I’m at the part of my proposed definition for worship leaders which says their task is to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
Certainly there are many aspects of God’s worth and works that we can and should dwell on as we sing His praise. He’s our Creator, our Deliverer, our Father, our Guide, our Shepherd, and Shield. But this side of the cross, we find the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6) and his substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. This is what Paul considered of first importance (1 Cor. 15:1-4), what Peter encouraged us to remember (2 Pet. 1:9), and what is to richly fill our singing (Col. 3:16). Every time we gather to worship God, the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ must be gloriously displayed for everyone to see and benefit from.
Here are four brief reasons why both in word and song, our Savior and His redemptive work must be central when we gather to exalt God.
1. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross made us worshippers of God. (Rev. 5:9-10)
We wouldn’t even be worshipping God if Jesus hadn’t endured God’s wrath against our sin and purchased us for His Father’s glory.
2. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross is our means of access to God. (Heb. 10:19-22; Eph. 2:18)
I’ve seen more than one church post a want ad for a worship leader who can lead a church “into God’s presence.” Tough job. Biblically speaking, no worship leader, pastor, band, or song will ever lead us “into God’s presence.” At Calvary, Jesus tore down the veil that separated us from God’s presence. His saving work is complete and will never be repeated – only joyfully recounted.
3. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross makes our worship acceptable. (1 Peter 2:4-5; Heb. 13:15)
Nothing against skill, practice, complexity, nuance, musicianship, or sincerity, but only the finished work of Christ makes our offerings of worship acceptable in God’s eyes. What a relief!
4. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross is the object of our adoration. (Rev. 5:11-12)
The hosts of heaven never seem to get tired of extolling the Lamb who was slain. Should we? At some point I want to talk about the blessings of Gospel-centered worship and the effects of neglecting it. But we’ll save that for another time. In the mean time, I encourage you to glory in the Redeemer whose praise will never cease throughout eternity.