Worship, The Christian Way - More Than Music

Worship, The Christian Way – More Than Music

Worship, The Christian Way – More Than Music

This is another day; hope your week was fine? Thank God for His mercies. The year is still very young. I am going to share with you something about worship, not just worship but Christian worship, what it’s all about.

Christian worship is often thought of as the music portion of a church service, people singing songs to God, heads back, eyes closed, and hands raised in the air as they sing. Christian worship happens when we sing to God, whether in church or alone, in our cars or in the shower. If our desire is to please the heart of God, it is worship, no matter where the location or how many are involved.

Music affects our emotions and the lyrics can swell our hearts, causing us to become lost in the experience. Christian praise and worship music is a great tool for helping us feel closer to God. It’s not uncommon for people to even pick a church because of the style of its worship music. Often people will emerge from a service saying, “The worship was wonderful today,” or “The sermon was great, but I was really moved by the worship.” You may be surprised to realize that the entire service is about worshipping God!

In the New Testament, the Greek word most often translated “worship” is proskuneo it means “to fall down before” or “bow down before.” Worship is a state (an attitude) of spirit. Since it’s an internal, individual action, it could/should be done most of the time (or all the time) in our lives, regardless of place or situation (John 4:21). Therefore, I can categorically tell you that Christians worship all the time, seven days a week. At least, that is what it’s supposed to be. When Christians formally gather together in worship, still the emphasis should be on individually worshiping the Lord. Even in a congregation, participants need to be aware that they are worshiping God fully on an individual basis.

Another picture of Christian worship is showing reverence and gratitude like I said by bowing down before God, as in this passage from the book Nehemiah:

“And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” Nehemiah 8:6 Both singing and bowing down are acts of worship, but they are only part of the picture. Christian worship is so much more than that!

The nature of Christian worship is from the inside out and has two equally important parts. We must worship “in spirit and in truth” John 4:23-24. Worshiping in the spirit has nothing to do with our physical posture. It has to do with our innermost being and requires several things. First, we must be born again. Without the Holy Spirit residing within us, we cannot respond to God in worship because we do not know Him. “…even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11b. The Holy Spirit within us is the one who energizes worship towards God the Father, and all true worship glorifies Him.

Second, worshiping in spirit requires a mind centered on God and renewed by Truth. Paul exhorts us to “present that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1b, 2. Only when our minds are changed from being centered on worldly things to being centered on God can we worship in spirit. Distractions of many kinds can flood our minds as we try to praise and glorify God, hindering our true worship.

 

Third, we can only worship in spirit by having a pure heart, open and repentant. When King David’s heart was filled with guilt over his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), he found it impossible to worship. He felt that God was far from him, and he “groaned all day long” feeling God’s hand heavy upon him (Psalm 32:3, 4). But when he confessed, fellowship with God was restored and worship and praise poured forth from him. He understood that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart…” Psalm 51:17. Praise and worship toward God cannot come from hearts filled with unconfessed sin.

 

Christian Worship – It’s all about the position of our hearts

Christian worship begins with discovering and admitting what we have been worshipping in our lives. All of us worship something, whether we know it or not. We may not physically bow down to it, or offer it songs of praise and adoration, but whatever we devote most of our time and attention to is often what we worship. Let’s define the word Worship in the English dictionary. Remember the Greek word proskuneo partly meaning a state an attitude of spirit.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines worship: “Reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence; a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual; extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem.”

Seen in that light, it’s easy to see that we can worship God, we can worship money, power, a music star or we can even worship a lifestyle. Worship is more than an act of reverence. It is an attitude of the heart.

Christian worship is clearly of interest to God. He knows we have an inner need to worship, so He asks us to worship Him. He, being God, can handle the weight of being worshipped; humans cannot. People who are worshipped by others can often be influenced to think more highly of themselves than they ought. The Bible makes it plain that there is only one God worthy of our worship:

Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 6:13-15

Do you love God? Are you thankful for what He has done for you through His Son Jesus Christ?

