The Deformation of Christian Worship Necessitates a Bold Reformation

Josh Buice


In the 2020 G3 Conference, I preached from 1 Timothy 3:!4-16 on the need for a bold reformation In Christian worship as a result of a consistent and pervasive deformation that presses upon the church weekly. It’s often a slow drift that goes unnoticed and uncorrected that leads the church to embrace methods and models of worship that look nothing like what God has commanded in Scripture.

In this sermon, I sought to explain how Paul had apparently been made aware of something that was off center in the church’s functionality which likely included their worship. Paul’s point was that the church should behave in a certain way and Timothy was the one God had placed in leadership and he must lead and guide the church away from error and back onto the proper path.

As Paul pointed out in the text, the church is the pillar and buttress of truth, an image that Timothy would have understood well since the temple of Diana was standing tall with 127 massive pillars in Ephesus. Unlike the pagan temple of Diana that was dedicated to a false goddess and immoral worship, the church is dedicated to the living God and must function with God glorifying worship.

In our day, we must not be swayed off course to embrace pragmatic tricks in order to grow our church much like athletes look to steroids in order to get some advantage over their competition. The culture will consistently tempt pastors to embrace cultural ideologies such as social justice and various other church growth gimmicks centered on entertainment rather than God honoring worship. Just as Timothy was called to lead and correct the church in Ephesus, pastors in our day are called to do the same thing.

John Calvin observes, “Nothing is more sacred and holy than the truth that embraces both God’s glory and man’s salvation. If you could collect together all the praises that have been heaped on pagan philosophers, they pale into insignificance when compared with this heavenly wisdom. This alone should be called light and truth and this alone gives teaching about how to live and how to find the way to God and his kingdom. This truth is only preserved in the world through the ministry of the church. So a very heavy responsibility rests on pastors who have been entrusted with the safekeeping of this priceless treasure.” [1]

When people seek to attend our worship services in order to be entertained, we must lovingly correct their hearts and point them to the biblical call of participation in worship. Such participation is centered on the depth of biblical theology as we see in Paul’s quotation of an early church hymn in his letter to Timothy. Deep theology produces passionate doxology.

I trust the sermon will be an encouragement to you.

  1. John Calvin, 1, 2 Timothy and Titus, Crossway Classic Commentaries (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 61.
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Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.