Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Seeking Such To WORSHIP


This word “worship” is actually a contraction of 'worth-ship' but that's been shortened to the form we use today. We focus on the 'worth-ship' of Jesus Christ, Who indeed is worthy of all praise and adoration! Amen?

UPDATE: 5-5-2018 COMPELLING TRUTH  has posted an article on worship. Here is the link for your consideration.

The LORD Jesus said in:

JOHN 4:23-24
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers* shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

*- True worshipers as opposed to false worshipers such as these:

LEV 10:1-3
10 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

God takes worship seriously! Would the LORD say that the church is indeed worshiping Him in Truth today? And in the Spirit? Would the Father have to seek diligently, even in the church, for such?

What is worship? In JOHN 4 quoted above, the word for worship is proskuneo, which means "to kiss, fawn over, crouch to, prostrate oneself in homage to [humility], to do reverence, to adore". It is a humbling of oneself and the exaltation of another. I believe an integral part of worship is in the act of 'giving'; here are a couple of passages from the Psalms that illustrate this -
PSALMS 29:1-2
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.
PSALMS 96:7-9
Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear (to express awe, wonder and reverence) before him, all the earth.

Worship in Spirit and in Truth first happened in our lives as Christians when we gave our lives and hearts to the LORD after receiving by faith, the Gospel of salvation!
The LORD gave me a real profound definition of worship last year:

"Giving to God all that He is worthy of, in light of all that He has given to us!" Consider what He has given to us: His Son! And more besides!

How much can we give in light of the incredible gift of His Son, that could possibly be considered 'too much' or 'fanatical'? Can the Christian who has surrendered all be judged as being overzealous or 'over the top' when one considers what the LORD Jesus has done for us?
And what is it we give to Him in worship?
Our time spent reading the Word, praying, attendance in church, our financial resources, our own personal lives and those of our families; and other things even more intimate: our heart, our will, our dearest dreams, our deepest pains, and most of all: our love!

Another crucial aspect of worship is centered upon the Person of God Himself - worshiping God not only for what He has given to us, but for Who He is! His holy character, His worthy attributes. In worship we exalt and extol the beautiful virtues of our Almighty God!

He is holy (
1 PET 1:16), He is love (1 JOHN 4:8); He is true, righteous, gracious, full of grace and truth (JOHN 1:14) merciful and having tender mercies towards those who seek Him in humility; He is wisdom (PROV 8:14) and possesses all knowledge, all power, all glory.

PSALM 99:1,3,5,9
The Lord reigns; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubim; let the earth be moved. 3 Let them praise Your great and [awesome] name; for it is holy. 5 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for He is holy. 9 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.

EXODUS 34:5-7
5 And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation (This revelation that God gave to Moses wasn’t even face to Face – He placed Moses in the cleft of the Rock, passed by him and so that he could only see Him from behind! Imagine what the revelation would be like if God allowed him to see His Face!!).

11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts (the four living creatures that surround His throne) and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. 13 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, heard I saying Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

The fruit of worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth:
PSALM 19:7-9
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Cleaning out the Idols – GOD, Our Supreme Love
God is the focus of our worship, and the sole object of our supreme adoration. There is no one and nothing else that shares this highest place adoration in our lives: if there are any, they must be considered idols, and it’s imperative they be struck down and removed from our lives. Are we in need of a spiritual house cleaning like the kind that Josiah had to do when Israel was in apostasy? The JOSIAH MANDATE.

When God said He would have no other gods before Him, He MEANT it (EXOD 20:3)!
In the Old Testament Temple, the place of God’s dwelling (once a year during the day Yom Kippur) was in the center room called the Holy of holies; our hearts are the Holy of Holies, because we who are the temple of the Holy Spirit; are there any idols erected there in our Holy of Holies? If so, this is an abomination! No less an abomination than the anti-Christ setting up the idol of his own image in the coming Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (
MATT 24:15)!
Christ, and Christ alone is worthy of the pre-eminence in our hearts and in our lives.
Something the late Dr. Chuck Missler was fond of saying, 

"Jesus doesn't want to be number one on a list of ten in our lives, He wants to be number one on a list of one!"