“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

You can follow the admonition of this Psalm by turning away from what you formerly worshipped and acknowledging the lordship of Jesus. Let the life you live be an act of worship to Him. Whether you are called to be a preacher, a singer, a writer, a software engineer, a salesperson, a truck driver or whatever vocation you find yourself in, you can do everything to the glory of God. The scripture says “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” Colossians 3: 23 When you do, you are engaging in Christian worship.

From the Old to the New Testament the meaning of worship is the same. The word translated worship in the Old Testament is the word shachah, (pronounced shaw-khaw’) meaning to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God):–bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

Bottom line, external actions are really not as important as the position of the heart in Christian worship. It is not a must for there is no rule regarding whether we should sit, stand, fall down, be quiet, or sing praises loudly while in corporate worship. These things should be decided based on the nature of the congregation. The most important thing is that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit (In our hearts) and in truth. (In our minds.)” John 4:24

How can I know how to properly worship God?”

Like we learnt in part one, worship can be defined as the act of honoring and loving a deity, idol or person in a “selfless” manner. The act of worship involves the total self in giving praise, thanksgiving and reverence to that deity, person or material object. It is not a half-hearted affair, and it is only after we distinguish between that which is and isn’t worship, with regards to the divine objective, that we can begin to answer the above question more fully. I always illustrate that with a man and his wife. When the two are in the act of conjugal bliss nothing else matters. They are oblivious of anything else at those moments. Same should be with worship. It is a very deep personal experience.

True, biblical worship, as defined by the scholar A. W. Pink (1886 – 1952) in his exposition of the gospel of John, says this: “It is a redeemed heart, occupied with God, expressing itself in adoration and thanksgiving.” Likewise, A. W. Tozer said, “True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God, that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.”

 

So, let me repeat this. The true worship of God is distinguished by the following criteria:

first, it comes from the redeemed heart of a man or woman who has been justified before God by faith and who is trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness of sins. (2 Timothy 2:26; 1 John 2:15). Any worship, other than that from even a “washed” heart, is vain.

Second, true worship of God comes from a heart that desires Him alone. This was precisely where the Samaritan people erred; they sought to worship both God and idols (2 Kings 17:28-41), and this is reaffirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ when He discourses on the subject of true worship with the Samaritan woman who came to fetch water from the well. “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22. These people worshipped God “half-heartedly” because their total affection was not set on God. It is possible for even true believers to fall into this second error. We might not assent to having physical idols, like the Samaritans did, but what absorbs our will, our time, our resources most of all? Is it careers, material possessions, money, health, even our families? Let us cry out, like King David in Psalm 63:5, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:” Nothing less than God should satisfy the heart of the regenerate man, and his response to that divine satisfaction, comparable to the best food ever, is the fruit of lips that sing God’s praise.  “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15.

 

Third, true Christian worship of God is the desire to continue to build up our knowledge of God. How we have lost that desire in these days! We should make it a point of duty to be reading our Bible daily. We need to fill our minds constantly with the things of God; God should always be on our mind, and everything we do should be done with reference to Him “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17; “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Scripture says in Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (worship).” The Greek word there can be translated worship as well, meaning our daily lives should also be considered as worship. Every day we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. The church is supposed to be impacting the world by its worship of God. Far too often, it’s the other way around. TV soap Operas, football and soccer games, electronic devices etc. We allow them to all contribute to wasting our time outside of God.  Joshua 1:8 says “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. In other words, if you can find any other time outside of Day and Night, you are free to use it for yourself only.

Let us purify our hearts if we really want to worship the triune God in spirit and in truth. Our God is holy; He is the God who cannot share us with other objects of our affection. Indeed, a God who WILL not share us, for the sake of His holiness. We were made to be creatures who worship, but the Fall has crippled and ruined us. Worship is the most natural thing for man, but until we are restored to God through the sacrifice of His dear Son, then all our worship is but a vain thing. It is as “strange fire” before the altar Leviticus 10:1.

