made an enormous contribution to songs that discover the importance of the cross. However I strongly disagreed with my good friend.

I grew up in a spiritual custom the place, week after week, the physique of Christ hanging on a cross was prominently displayed on the entrance. Every time I regarded up on the pained face of Jesus I felt a combination of sorrow, marvel and pleasure. I wasn’t fairly certain what all of it meant, however I assumed that if Jesus had gone to all that hassle to die for me, I certainly owed Him one thing.

However a lot of the time, I used to be utterly unaware and unaffected by the cross, regardless that it was proper in entrance of me each Sunday. It blended into the background of the stained glass home windows, the picket pews and the stone flooring.

I believe what I skilled rising up isn’t not like what many people undergo at present. The cross is considerably peripheral to our encounters with God, both as a result of we’re not fairly certain what it means or as a result of we hardly ever give it some thought.

I began changing into conscious this was an issue once I learn via the lyrics of some worship CDs and located solely two or three references to Jesus dying for us. There have been even fewer explanations of what it means. I’ve skilled the identical phenomenon in instances of worship when a worship chief barely references or helps us perceive the centrality of Christ’s work in our religion and lives.

Fortunately, the tide is altering. Music writers like Steve Charge, Stuart Townend, Paul Baloche and others are looking for to fill the hole of cross-less worship songs. However singing extra songs in regards to the cross doesn’t imply we perceive what they imply or why it’s so vital. Which is what I need to take a number of moments to discover.

For some, the cross is a superb sentimental story, type of like ones we heard rising up. It’s transferring, it’s dramatic, it’s inspiring. The reality is, it’s rather more than that.

For others the cross is all about Jesus setting an instance of service and sacrifice for us to comply with. That’s precisely what the New Testomony tells us in passages like Philippians 2:5-11 and 1 Peter 2:21. There’s definitely no higher instance of selflessness to comply with. However each of these passages go on to inform us that Jesus is rather more than our instance — He’s our Savior.

The cross may also be considered as Jesus conquering all of the evil within the universe, righting all of the wrongs, and popping out on prime. Form of the super-hero mannequin. We get to profit from His victory, and worship is a celebration of being on the profitable staff. Once more, true, however solely a part of the story.

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Nonetheless others view the cross as an incredible show of affection that factors to our inestimable price. This one is refined. There is no such thing as a extra unimaginable show of affection than the Son of God giving His life as much as demise on the cross. But it surely factors to not the greatness of our price, however the greatness of our sin. God loves us not as a result of we’re pretty, however as a result of He’s loving.

Nobody illustration or analogy can absolutely clarify the whole lot that befell at Calvary 2000 years in the past. However there’s one clarification of the Savior’s demise on the cross that gives the muse for each different interpretation and helps us perceive why the cross is central to our worship.

The first goal of the cross was to resolve the issue of sinful individuals drawing close to to a holy God. Ever since Adam and Eve had been expelled from the Backyard, we’ve been unable to method God on our personal. Repeated sacrifices within the Outdated Testomony reminded the Israelites of that truth. Within the sacrifice of Christ, the knowledge of God devised a approach to protect the righteousness of God whereas displaying the love of God to those that deserved the wrath of God.

In different phrases, Jesus, absolutely God and absolutely man, fulfilled the instructions of God for us via His righteous life after which endured God’s wrath in opposition to us on the cross.

Calvary means forgiveness for sins, the upholding of God’s righteousness, the satisfying of His wrath, the lavish show of His mercy, our adoption into God’s household, and His victory over sin, demise and Devil.

So what does that imply for our worship? No less than three issues.

1. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross is our technique of entry

For hundreds of years earlier than Christ got here, the excessive priest represented God’s individuals as he entered the Holy of Holies annually to make atonement for sin. Now Jesus has entered the heavenly sanctuary to make full atonement for our sins and to tear down the veil that separated us from God.

The author of Hebrews encourages us with these phrases, “Due to this fact, brothers, since we’ve got confidence to enter the holy locations by the blood of Jesus, by the brand new and residing approach that He opened for us via the curtain, that’s, via His flesh, and since we’ve got an amazing priest over the home of God, allow us to draw close to …” (Hebrews 10:19-22a). Talking of Jesus, Paul writes, “For via Him we each have entry in a single Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18).

Other than Christ’s completed work, we might haven’t any entry to God. To haven’t any entry means not solely that we will’t get shut — we will’t even get in. It jogs my memory of the instances I’ve tried to enter an internet site I’ve visited earlier than that requires a password. I simply can’t bear in mind what it’s. I strive my avenue identify. Nope. I strive my workplace password. Improper once more. In desperation, I begin randomly typing. That doesn’t work both. Except I do know the precise mixture of letters and numbers I initially arrange, I’ll by no means see something however “entry denied.”

