Pastor Liu Tong: In Post-Epidemic Era, Christians Must First Restore Worship

File photo of Pastor Liu Tong, senior pastor of River of Life Christian Church in Silicon Valley, the United States
File photo of Pastor Liu Tong, senior pastor of River of Life Christian Church in Silicon Valley, the United States (photo:  Screenshot)
By Christine Lau June 21st, 2021

The storm of the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet stopped. Many Christians seem to have become accustomed to worship that is not quite the same as traditional ones, such as worshipping on the Internet, worshipping at home, and worshipping in front of their cell phones and computers…

Regarding how we, Christians should authentically worship God in such a special time, a megachurch pastor said that worship is a way to experience the presence of God.

In a recent sermon, Pastor Tong Liu of the River of Life Christian Church in the U.S. explained the true meaning of worship.

"When God's people are gathering, God wants to manifest His presence and power among His people so that everyone who comes before His throne will know that God is among us," the pastor said. 

"Where is the throne of our God? It is mentioned in Israel's praises." Quoting Psalms 22:3, Pastor Liu preached, "When we gather in worship and praise before God, His throne will be among us, releasing the power of His presence among us so that we can experience His deliverance and healing."

Liu quoted the scriptures from Isaiah 6:1-3 to think about the meaning of worship from Isaiah's experience of coming before the throne of God.

Worship is an honor to God

The first thing Isaiah did when he came into God's presence was to see God sitting on a high throne.

"Brothers and sisters, this is a very important thing. Today, if you don't understand this truth, it is very difficult for you to come to obey God, and there are millions of reasons in your mind, such as 'Lord, why don't you bless me?', 'I also give and serve, why don't you bless me, O God?'. We people always like to ask why," he added. 

Liu stated, "The God we believe in today is the true God of all the universe, and He is also the true God who created all things in the universe"; Pastor Tong Liu shared, "No matter how many atheists in the present age say there is no God and they want to drive God out of their circle of life, they can never deny one thing; man is born with an instinct to seek the meaning of life. This is something that cats, dogs, and other such animals do not have. You never see a cat or a dog there thinking what is the meaning of my life. Only humans think, because we are created in the image of God, and in us, there is a longing for eternity, righteousness and perfection, which comes from God."

"Our God is not only the Lord who created the universe, He is also the Lord of history. In other words, our God didn't just let go of the universe after creating everything in it", Pastor Liu emphasized, "He has an eternal plan of salvation for mankind. We see that in the history of mankind, no matter how many human schemes, enemy attacks and obstructions, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, still came to this world in the flesh according to God's plan, and Jesus Christ still accomplished the salvation of mankind according to God's will. No matter how evil and dark the present age is, the Lord promises us that He will surely come again."

According to Revelation 5:12, Pastor Liu confessed that today we could worship and praise not for any other reason, but simply because our God is truly worthy of all our praise.

Worship is a love for God

"Our faith is different from other religions in that our faith is based on a relationship with God, not out of fear, nor is it a mere prayer for blessing. Our faith is a true connection of love. Today our God not only loves us, but also amazingly longs for us to adore Him."

According to Matthew 22:37-38, one of the greatest commandments that God gives us in the Bible is to love Him.

Pastor Liu Tong explained, "In other words, God's greatest requirement for us is not to do this or that, but to come and love Him alone. You know we Chinese don't know how to express love very well. When we think of love, we tend to think of attending meetings, tithing, and participating in ministry, and we often think that we do this or that for the Lord out of loving Him. But in fact, this is not what the Lord said. The Lord says, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'

"What is love? Love is not in what you do for the other person, but putting your mind and heart on the other person. What our Lord desires of us today is not what we do, which is of course important and necessary. But God desires more than anything else that we turn our hearts and our minds to Him. This is why worship and praise are so important. In worship and praise, we can bring our hearts and minds to Him alone to think of His love, to think of His works, and to say, 'Lord, you know that we love you deeply.'"

Openness to God through worship

According to Isaiah 6:5, when Isaiah realized that God was so holy and righteous, he saw the filthiness in himself, and that he was living in the midst of it without knowing it.

"Brothers and sisters, isn't this the current situation of you and me?" Pastor Liu Tong shared, "In the midst of ministry, we feel that we are quite capable and spiritual. Others may need God's help, but we can handle it on our own, and we don't need God. It's like the night the Lord was betrayed, when Peter said, 'Everyone else will fall, but I will never fall'. As a result, he denied the Lord three times before the rooster crowed. We really need to humble ourselves and open our hearts to worship."

The coals of fire in Isaiah 6:7 represent the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is not only the salvation from sin but also the gospel of healing. Where Isaiah confessed sin and weakness, God brought forgiveness and healing.

Pastor Liu Tong continued, "In the same way, today, when we worship God with an open heart when we humbly bring all our weaknesses and needs to God, the rivers of God's healing, will flow in your life and make you whole again. This is why you often can't help but weep when you are in worship. The reason why you shed tears is that in the depths of your heart you have met God. Therefore, do not be embarrassed because you shed tears before God, it is the work of God. And do not despise the tears you shed before the Lord."

Worship is a commitment to God

Liu said that when we worshipped, we were close to the heart of God that is for all nations to come and praise Him, and through worship and praise for all nations to understand God's love, justice, mercy and faithfulness.

"You need to know that your worship before God is not just for yourself, but for all nations and all peoples. That's when your worship must bring an act of devotion," he added. 

According to Isaiah 6:8, he said, "An authentic worship never seeks just to satisfy oneself; an authentic worship must be a worship that satisfies the heart of God. When you walk into a church, you know that it is a place of worship and praise. You will enter into the mind of God through worship and praise, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will fulfill the great commission of God on earth: that all nations come to God, worship and praise Him, and satisfy His mind".

- Translated by Wylie Sun 

related articles
LATEST FROM Church & Ministries