A good reminder from Edmund Clowney on what’s at stake when we join in corporate worship:
Few consciences today would be violated by anything that happens in a church service. People think of church as offering religious platform presentations: a pageant of some sort, or a speaker offering professional opinions on such things as stress reduction and family values. Participative services may be viewed as spiritual talent shows, or as large-group therapy. Sadly, churches have contributed to such misunderstanding by losing the awe as well as the joy of meeting God in worship. In the New Covenant we must not forget the lessons of the Old. God invites worship on his terms, not ours. The Reformers often reminded the church of the words God spoke after judging Aaron’s sons, the priests Nadab and Abihu, who had broken the law by burning incense with fire that had not been taken from God’s altar (Lv. 10:1-7, cf. 16:12):
Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored (Lev. 10:3).
Or, as the author to the Hebrews tells us: ‘Worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire”‘ (Heb. 12:28-29). (p.123, The Church)