VI. HOW DO WE WORSHIP?
Well, going back to the first part of this message, we worship God by proclaiming his worth and acknowledging that he is worthy of our praise. We worship Him in spirit and in truth, both emotionally and intellectually. And we worship Him in all circumstances.
But let’s look farther back than the beginning of this message. Let’s look back to the first recorded acts of worship. In the Old Testament, people worship God…
1. With sacrifices
The first recorded act of worship that I can find in the bible is actually that of Cain and Abel. (Gen. 4:3) “Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil (which he worked) as an offering to the Lord. Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” Cain brought some of the fruit, but it apparently was not the best of the fruit. Abel brought the best fat portions of the firstborn. It was a sacrifice for Abel to offer these things to God. Cain must not have put much effort into his offering.
“I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” – 1 Chron.21:24
I would think that the more our worship costs us, the more pleasing it may be to God. If I stop by the grocery store on my way home from work on my anniversary and by a rose for my wife it doesn’t quite say the same thing as if I go to the florist two weeks before our anniversary and scour through the roses there only to decide that none of those roses are good enough for my wife. So I ask the florist who his distributor is and I go directly to the distributor and search through his roses and find that none of his flowers are worthy of my wife, so I find out where the distributor gets his roses and I drive several hours into the mountains to find the perfect rose. When I present that rose to my wife she and tell her the story of how I hunted it down, she will be honored much more than the grocery store rose.
I believe that the acts of worship that cost us most please God the most. But what does it look like to offer worship that is costly? Well, it could be getting up a little bit early to make sure you’re at church on time for the whole service. It could be getting up early on a weekday to spend a little time with God before heading off to work. Or maybe costly worship for you means tithing even though money is time. The point is that going out of your way to express to God your love for him and show that he is important to you, that he is your Lord, these sacrifices of praise are pleasing to God.
II Samuel 6:16; 20-23 – King David (undignified)
2. With reverence and awe
Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
3. With intimacy and transparency
- Jesus referred to God the Father as “Abba,” which is a very intimate term like “daddy.” (Mark 14:36) He patterned for us an example of intimacy. (…may they be one as we are one…John 17:21)
- Crying before God;
But HOW do we worship? What does it look like?
- Singing – Psalm 108:1
- Clapping – Psalm 47:1
- Lifting of hands – Psalm 134:2
- Dance – Psalm 149:3
- Giving – Mal. 3:10
- Spoken Word/Scripture – Deut. 17:19
- Prayer Matt. 6:9-13
- Bowing – Psalm 95:6
- Silence – Psalm 46:10
- Being on time!
What about style?
The best style of worship is the one that most authentically represents your love for God, based on the background and personality God gave you. – Rick Warren
Practical ways of worshiping:
- Choosing not to sin!
- Sitting in silent wonder
- Sitting in loud wonder (singing!)
- Sharing your faith!
- Talking about His glory to your friends (with believers, and non-believers) (sharing your faith is an excellent act of worship!)
Have a time of Worship that is NOT MUSICAL:
Psalm 104 – “Praise the Lord, O my soul (<my depth>). O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps Himself in light, as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams o his chambers on their waters…”
Exodus 34:5-7 “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passes in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”
Psalm 145 (the whole thing, but especially vs. 8-13) The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10 All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you.11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
Psalm 103:1-5 1 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Amazed – Eph 3:18 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Zeph. 3:17 – “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Let’s come to Sunday morning service with a gift of worship for God; a sacrifice of praise. Don’t wait for the band to bring it for you. Don’t show up Sunday morning and just “come along for the ride”. That’s like letting your spouse pick out and purchase a birthday gift for your parent and you don’t even know what it is. You just sign the card and watch them open it. That’s lame. Your mom or dad is not going to feel very loved by that. And neither will God feel loved if you’re just showing up and coming along for the ride.
My hope is that you’ll come to church with a gift already wrapped and ready to present to your God.
We will be worshiping God for eternity when we get to heaven. I love the feeling I get during a really intimate and uplifting time of worship, like at The Well. But what we experience of worship in this life is just a glimpse of what we’ll experience in heaven. I love to think about being in His presence. Some of my favorite songs are about Heaven. Several years ago I learned about the joy of keeping my eyes on the prize. Remembering that I have Heaven waiting for me is a real pick me up! A real encouragement in hard times, or even just dull times. I also found that thinking of Heaven and what it will be like sure helps me to get my head back onto a bigger perspective when I’m stuck on the details of life. In face I would encourage all of you to spend some time studying about Heaven. Most people think “well we can never really know what heaven will be like until we get there”, but I’m telling you, God left us a pretty good picture in the Bible. There’s a lot more there than you would first think. There’s a great book by Randy Alcorn called “Heaven” (very original title, I know). But it’s an in-depth look at what the Bible says about Heaven. And it’s a pretty thick book! But getting back to the concept of worship and heaven…
The most amazing worship experience here on earth doesn’t even come close to what it will be like to stand in His presence. If we can even bare to stand! As the song “I Can Only Imagine” says, “will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah; will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine. I can only imagine. ).
The song “I Can Only Imagine” (on CD with lights down all the way)
Close the service with: “Worship: A New Day” (every day is a new chance to worship Him)
Thanks for following this series on Worship 101. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Do you agree or disagree with anything I said? Let me know. Thanks.