    We are going to look at four primary persons in the Scriptures today as examples of true worship: AbrahamJobIsaiah and David.

Abraham was called upon to bring the sacrifice of his only son, Isaac, and worship God; of course, God didn't allow him to go through with it.
Yet Abraham in his willingness to sacrifice his most precious possession, his only son, who was:

1) The very one that God had miraculously given to him and Sarah.
2) Through Isaac the LORD promised to fulfill all of that which He declared to Abraham!
He was a genuine worshiper of God, and because of this, God revealed to him the most glorious secret He had: that one day, He would provide Himself an offering for all humanity!

And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen

That is the way of worship - when we attend to the LORD and surrender all that we are, all that we have, our 'everything' in obedience to His Word, that He blesses us with greater and deeper understanding of Himself, His heart and the plans He has in store for His beloved! Remember Daniel the prophet was called the “well beloved” of the LORD; John the apostle, “He who Jesus loved” – these men deeply intimate in their worship and devotion to the LORD – and look how much they were given in revelation! Abraham, because of his worship, was given the revelation of the Day of Jesus Christ (JOHN 8:56).
Now, let us consider Job:
This man was incredibly blessed by God with a large family and immense wealth. Others possessing one tenth of all that he had, would find reason enough to praise and worship God for all this! Unfortunately, Satan's false accusation against Job before the LORD would hold true for some people today who only claim to be Christians, who only claim to love God:

JOB 1:9-11
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? You have
[placed a] hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.
When good times and blessings abound, God has many ‘fair weather friends’, but when trials hit, sometimes severe trials, unanswered prayer, discouragement, loneliness, rejection, whatever may be the case . . . these same people grow cold and bitter against God, they abandon their devotion to Him, and they sometimes even become hostile at the mention of God.

But when others face trials, they don't outwardly abandon God or their relationship with Him, but inwardly they lay accusation against Him in the midst of their pain and suffering, and it’s often a very long time before they are healed due to resentment and an unbroken heart that is not yielded to the LORD.
This can't be said of Job; his relationship with God was solid, and he had a right (but not complete) perspective of Him. After Satan took away his family and his material possessions, one of the most remarkable scriptures in the Holy Bible records Job’s response:

JOB 1:20-22
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Any possessions we may have, endure only for our life time at the very best. We come into this world owning nothing and we leave this world the same way, just as the apostle Paul said:
1 TIM 6:6-8
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
The LORD is the giver of all good gifts, and He has every right to take any of these back at any time of His choosing. Corrie Ten Boom said, 

"Hold the blessings of God in an open hand; it'll hurt less when He takes them back!"

This man lost not one child, or two, or five, but all ten! I'm confident he would have exchanged a sum of wealth ten times what he had possessed just to have his children back or even just one of them!! It’s one thing for a son to lose a father, but quite another for a father to lose a son... or ten!!

Yet Job didn't let his personal situation change his view of God; he understood that while his own circumstances had changed suddenly, tragically, this didn't affect the nature, character, the attributes, the very heart of God Almighty!
Regardless of what pain, or suffering, or heartache or loss we may be experiencing, God is still GOD! He is ever and always worthy of being worshiped and glorified because of who He is. Job worshiped God, he was submitted to whatever circumstances, as hard as they might be, that the LORD would place him in.
What's going on in my own tiny little life can't alter who God is; yet it's when we are going through (severe) trials, and we offer up praise and worship, these are legitimately called "sacrifices of praise".

It’s in our darkest nights, our deepest pains and heart-rending grief that our worship of the LORD is most precious, for He understands that in the center of such sufferings, it's most difficult, near impossible, to surrender our own will and offer Him such sacrifices. Yet, by His Spirit, we are able.
Suffering in trials, no matter how pointless they may appear to us, serve a Divine purpose in purifying our souls; such times are tools in the LORD's hands to carve His character in our lives.
The LORD doesn't afflict needlessly; there is always a plan He intends to see fulfilled. 