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As our excessive priest and excellent sacrifice, Jesus is our password into God’s presence. This implies no worship chief, no track, no band can ever “lead us into God’s presence.” I can’t sing, dance or prophesy my approach into God’s presence. Worship itself can’t lead us into God’s presence! Solely Jesus himself can deliver us into God’s presence, and He has completed it via a single sacrifice that may by no means be repeated and can by no means lose its impact.

After all, there are occasions we expertise God’s presence in a extra pronounced approach than at different instances. God typically makes a bunch of individuals conscious that He’s of their midst. It could be in response to a therapeutic or God’s Phrase being powerfully preached. A holy awe fills the room, and everybody thinks, “God confirmed up!” Really, we’re simply extra conscious of Him.

At different instances sensing God’s presence is the results of meditating on His love or His faithfulness in caring for us. As our focus adjustments, religion rises in our hearts. However emotions may be deceptive. It may be the sound of the music that makes us assume God is nearer than He was quarter-hour in the past. However in Christ we’re as close to to God as we’ll ever be.

2. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross makes our worship acceptable

God might reject our worship for a variety of causes. He particularly condemns acts of worship related to idolatry, unbelief, disobedience and evil motives (Jeremiah 13:10; Exodus 32:22-24; Exodus 30:9; Jeremiah 7:21-26). However rehearsing this listing shouldn’t lead us to assume that our choices of worship might ever be pleasing to God on their very own. Attempt as onerous as we like, our hearts and worship won’t ever be utterly pure earlier than God.

The final word issue of acceptable worship is religion in and union with Jesus Christ. He’s our good worship chief (Hebrews 2:12). Our religious sacrifices are “acceptable to God via Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). It’s His sinless providing of worship that cleanses and perfects ours.

Nothing in opposition to talent, follow, complexity, nuance, quantity, musicianship or ardour. However solely the completed work of Christ makes our choices of worship acceptable in God’s eyes.

That doesn’t imply what we do in worship doesn’t matter to God. It does. However once we overemphasize our personal actions in worship, we will create the impression that the issues we do in and of themselves make our worship acceptable to God. We predict God is very happy with our inventive musical preparations, our expert efficiency and even our exuberant ardour.

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It’s not the excellence of our providing that makes our worship acceptable, however the excellence of Christ. We are able to’t worship the everlasting Father aside from the everlasting Son. He was capable of supply His personal righteous life as an ideal providing, as a result of He had no sins of His personal to die for (Hebrews 7:26). Even now He intercedes for us, saving us “to the uttermost” (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

How do we all know God loves and accepts us? By taking a look at Jesus Christ, crushed and bruised for our transgressions, giving up His life in our place on the cross. There’ll by no means be a higher proof or demonstration of God’s love.

It’s not unusual for us to “really feel” cherished by God once we’re engaged in worship. But when that feeling isn’t rooted within the Gospel, it is going to be an elusive sensation. It’s not sufficient to sing songs about God’s love that produce heat emotions in our hearts. We have to bear in mind the fact of Christ crucified.

If we give attention to what God did 2000 years in the past fairly than simply 20 minutes in the past, we’ll ultimately discover our hearts ravished by His superb love.

3. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross is the item of our adoration

Have you ever ever thought that singing about Jesus giving His life for us is extra for brand spanking new or younger believers? Perhaps we’re tempted to assume that as we mature we’re alleged to “graduate” to themes like intimacy with God, the ability of the Holy Spirit to heal, or world mission.

The hosts of heaven don’t share that perspective. Day and evening they cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to obtain energy and wealth and knowledge and would possibly and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).

When Jesus seems because the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Revelation 5:5, God might need honored Him for his ethical perfection; His educating, miraculous therapeutic powers; or His superb resurrection. He might need known as consideration to His function in creating and sustaining the universe. However He doesn’t. As a substitute, He highlights His substitutionary sacrifice for our sins because the central purpose He’s worthy of worship. “Worthy are you … for you had been slain, and by your blood you ransomed individuals for God from each tribe and language and folks and nation” (Revelation 5:9).

With so many clear references to the precedence of Jesus and His atoning work, it’s astounding how typically we undergo whole conferences with solely passing references to what He’s completed via His life, demise and resurrection. Once we do point out Him in our songs or prayers, we regularly fail to elaborate on what He’s carried out. The hosts of heaven by no means appear to get uninterested in extolling the Lamb who was slain. Ought to we?

Copyright 2007 Bob Kauflin. All rights reserved.