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Flying a Little Lower

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven
—for she loved much.”

The Gospel According to Luke 7:47 (ESV)

There can be no doubt as to the center of gravity in New Testament teaching on worship. The lodestone which irresistibly draws the New Testament Church to the recognition of God’s love and mercy
is His saving action in the Son of His love

– Ralph Martin, Worship in the Early Church

For quite some time I’ve been stuck on the idea that most of the music we play in the corporate worship setting needs to revolve around Jesus and his work on the Cross.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that you can’t sing songs about God and his goodness, or how great of a creator he is or how much we love him. It just seems that most of the worship music I hear is cruising about 10,000 feet high when it comes to who God is and what is going on in redemptive history. The lyrics appear to be lifted from the Old Testament and are sometimes almost so generic that, frankly, any faith could almost sing along. Again, it’s not bad (I like the OT) it’s just that we could do better. We’ve been given much greater revelation to sing about, revelation that is the locus of redemptive history, revelation that all the cosmos revolves around, revelation that makes us who we are in the Church. In a phrase, “Where’s the cross?”

We are told in scripture that the greatest expression of God is in the person of Jesus, and his work on Calvary is the greatest expression of his love. If this is the zenith of both who God is and what he has done for us surely this should be the center of our worship? I wonder if some who find themselves disconnected emotionally during the time of corporate worship do so because they’re constantly bombarded with song after song laden with redemptively vague and theologically generic lyrics which give a paint-by-numbers view of God instead of a New Testament-saturated expression of Christ and him crucified?

In Luke 7:36-50 we see a former prostitute lavishly and passionately demonstrating great affection for the Savior due to the fact that she had been forgiven. Forgiveness fuels affection. It always has, it always will. What greater way can we reignite the embers of love for Jesus in the heart of the worshipper with music than by getting before him the truth that he has been greatly forgiven by God? The only way that happens is by using music that highlights Jesus and the work of the cross.

We’re New Covenant members for Christ’s sake (literally), let’s worship like it.

Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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