LAM 3:32-33
32 But though he causes grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33 For he does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

Being yielded and surrendering our will to God, broken of self-will, and reckoning ourselves to be dead to sin and self are essential (ROM 6:11), for this is worship and will keep us focused on the LORD just as Peter was focused on the LORD Jesus as he walked on water to the Master (remember, he didn't falter until his attention left the LORD!). A DIFFERENT SERMON ON ANOTHER MOUNT.

Worship of God gets our attention off ourselves, our enormous problems, our deepest suffering, our storming emotions, our desire to bail out of our troubles and run away – and worship rivets our hearts and minds on the LORD God! Worship and praise to the LORD saints, this is crucial to our spiritual life! When we worship God, this opens up a venue to Him, a 'connection' as it were where we can experience Him and His heart in a way like no other.
God inhabits the praises of His people (
PSALMS 22:3).
As we give to God our praises and our worship, we are elevated up, from this dark, dreary world of sin and corruption, and we enter into a holy place, a place of interaction with God Almighty. This can occur while we are alone, shut in with the LORD in a time of personal worship, it can also happen in corporate worship in a church assembly.
Reverence in the sanctuary –
During this time as we are to devote our entire heart, mind, and strength to giving God our worship in church service, and I hear people chatting among themselves in the sanctuary, sometimes even giggling and making jokes or someone leans over and whispers in my ear, or jabs me in the ribs as they sit down next to me, asking me how I'm doing… I can't help but wonder: Don't they understand that we are addressing the Holy God of all creation? Where is their fear of the LORD Who bought their salvation with His own blood?
Where is plain respect for God??

Every opportunity of worship has the potential to become an ISAIAH experience; and I desire to seek God fervently at every such opportunity, either in solitary or in an assembly.
Each saint should be intent on directing their hearts to the LORD, seeking Him, His manifest presence, His glory, His own heart! As every follower of Jesus so directs their hearts, corporately, together as one body in unity, the LORD makes Himself known in glorious ways!
Worship brings a clear vision of Who God is, and who we are: When Isaiah saw the LORD:

[He] said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts

This is our God! This is our Lord and Savior and Creator! This is the Holy One of Israel, the very One that holds this Universe together, and Who commands legions of cherubim and angels in the glories of heaven! The One that supervises our every heart beat and our every breath!
This is the One Who took on Himself sinless humanity and became Himself the Sacrificial Lamb of God, Who drowned Himself in damnable sin and wickedness on the Cross and drank the cup of the Father's wrath on our behalf!

Worship By The Word of God
Take this Psalm home with you today and meditate on it:
PSALM 34:1-22 and this one as well: PSALM 99:1-9. How the Word of God, especially the Psalms, inspires such worship!
Quite often when I'm praying, I seek the LORD for a passage of scripture, and many times I find myself lost in an awesome text of His Word; I begin to worship God for the truth that's revealed there. Then I begin to worship Him for the promises and revealed character, power and most of all the very HEART of God!
The Heart of God is to see His righteousness instilled in the hearts of those He loves; and just like Isaiah the prophet, who was convicted of his sinfulness but was made clean by the fire of God’s Spirit – so we can enter into the Holy place experience the refining fire of His Spirit in worship of Him as well as the Word (EPH 5:26).

It's been said that one will become like the one they worship.
I saw this illustrated one time at a department store; I was in the entertainment department, looking at the wide screen TV's back when they first came out, and they had a Michael Jackson video on one of the screens.
He was doing his usual dance routines, 'moon walking' and making all these double-jointed robot-like moves when I noticed off to the side, a young boy watching and mimicking Jackson's moves. 
And not only was he imitating Jackson, he was doing it very well! Almost like a mirror image; and it was then that I noticed the boy even more so . . . he was even dressed similarly, with one glove and a hat much like Jackson's.
It was obvious that he 'worshiped' Michael Jackson and it showed in his life and in his abilities!