Like that “strange fire” which Nadab and Abihu brought before the altar of the Lord in Leviticus 10:1. Our worship, if it is not from the Spirit and in Truth, will be a worse thing to do. Why so? God is Spirit, not just Spirit; He is the Father of all Spirits (Numbers 27:16, Hebrews 12:9). The scripture lets us know that “…the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” 2 Corinthians 3:17. We’re encouraged to pray in the Holy Ghost for the Spirit helps us to do it right. Romans 8:26-27, Jude verse 20

In other words, you connect to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, enabled by the Holy Spirit, that way whatever worship form you bring to the “alter” of grace is perfectly acknowledged and received.

Psalm 100:4 tells us to Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

Some of the deferent ways to worship the Lord.

You can Give Thanks to worship “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15, Colossians 2:7

Praise to worship. The whole of Psalm 150

You can Give of Your Substance to worship (1 Corinthians 16:2) (2 Corinthians 9:7)

You can Dance to Worship “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30:11-12 11, Psalm 149:3 “Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

You can Sing to Worship (1 Corinthians 14:15–16) (Ephesians 5:19–20). Psalm 149:1

 

Question: “What is the difference between Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship?”

  1. By thanksgiving we acknowledge God’s goodness
  2. By praise we acknowledge God’s greatness
  3. By worship we acknowledge God’s holiness

Understanding the difference between Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship can bring a new depth to the way we honor the Lord. Throughout the Bible, the commands to “praise the Lord” are too numerous to mention, same as thanksgiving and worship.

Angels and the heavenly hosts are commanded to praise the Lord (Psalm 89:5; 103:20; 148:2). All inhabitants of the earth are instructed to praise the Lord (Psalm 138:4; Romans 15:11). We can praise Him with singing (Isaiah 12:5; Psalm 9:11), with shouting (Psalm 33:1; 98:4), with the dance (Psalm 150:4), and with musical instruments (1 Chronicles 13:8; Psalm 108:2; 150:3-5).

 

Praise is the joyful recounting of all God has done for us. It is closely intertwined with thanksgiving as we offer back to God appreciation for His mighty works on our behalf. Praise is universal and can be applied to other relationships as well. We can praise our family, friends, boss, or paperboy. Praise does not require anything of us. It is merely the truthful acknowledgment of the righteous acts of another. Since God has done many wonderful deeds, He is worthy of praise (Psalm 18:3).

 

Worship, however, comes from a different place within our spirits. Worship should be reserved for God alone (Luke 4:8). Worship is the art of losing self in the adoration of another. Praise can be a part of worship, but worship goes beyond praise. Praise is easy; worship is not. Worship gets to the heart of who we are. To truly worship God, we must let go of our self-worship. We must be willing to humble ourselves before God, surrender every part of our lives to His control, and adore Him for who He is, not just what He has done. Worship is a lifestyle, not just an occasional activity. Jesus said the Father is seeking those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).

 

In Scripture, praise is usually presented as boisterous, joyful, and uninhibited. God invites praise of all kinds from His creation. Jesus said that if people don’t praise God, even the “stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). When the Bible mentions worship, however, the tone changes. We read verses like “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9). And “Come let us worship and bow down” (Psalm 95:6). Often, worship is coupled with the act of bowing or kneeling, which shows humility and contrition (2 Chronicles 29:28; Hebrews 11:21; Revelation 19:10). It is through true worship that we invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us, convict us, and comfort us. Through worship, we realign our priorities with God’s and acknowledge Him once more as the rightful Lord of our lives.

 

Just as praise is intertwined with thanksgiving, worship is intertwined with surrender. It is impossible to worship God and anything else at the same time (Luke 4:8). The physical acts often associated with worship—bowing, kneeling, lifting hands, help to create the necessary attitude of humility required for real worship. Wise worship leaders know how to structure a worship service to allow participants to both praise and worship the Lord. Often, services begin with joyous praise songs and transition to a quieter, more introspective opportunity for worship.

 

Worship is an attitude of the heart. A person can go through the outward motions and not be worshiping (Psalm 51:16-17; Matthew 6:5-6). God sees the heart, and He desires and deserves sincere, heartfelt thanksgiving, praise and worship.

God bless you. Your Personal Person (YPP)

 

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