Such a contested subject in church.
Did you know there’s hundreds of opinions, supported by different scriptures, for all different kinds of styles of worship?
If you walk into a church you might see a rock band, flashing fancy lights, moving images across a screen with words to sing, another will have a giant organ with an old grey haired lady playing drawn out chords while a choir sings hymns from ages ago in perfect harmony, yet another will have a song leader, no instruments singing songs that are close in lyric to the scriptures, still another church will have people dancing, waving flags and trumpets blaring exuberantly.
You may see all of this, some of it and maybe even others where there are even more crazy or subdued things happening and everything in between which results in criticisms from those in attendance.
What the church defines as worship, has taken on such a variety of meanings, and I think we, as a church, have forgotten what it says in the bible.
John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth
Let’s remember that man is three parts: flesh, soul and spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
When we are born again, we are born again of spirit. (John 3:5-8)
It is possible to worship God with our flesh, our soul and our spirit.
Our flesh would be the outward expression, raising of hands, bowing down, singing, playing an instrument, waving a flag, etc.
Our soul, being our mind, will, intellect,and emotions, would be expressing our worship in the style in which our soul prefers.
We know that anything done in the flesh apart from God is not of God. (Romans 7:18, John 3:6) And it is possible to give the outward appearance of worship (Matthew 15:8, Isaiah 29:13) just by participating and not engaging our inward parts, being soul and spirit.
How do we know if we are worshiping with our spirit or our soul or both?
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It begins with the Word.
It always begins with the Word. (John 1:1-11)
The Word is truth, (John 17:17) and ultimately where we must start and how we define worship.
We know that 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work which is impossible without faith.
Truth being the Word, and Spirit being that which is done in faith, hope, and love. Anything that we do that is ‘worship’ but is not done in faith or out of faith, is not true worship.
What is praise and worship?
If we look at the meaning of the words praise and worship in the Hebrew and Greek, we get a clear idea of their meaning.
Praise means to boast, shine, and to be foolish over.
Worship, has the meaning of bowing down before or to be obedient.
We’re to boast about what God has done, we’re to shine, and be absolutely foolish over God! Which means, you can let your soul get involved, your mind, your will and even your emotions, as long as it’s done in truth. As long as what you are doing aligns with the Word. If it’s honoring to Jesus, great! If it’s honoring your flesh, no. In reading the scriptures, there are many outward expressions that encompass what praise can look like.
We’re also to bow before Christ, acknowledging that Jesus is Lord, and to be obedient to His word and what it says. Are you believing in faith that the Word is true? Are you expressing love or charity as expressed in 1 Corinthians 13? Do you have that hope as you sing and make melody in your heart to God?
Maybe your expression involves an acoustic guitar to help keep you on key, maybe it’s a small band of musicians who enjoy to worship the Lord as they play their instruments, maybe you love singing, maybe you can’t carry a tune but can rap like no other about what Christ has done for you,
Ultimately, praise and worship is beyond singing songs with a group of people in a room a few times a week. If we take the Word seriously, worship is so much more than the style, the loudness, the youth, and the instruments used.
What does your praise and worship look like?
Do you shine for Him on Sundays from 9am to Noon, or do you shine the rest of the week?
Do you boast of what God has done for you for a few minutes while you talk to your friends in the pew, or do you share and boast to people outside of the box you attend?
Do you acknowledge that Jesus is Lord on Easter, or do you acknowledge Him and His sovereignty in every day, every situation?
Are you obedient to the Word of God when it’s convenient, or at all times?
Are you foolish for God?
What does your praise and worship look like?