As disciples of Christ, we endeavor to follow Him, our LORD and Leader; we desire to acquire His Holy Attributes in our lives and we may do so as we WORSHIP CHRIST JESUS in Spirit and Truth: as we exalt and glorify His Name, and all that He has done, is doing, and has promised to do for us, His children. In this spiritual interaction, the LORD does such a work in our hearts and deepens our relationship with Him!

King David was a worshiper of God and look at his relationship with the LORD. Sure, David fell into some grievous sins, but he 'fessed up and admitted freely of his trespasses (unlike his predecessor, King Saul who only seemed capable of blaming others for his own sins, passing the buck).
Yet let us witness the sort of relationship David had with the LORD! It was because of such a relationship that he had, that he was called by God, "a man after My own heart". Why was this?
ACTS 13:22
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.

Here was a man that fulfilled all of God's will, and it was because he feared the LORD God of Israel, David had a godly reverence for Him. He yearned after the LORD, to have fellowship with Him and inspiring interaction with his Maker! Listen to his single greatest desire:
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

His chief desire was to dwell with God, to behold His beauty, to learn of the ways of the LORD! David, being a musician wrote a great deal of the Psalms and set them to music, so we know he had the heart of one who worshiped God in Spirit and in Truth, and this had a profound impact, not only on he himself, but on those around him and all the saints who've partaken of the Psalms! Think about the impact that’s been made throughout the thousands of years as saints have read and cherished these Psalms – all because David was a worshiper of the LORD!
What sort of impact can God have in the lives of those around us as we worship Him?
Worshipers of God are like that; their love and zeal for the LORD is contagious! It’s like a raging but righteous fire of all-consuming love and passion for God that spreads to other hearts as such worshipers exalt Him!

A Word To Worship Leaders –
That's why worship leaders should NEVER focus on getting the congregation to "start worshiping the LORD now!" because who then is doing the directing? Let worship leaders lead by focusing on the LORD, and genuinely worship the LORD as if there IS NO congregation - such is their focus on the LORD. So, the worship leaders should become invisible, and only point the congregation to Jesus, just as the Holy Spirit points to Jesus! A worship ministry that points only to Jesus (not themselves or their musical abilities) is truly a Spirit-led ministry!
Worship in the sanctuary is NOT about musical skill (though we ARE to play skillfully to the LORD with new songs (
PSALM 33:1-3), or about how angelic our voices are (or aren't).
It's not a 'gig' or a performance - this is not a practice run for appearing on American Idol!
Worship and praise is about prayer, not performance! It is communicating and adoring the presence of Christ in our midst and is just as real as when we will one day worship Him at His Holy Throne, seeing him face to Face!

A saintly lady I know in Syracuse, NY was commissioned by her pastor to set all the Psalms to music for their worship services. I can remember as a young believer, she would have us turn to certain passages of scripture and she taught us songs, using those scriptures as lyrics!
Too many worship songs today have only a handful of words in the entire song and these are repeated over and over again like a mantra – and they begin to lose their meaning (Shout to the LORD ends the last minute of 5 minutes total with “nothing compares with the promise I have in You” (9x).
Not so with the hymns of years gone by; they were veritable Bible studies set to music; those hymns compared to much of today's musical lyrics is like comparing Shakespeare to a First Grade reader with Dick, Jane and Spot!

How I long for worship teams to employ their talents, led by the Spirit of God to “sing a new song” (
PSALM 33:3; 40:3; 96:1: 98:1 (and five other references in Scripture tell us to sing a new song) that would use scripture as their lyrics: it’s a great way to memorize scripture, and a powerful way to worship, using God's own Word! You can't get better lyrics than that!

