From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“Corporate worship is an essential aspect of our relationship to God because we are encouraged to “draw near to listen, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools.”  When we attend church, the central aspects of the experience should be worship and praise.  Worship must entail and contain the Word of God going forward in such a way that disciples receive instruction on how to be a disciple.  This is crucial, critical, a must, so much so that it is my contention that there is no real corporate worship without the Word of God going forward.  In today’s “religious” environment, many “praise concerts” are held.  In this context, songs of “praise” are sung and offerings are lifted, but oftentimes the seeker leaves unfulfilled, or “unfilled” with the Word.  We leave entertained, feeling good but we know nothing more about God and His will for us.  We are unequipped to deal with the challenges the world will throw at us unless we get some Word into us.  We should enter the corporate worship experience with the aim to listen intently and intentionally towards applying what we hear to our daily walk with Him.

This implies an obligation upon the “messenger” of God (Ecclesiastes 5: 6) to ensure that the Word is available and accessible to those who come to worship.  But we listeners/disciples are also obligated to come to the worship experience to “listen” and not to offer the “sacrifice of fools”.  A fool defined: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God’. (Psalm 53: 1)  ”The sacrifice of fools is many empty words or promises to God what we are going to do in His service, insincere, empty and repetitive prayers and a self-centered motivation for giving.””

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