As we continue our series on the Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, I remind us that godliness is first and foremost the Christian's goal. To be like Jesus, to live like Him and love like Him should be the greatest aspiration of every Christian. Secondly, godliness is the result of our intentional effort to pursue God and God's divine work within us. Godliness only occurs when we do our part and God and we allow God to do His.
That intentional effort also applies to worship. That's right, we must discipline ourselves to worship. Worship is a learned discipline that can ebb and flow, or be deep or shallow depending upon who much we teach ourselves to expand our worship of God.
Wait a minute, I thought worship had to do with music and singing. Yes, it does, but that is only a part of worshipping God.
In my studies this week, I skimmed through about 104 verses (OT & NT) that mention worship. That doesn't include bowing down, singing or the like - just a straight look at the word 'worship.'
In my studies, I discovered something - the Bible does not specifically define worship. There is no absolute definition. Worship is not a one-size-fits-all activity. No absolute definition.
So how do we define worship? Well, we don't - but we can try. All we can do is list all the ingredients, mix it up and see what comes out. See, worship is spiritual, it's physical and emotional; it's both intentional and spontaneous, it's public and private ...
If we had to define worship - it is the absolute single-minded recognition and respect for God, that He is God.
Whitney says ...
So the topic of worship is too broad, too deep, too vast for one sermon. So, the best I could do this morning is to divide worship into 3 categories: Truths about worship, the Heart of Worship, some quotes regarding Worship
Again, so doing a quick word study on worship, I began to see truths. This is by no means exhaustive. We're not going to expound upon each one this morning, but let me give you some truths to take home and pray over, discuss these with your spouse or friends - don't dismiss these.
So truths about worship are for us to take home, reflect upon etc. But this section here - the Heart of Worship, is designed to help us see how expansive and vast is worship.
What I'm going to do is read through this passage, making comments along the way
Just a little background: King David erected a tent (tabernacle) and they brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. And there is this massive celebration. And David appoints Asaph and his brothers to sing a song of thanksgiving, which is composed of three Psalms.
As we go through this, pay attention to the action words, and when we put them all together, we have a good picture (not complete) of what worship is.
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
And so verses 13-22 is recounting of God's story for Israel, remembering His covenant and promises. Likewise, we must remember God's story (Scripture). We must remember what God did with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What He did with Moses, Israel, Egypt, Samuel, David etc.
This our heritage. These are not just allegorical stories that teach good-to-know moral lessons - these are stories of our God interacting with real people in real places at real times in the midst of real situations. This is our history and it is worthy to remember and celebrate.
Now, here's the cool thing - we can take our stories of God has interacted with us and add it to these. Not to add to the revelation of Scripture, but to add to the continuing work of God in our lives and that gives us a reason to worship!
Let's continue ... verse 23
Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
That is not exhaustive, but it does give us a glimpse into how comprehensive is worship. So, the question is - how does our - listen - daily worship compare? Do you have _________ in your life? What might you need to add to make your worship more expansive, more comprehensive? If you think you've got it all covered, then your God is too small.
Let me close with a few quotes regarding worship. Some of these overlap with the truths.
"The Bible reveals God to us so that we may focus on Him, and to the extent we focus on Him we will worship Him. So if there’s little revelation of God, there is little focus on God. And if there is little focus on God, there is little worship of God. Conversely, much revelation of God fosters much focus on God, which in turn evokes much worship of God." ~ Whitney, Donald S
Tozer – “If you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him one day a week. If you do not know the presence of God in your office, your factory, your home, then God is not in the church when you attend.”
"The worship of God makes believers more godly because people become like their focus. We emulate what we think about. Children pretend they are the heroes they dream about. Teenagers dress like the sports stars or popular musicians they admire. But these tendencies don’t disappear when we become adults. Those who concentrate on “making it to the top” read the books of those “at the top,” then copy their business style and “secrets” of success. Focusing on the world more than on the Lord makes us more worldly than godly. But if we would be godly, we must focus on God. Godliness requires disciplined worship."
If we were to reduce worship to its primary elements, components - I think we would be left with two reasons to worship God:
1. God alone is God and is worthy to be praised
2. God alone has redeemed us
So how is your daily worship. I challenge you to experiment, step it up, turn of secular music for a while, intentionally look for the Creator behind the trees, situation, etc.
Invitation to pray