Monday, May 24, 2021

We Have Purpose - Worship

I believe that the chief purpose for the church's existence is to glorify and worship God. My reasoning comes from what will take place in the presence of God at the end of time which is recorded in  Revelation 4:8-11 "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"..."You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your pleasure they exist and were created." Notice that worship is directed towards God alone. What I mean is that if we look at many of the hymns of old and most of what we call contemporary Christian music of today, we will find that the majority of the lyrics are not focused on God but on the believer. For instance, many hymns put everything that believers are entitled to in this life off until they leave this life for the next. Also, the larger portion of the lyrics of contemporary Christian music tend to be beggarly prayers, that is, pleading with God by asking Him to do something that He has already done and made available to believers through Christ. Some other lyrics have taken scripture out of context or have declarations that are never acted upon and sadly, the lyrics almost never mentions the Name of Jesus.

Neither the Old or New Testament reveal a specific form or order of worship, but there is a way that God is to be worshiped. In John's gospel Jesus encounters a woman from a city called Sychar near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph, by a well. Although she insisted that she, a Samaritan (basically backslidden Israelites) worshiped the same God as the Jews worshiped, Jesus gives her a revelation of true worship, "Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:21-24)

Jesus reveals to the woman that God is Spirit. This removes any concept that God is an image or relic of any type. He also reveals that true worship of God will only be accomplished by worshiping Him in spirit and truth. Any other worship is actually idolatry. To worship in spirit believers must understand that God is Spirit and relates to humanity in the spiritual realm. With this knowledge, the believer then yields to the Holy Spirit who moves upon and energizes the believers recreated spirit to connect with God. God's Word is truth (John 17:17) so to worship God in truth means to worship according to His Word. In other words, the Bible records various ways to worship God, singing and speaking praise, shouting, lifting hands, clap, stand, bow, dance and playing a variety of instruments.

The bottom line is, worship is not just songs to sing that contain nice lyrics, but an attitude of the heart, exalting, honoring and adoring God Himself. The Holy Spirit speaking through the apostle Paul says, "For we are the circumcision, (Christians, circumcision of the heart) who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Philippians 3:3) This too should challenge believers to lay aside all the songs that take the focus off of God and causes believers to petition God for all their needs, wants, worries and concerns that He has already met and provided for His children through Christ. We should also consider eliminating songs that put all the promises that God has made available to His children off until we reach heaven as well as songs that have taken scripture out of context. These things may sound callous and even difficult to do, but they are necessary if the church is to truly worship God. Let's look once again at the revelation that John received concerning true worship. 

"And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying, blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever. Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever." (Revelation 5:6-14) This my friends is worship!!!      

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