Asking the Obvious Question
Psalm 29:1-2 KJV
Give unto the Lord , O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Sometimes we need to ask what seem to be obvious questions.
“Why worship?” may appear to be an unnecessary question. But like a treasure buried in a old familiar pathway, there are riches hidden here. First we must define worship. It is such a personal quantity we tend to think that it cannot be defined in terms acceptable to all. The Bible can help us define worship in ways that mean the same thing to all of us.
Worship Is Thanksgiving
When we express our gratitude to God, we are worshiping. In fact, thanksgiving is called the gateway to the presence of the Lord. (Psalm 100:4) Worship is praise. When we exalt the character, deeds, and wisdom of God, we are worshiping. When we bow our hearts before our King with attitudes and words of submission we establish anew His Kingdom in our hearts. This is worship. When we speak words of love to the Lord, our adoration, too, is worship. When we present our petitions before Him, feeling His compassion for the lives of those for whom we pray, we are worshiping. When we spend time in His presence, listening to His voice as He speaks in the Word and in our hearts, we are worshiping Him. When we give of the money we have earned, we are worshiping. When we live our lives with integrity before men, doing the work of our lives with all our might, as unto God and not unto men, and in the name of the Lord Jesus, we are worshiping Him. (Col 3:17;4:1)
Now, understanding what worship is or should be, we can explore the reasons we worship God.
Worship is Commanded
Why worship? Because God deserves it and the Bible commands it. The Bible tells us to give the Lord “the Glory due unto His name.” How much glory does God deserve? All we can ever give and more. We will spend eternity discovering more of His glory and worshiping Him for it. Worship is not wasted time. It is the central ministry of the believer. It is the first order of business each time we gather together.
God has earned our thanksgiving. One of the signs of the end-times is that people will be unthankful. (2 Tim 3:2) The gateway to God’s presence will be little used by the masses. For the faithful, though, the gate of thanksgiving will be an oft-used causeway, a cherished passageway from the pain and sameness of earthly existence to a moment of heaven come to earth. When we worship, the church on earth and the church in heaven come together in the presence of the King at Mt. Zion. (Heb 12:22-24 )
Worship Renews the Mind
Romans 12:1,2 says that when we worship we present ourselves to God in a spiritual service of worship. By this process we avoid being squeezed into the world’s mold and our minds are renewed. Living in a fallen world is a degenerative process. Negative emotions attach themselves to our souls. Dangerous untruths pummel our minds. We need to set apart a time each day to renew our minds in worship. We need to meet with others each week to let the Lord renew our thinking, washing away the pollution of this world and cleansing us with the waters of His Spirit.
Worship Is the Plow that Breaks up the Fallow Ground of the Heart.
The Bible tells us to “break up the fallow ground” of the heart. (Hos 10:12) As we give thanks, express praise, adoration, and commitment, the Holy Spirit softens our hearts. The only answer for hard places in the heart, frozen mind sets, and deep seated attitudes is repeated exposure the sweet Spirit of God. If we allow Him, the Holy Spirit will keep bringing Jesus to us, applying His love, revealing His grace, and whispering to us of His mercy. The hardest ground cannot not resist this plow. It is lifelong process. The Holy Ghost Plow keeps turning up rocks in the most dedicated of believers. Times of worship are times of repentance and renewal.
Worship Is the Equalizer of all Mankind
Other pursuits divide participants into groups: the skilled and the unskilled; the have’s and the have-not’s; the good, the bad and the ugly. Not so worship. In this pursuit we are all the same. No Christian outgrows this wondrous ministry. Leaders are never promoted beyond it. Children are as qualified as adults. The poor should be as thankful as the rich and the rich as humble as the poor. This equalization has been attempted but never accomplished by man’s fallen systems. It is only achieved at the foot of the Cross as we accept Jesus as our Savior and at the summit of Mt. Zion as we crown Jesus as our King. (Ps 26:12)
Worship Is Spiritual Warfare
Heaven listens as we worship and so does hell. (Eph 3:10-12) We resist the spiritual wickedness arrayed against the church in high places when we worship. Paul told the Ephesian church that God had raised up the church specifically for that purpose. When we worship,(“proclaim the manifold wisdom of God”) we are wrestling with these spiritual forces. The good news is these enemies have no option but to flee when we resist them. The Bible says so. What a delightful way to wage warfare! The weapons of this warfare are not physical but spiritual and they are powerful, powerful enough to bring down the evil structures the enemy builds to oppose us. Shouldn’t we worship, then, before the Pastor preaches? We should only send our general into battle against an enemy that has been softened up the artillery of worship.
Worship Validates the Pastor’s Preaching
The Pastor does his best to present Jesus to the world as a living Savior. But, without the presence of the Lord, the pastor’s message can only be received as theory, conjecture, or wishful thinking. God save us from being a people who have only a form of godliness devoid of power. (2 Tim 3:2-5) How can we have His manifest presence each time we worship? He has promised to inhabit our praise. The Lord’s presence is seen upon the praises of the people and the good news of the Lord’s victory over death is proclaimed by the pastor.
This partnership of pulpit and pew is our Pentecostal heritage. Jesus is powerfully preached from the pulpit and He is seen in the lives of the people, in the worship in their words and in the work of their hands.
Why Worship? Why, indeed. Because God is worthy and because it is commanded. Reasons enough. But, we worship because we need too, as well, and because we must resist the enemies of God and because the world needs to encounter Jesus in our lives. Our worship is not preliminary; it is primary. God deserves it. We need it. And a lost world awaits it.