1) WHAT IS BIBLICAL WORSHIP?
- Jesus said The Father is seeking worshippers.
(Jn 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers, will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.)
- Worship is mankind’s’ primary purpose.
(Mark 12:29 & 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.)
- The relationship we have with God is a two way street of mutual love and intimacy. From our side, our love for God is expressed in worship.
- DEFINITION: To worship is to declare, in attitude, word, thought, creativity and deed, our reverential love for the One being worshipped. It is focused on the worthiness of His Person, and is reflected in thanksgiving for His mighty acts and the benefits we have received from His love. Worship engages the whole person – body, soul (mind, will & emotions), spirit and relationships.
BODY – Ps 95:6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before our Maker.
SPIRIT – Jn 4:24 God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
SOUL – Rom12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.
- Worship includes these elements: celebration (thanksgiving), proclamation (praise) and adoration (intimate worship).
- Worship is expressed in the following ways:
ü With our lips.
(1 Pet 2:9 But you are a chosen people…that you might declare the praises of him…)
ü As a “refection” of His Words
(Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.)
ü In prayers and songs.
(Eph 5:19-20 …Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father…)
ü In music and creativity (dance; art; poetry; multi media… (Ps 150)
ü In a surrendered life.
(Rom 12:1-2… offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…)
ü As a sacrifice when we don’t feel like it.
(Ps 116:17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord.)
ü In exuberant joy.
(Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: Rejoice!)
ü Confession of our sin
ü In our giving of finances (tithes & offerings)
- Our worship needs to be both personal and public.
-A regular private/personal time of seeking God’s face (involving meaningful interactive bible reading and prayer) is essential for the health of every believer’s faith.
(Lk 5:16 …Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.)
-The life of the early church was characterised by a life of public worship.
(Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.)
– 1 Cor 14:26-40 is an excellent guide for how we should conduct our corporate times of worship.
- Our involvement in the expressions of worship should be regular and continuous.
(Heb 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.)
- Examples of biblical patterned worship, involving prayer, sacrifice, singing, music, unity and humility of posture.
The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise and sang: “He is good; His love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14
When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 7:1-3
2) HOW ARE WE DOING ?
I’ve been lost many a time in His presence during our corporate times of worship. I believe NCF church does attract God’s glory, and that we take seriously the facilitating of His presence. However no individual and no church can claim to have arrived at a full understanding of the wonder or depth of pure worship. As long as we as leaders remain humble, teachable and open to His leading; we will see increasing measures of His glory, as He has promised. There is always more…
3) THINGS TO CONSIDER
I believe there are things that ONLY God can do – but I also believe there are many things we can do, to become increasingly sensitive to God and His Holy Spirit, in order that more of His glory inhabits us and our churches. With this in mind, what should we be considering and what questions should we be asking?
- Good music is always a draw card, and in fact does draw many people into our church. We must however never rely on it to fill our church, as we never want to build on some kind of “worship sub-culture”. People love to be where there is a vibe, but Jesus must always inhabit “the vibe”. Are people connecting with God, or with the music itself?
- We should also never allow bad music to drive people out of the church. Who are the personalities in our worship teams? Are they firstly anointed to facilitate God’s presence as well as being able to move in the prophetic? And secondly are they skilled for the task? Have they been prayed for, having had hands laid on them, releasing them to minister? Do we set them up for success, having prepared and having taught them well?
- I believe even our choice of songs requires spiritual discernment, as to the times and seasons of God. Our worship times should be flavoured with new songs that capture the heart of God, and when the cloud moves on, let’s move with it. Is it possible to ever kill a song by continual repetition, Sunday after Sunday?
- We should never be forced into any mould, be trapped in any culture of worship, conform to any “charismatic climate” or be dictated to by the expectations of the “crowd”. We should remain continually on the cutting edge, and that is – doing exactly what God wants at anytime. Being on the cutting edge is not necessarily only related to the latest songs or styles; it must encompass all that God has given us. The latest trends in secular music do not represent the newest wave of the Spirit. We must want the purity of God’s presence and will, outside of time, fashion and custom.
- Worship without passion, shows a limping devotion to Christ. We must never be undignified just for show; but we should naturally overflow with praise and joy. Out of our worship should flow everything from spontaneous extravagant foolishness, to tender quietness.
- God’s glory comes to a temple, or a people who are ready and prepared- A people who are repentant, cleansed and set apart. Are our hearts in a condition, capable of bending to the weight of God’s glory? I believe we need to teach, teach and teach again, on living holy lives submitted to His lordship. The last thing we want is our corporate worship just to be platforms, tuneful singing, rows of seats and a room full of spectators.
- We must continually seek heaven’s blueprint for our corporate worship, as it’s far too easy to slip into well practised plans. To coin a well rehearsed phrase, “There must be more than this, Spirit of God we wait on you…”.
Could the time constraints of our Sunday morning meetings, be hindering His manifest presence? Are we as leaders allowing room for the unpredictable leading of the Spirit?
Church is not ultimately the place for our performances, sermons or tastes. It should be the place that God will so enjoy, that He himself will dance into our auditoriums, filling and thrilling us with the acceptance of our worship by the manifestation of His presence. Jarrod Cooper
Rick Warren – The Purpose Driven Life.
Jarrod Cooper- The pursuit of His glory (A series of articles in Joy magazine 2002-2003)
Dudley Daniel – Biblical Leadership Part 2