Worship: A Summary

prostrationWe need to pause a bit to summarize.

* God created the heavens and earth as a temple in which to rest.

* Adam and Eve were created to be images of God, displaying his nature in the midst of his temple.

* Adam and Eve were also created to be priests of God in his temple

* Today, the church, as the body of Jesus, is the temple of God.

* Christians are being transformed by God’s Spirit into the image of Jesus, who is the image of God. We Christians are charged to display the nature of Jesus in his temple, the church. We are also created to be priests in the body of Christ — a priesthood of believers.

* At the end of time, the Creation and the Church will be one — one temple, with all of humanity fully transformed into the image of God/Christ.

* Until then, the church/Kingdom is charged with expanding its borders until one day the world has been transformed into the image of Jesus. One day, it all comes together. Until then, our mission is to work alongside God to bring this about.

* The temple is where God is worshiped, and God is only worshiped in the temple. At one time, this meant all of Creation, but when sin entered the world, worship was limited to the tabernacle and, later, the Temple — which were built as microcosms of the Creation. But because of sin, God’s worship was only allowed in the microcosm — in the Holy of Holies where God and the earth were not separated — unlike the rest of the Fallen Creation.

* Today, however, the temple is Jesus and his body — the church. We are returning to a world where worship may be anywhere, because God and man, heaven and the earth, are being rejoined everywhere the Kingdom is. The Kingdom is itself the rejoining of God and man, as shown by God’s indwelling within the Church through his Spirit — individually and corporately.

* Therefore, the entire Kingdom is a proper place of worship, because worship may take place anywhere that God and man are joined — which is true of all Christians everywhere, every time.

* Worship is no longer limited to a particular physical location or building.

* Worship is no longer about “regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness” (Heb 9:1 ESV).

* To worship “in Spirit and truth” requires the presence of the Spirit and submission to the gospel. Therefore,

— Worship is exclusively in the presence of the Spirit. After all, the Spirit himself brings about a joining of heaven and earth.

— Worship is exclusively in Jesus. There is no worship outside of Jesus.

* Worship is always about sacrifice, and sacrifice is always costly.

* Our sacrifice emulates the sacrifice of Jesus: we sacrifice ourselves as living sacrifices on Jesus as the altar (Rom 12:1).

* As living sacrifices, we submit to the Spirit’s leading (Rom 12:2-6) and we submit to one another in Christ-like love (Rom 12:7-15:7).

* In general, what the Bible calls “worship” is all about self-sacrifice, modeling the death of Jesus. Worship is therefore necessarily cruciform. It’s not so much praise as an offering of oneself. Nothing less will do. No longer are the firstfruits and a lamb without spot or blemish enough. Sunday morning is not enough. It’s everything or it’s nothing.

* Therefore, to grasp the significance of the Sunday morning assembly in terms of worship, we have to stay strictly within this paradigm. We can’t just assume that because our preachers call it “worship” that it is — or that “worship” is even a particularly helpful construct for discussing the assembly. It might be. But it’s not to be assumed.

So does the assembly have anything to do with worship?

Well, no. And yes.

We’re headed there.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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6 Responses to Worship: A Summary

  1. R.J. says:

    “No longer are the firstfruits and a lamb without spot or blemish enough”.

    The firstfruits was considered the best of the best to the Jews so I doubt he calls us to do more(unless I’m missing something).

  2. Dwight says:

    You wrote, “Today, the church, as the body of Jesus, is the temple of God.”
    I know we are called the Temple as in each of us, but I have never seen a place where the collective people are called the Temple and on par with the body of Christ.
    We are the Temple because we hold God within us and are priest and sacrifices of self, which is all about the individual.
    Now we as an individual form the body, which is the congregation of Jesus, of which Jesus is the head, but the scriptures never relate the body of Jesus to being the Temple of God. After all Jesus is the High Priest and the viel between earth and heaven was rent with his flesh giving Jesus access and allowing us access. In this sense the Temple is heaven where God is at.
    So the people of God individually have access to God in heaven through Christ and form in heaven the church which is where our membership is.

  3. Dwight says:

    In regards to “Worship is always about sacrifice, and sacrifice is always costly.”
    I think worship is about offering, but it might not always be costly. If singing is worship, then we are offering praise to God, but we haven’t really lost anything, but it does require effort and time and our heart and soul, but to me that is a net gain. Sacrifice is about giving up, but even when they in the OT gave up, they understood that they would recieve a blessing in return. A sin offering removed sin from before them. The lamb was the one who lost it all and gave the most, which is why Jesus was perfect in that part. We are to be a sacrifice, but a living one, so we give up our life to gain the blessings of God and to live again in Christ.
    What is it that is said, “In breakfast-the chicken is involved, the pig is committed”
    We are to be involved in comittment and comitted to being involved.
    Just some thoughts, but great points all around to think on.

  4. You can’t serve the Devil six days and successfully worship God on the other day. True worship is a 24/7 walk in the Spirit. Jay, another top-notch post! I did a 15 installment series on worship some time back that came to similar conclusions. A complete index to that series is here.

  5. Jay Guin says:


    Thanks! 🙂

  6. Jay Guin says:


    Individual Christians are called a “temple” of the Spirit in 1 Cor 6 and only there. Congregations are called a temple of the Spirit in 1 Cor 3, Eph 2, and 1 Pet 2. And these are much longer discussions. In Eph, the concept permeates the entire book.

    And so it’s true both individually and corporately, but especially corporately. There’s a far greater emphasis on the corporate indwelling than on the individual indwelling. We miss it because our worldview is Western and hence very individualistic — making us blind to the implications. We don’t really know how to think in corporate terms.

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