Worship and Mission
Worship is essential because God is worthy of our worship. God is the Creator of all things, and the acceptable response of the creation to God is worship. As God is God, he commands and requires our worship. In confessing God as the only true God and serving him, we as the people of God live under his constant care and blessing.
However, evil had entered into the hearts of men and women at the fall when humankind sinned and disobeyed God (Gen. 3). Consequently, our hearts became darkened (Rom. 1:20-21), and we became open to all kinds of evil. Yet, God has never given up on fallen humanity. Instead, God continued to reach out to us in mercy and grace by providing the means of our restoration; Both restoring us to himself and true worship.
Consequently, God chose a particular people, including Abraham, Moses and David, who were God’s instrument of restoring true worship. Thus, the people of Israel became God’s chosen nation and a kingdom of priests to glorify God among all nations (Isa. 42:8-10). David (1 Chr. 16:4) and Solomon contributed much to this call. However, the kingdom split and the subsequent kings were corrupt and dishonoured God except for a few like Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah. The prophets continually sought to restore the pure worship of God, but the people repeatedly rejected their message. The prophets affirmed the universal reign of God and prophesied universal worship coming with people from all nations worshipping the God of Israel, who is the God of all the nations (Isa, 66:23).
Prophecies eventuated in the coming of the Messiah (Isa 60:3) who would restore true worship among all the nations of the earth. With the coming of Jesus, his life, death, resurrection, ascension and the arrival of the Holy Spirit, God’s universal missions commenced and continue to this day. It will continue until Jesus returns. Israel’s way of witnessing in the Old Testament was predominantly centripetal, so through their worship of God and a worshipful lifestyle Israel attracted and invited the people of other nations to come to God and learn to worship God. However, from Pentecost onwards with the coming of the Holy Spirit, God began to send out his people on centripetal mission to all the nations of the earth. Yet, God’s purpose in sending out his witnesses to the nations was not only centrifugal, but it was also centripetal for in doing so, God sought to draw all people to himself. Thus, making them a people who would worship him in Spirit and truth: “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks” (John 4:23). Accordingly, the culmination of history will end in the new heavenly Jerusalem filled with the presence of God and with true worship of him by all the nations of the earth (Rev 5:11-14).