I think that is why I have turned to biblical-theological studies in terms of seminary education and vocational ministry. And that is also why for the last CC conference in 2007, I coordinated workshops instead and spoke at the Worship Ministry workshop. I still love singing, and also yearn to lead worship again sometime in the future and rightly at that! However, if there is anything that the past 3 years has taught me, it is that all true worship both begins and ends with His God and His Word. Before any music is involved, a correct understanding of who God is and what He has done must be unveiled before God’s people; and after all times of musical worship, this very understanding should bring substance to lives of brotherly love and godly obedience.
Biblical worship hence must be God-centered, Word-centered, and Christ-centered. The music used in authentic Christian worship should serve and support this three-fold focus of worship that is proclaimed by the lyrics, and further, it must never distract us from the Word but point continually us to it.
Convicted of Sin, Convinced of Grace
Therefore, I am convinced that corporate Worship Leaders must rightly show, and the congregation thus must rightly see, that unconfessed and unrepented sin makes us guilty before God, pollutes our innermost beings, and ultimately hinders our worship to God. Because of the guilt of our sins, we deserve God’s condemnation and punishment; because of the pollution of our sins, our hearts become morally corrupt in God’s sight. Through the Law and the Scriptures, we thus are convicted of our sins.
But thanks be to God — because by the saving work of Christ on the cross, we don’t get what we deserve! We are “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:24-25). “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). But through the Cross and the Scriptures, we thus may be convinced of His grace!
This is the very thing that our worship, privately first and corporately second, must manifest and promote. It should entail a life that magnifies God in Christ Jesus — preaching the Gospel to ourselves daily, and reminding others to do the same; giving God an all-consuming response for His all-deserving revelation; loving Him with everything we got and loving our neighbors with all that we have left! Without this, our love is only a noisy gong and a clanging symbol (1 Cor. 13:1). But with this, our worship may be reverently loud — a soundtrack to holy Christ-glorifying lives where His name resounds and His praises ring out all over the world!
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
–2 Corinthians 5:20-21