Worship Ordained of God
The altar that was consecrated to God in the Old Testament was to be made of dirt, and if there wasn't enough dirt to make a sufficient mound, then a rock could be used, but an unadorned rock, not crafted or chiseled by human industry and artistry. The altar was simply a carrier used to hold the sacrifice up before the LORD.
Our worship teams, our musical instruments, our sound systems are to be nothing but carriers for the sacrifice of praise lifted up by God's children.
The more we truly worship God, the more that pride, arrogance, self-will, and all of human wickedness is seen in the Holy Light that emanates from this sacred place where we are to resort. The humbler that we become, the less likely we are to push our way forward to get attention; we seek to draw people to the LORD and have them catch 'the vision' of what Isaiah saw. What Paul saw. What Peter saw. What Job saw.
Lastly, getting back to Job: once that severe trial of his had come to nearly closing, the LORD spoke up and declared:

JOB 38:2-3
Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

Pretty hard words, don't you think? Why did God speak in such a manner to Job?
The man, after his multitude of woes, and turmoil and confusion needed a 'reality check' to the admission that God is in control, nothing gets passed His notice, and there are reasons, plans, and purposes He has, that we know nothing about.
The LORD then goes on asking a series of questions that start out like this: "Where were YOU (Job) when . . . " and He goes on like this for the next three chapters.

After this length of questioning by the LORD, Job came to some substantial realizations, and was humbled greatly by the overwhelming knowledge, wisdom and power of God. Hear his words:
JOB 42:6
Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes and his response to the previous three chapters:
JOB 42:1-3
Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that You can do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from You. Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
and in 
vs. 5:
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye sees You.

Why did God even bother with Job, and conduct this interview? Why was Job singled out while his three 'friends' were excluded? I can't help but wonder if it was because Job was a devout worshiper of God, and that as a person who faithfully sought God out, one who sought for truth, that the LORD was faithful to reveal truth to him.
God doesn't specifically answer the question of why we suffer in life because it’s not our business to know the 'why' of what God does in our lives. Is He LORD? Is JESUS LORD over all of our life? Are we dedicated, sanctified, consecrated, blood-bought by the LORD Jesus Christ?
Then we belong to Him, totally and utterly, and whatever He does with our lives, and why He does them, resides and remains within the jurisdiction of His providence and sovereign will, and He is not to be questioned . . . only trusted as the LORD of Love and Grace and Truth.

This all goes back to worship, and in prayer (certainly a vital form of worship!) we bring to God all of what involves our daily lives, the blessings we enjoy as well as those we seek (for others as well as ourselves), burdens and bewilderment, confessions and inquiries.
It's in times of prayer that much of what mystifies us regarding the hardships and trials of life can become clearer; as it has been said, 

The view from the bended knee reveals more than the highest summits this world can afford!
Job discovered this in the end, when his understanding of God increased, and he grew in humility and wisdom (as any trial will succeed in doing in our lives if we endure it by submitting to the LORD): remember this about what Job learned.

He had heard of God (indirect knowledge), with his ear, but greater perception and understanding was granted to Job when after he was brought through his horrendous trials, his eye could 'see' Him (direct knowledge)!
Show me a saint that is intent on the worship of God, and I will show you a saint that's entirely surrendered to the will of God and that doesn't flinch or falter when facing trials, even life threatening trials that promise nothing but suffering and heartache!

When it comes to the ministry of worship, this is something that we will be engaged in throughout eternity, alongside all the saints, and even the angels that surround His throne! Let us be a people known for our worship of the living God, the Almighty One that inhabits our praises, the LORD Jesus Christ!

PSALMS 22:27
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before You.

PSALMS 95:6-7a

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.  For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. . .  
PSALMS 138:2
I will worship toward You holy temple and praise Your name for Your loving kindness and for Your truth: for You hast magnified Your word above all Your name.

May the LORD Jesus bless us all, as we endeavor to become worshipers who are not content with superficial worship, but deep, abiding, intimate worship, daily – and not just Sundays. For our God is beautiful, holy, righteous, full of grace and truth, and everlasting love for His children! AMEN!

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