At the first church I pastored, a new couple started attending. Time went by and they told me that they wanted to enter into worship. That was my desire also and I heartily agreed with them. More time went by and they mentioned it again. They wanted to see the entire church enter into greater worship. The husband told me what that meant. He said, "When God's presence is so close, you can smell Him! My wife has smelled peach and I have smelled evergreen." I realized then that they didn't understand what real worship was. They were giving me some New Age mumbo jumbo. Jesus said that the Father is seeking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. That couple certainly had spirit (unfortunately, their own), but they weren't worshiping in truth. May you and I be the answer to the Father's search. What an amazing truth and privilege that is!
The disciples came to Jesus one day and asked Him to teach them to pray. He taught them a prayer that has come to be known as the Lord's Prayer. It begins: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed is Your name." Hallowed is not a word we often use in our day. It means "Holy". Jesus begins prayer with a declaration of His Father's holiness. Like the Lord’s Prayer, everything should begin with the worship of the Father because He is pre-eminent. He is superior. He surpasses and exceeds all others. He is worthy of all praise and worship and glory and honor!
The psalmist declares (Psalm 95:1-7): "Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care."
May I share a few thoughts with you about worship from this passage?
1. God our Father deserves to be worshiped.
We must praise the Lord for Who He is, not just thank Him for What He has done. Should we have a thankful heart? Yes, certainly! But if our focus is only on what God does for us, what will be our response when we don't think He has done anything? We must praise Him for Who He is.
When we begin to understand Who He is, we cannot help but respond in praise. As we see in Psalm 95:3-5, He is the Creator God, the great King above all gods. He created everything, including you and me, and He deserves our worship.
God could simply demand our worship, but there is more.
2. God our Father desires to be worshiped.
The psalmist in Psalm 95:6-7 urges us to come and bow down in worship. The picture changes from God as Creator to God as Shepherd. We are the sheep of His hand, the ones He carefully watches and cares for. We are lost without Him.
God invites us to come into His presence and worship Him. Imagine! The Creator of the Universe wants us to praise and glorify Him. He doesn’t need us to do so, but He desires us to come into His presence and worship Him. You have a personal invitation from King of Kings and Lord of Lords to give Him praise.
From creation - the Garden of Eden - God has been looking for those who will worship Him.
3. We were created to worship.
Why did God create us? To be in relationship with Him and to worship Him. We were created to Worship! Therefore, we will worship something or someone. It is not a matter of If we will worship but of What or Who. You might say you don't worship anything. Are you sure? Whatever is First in your life is What or Who you are worshiping. Tim Keller, pastor and author, has declared: "Worship is pulling our affections off our idols and putting them on God. Worship is seeing what God is worth and giving Him what He’s worth."
God uses the desire He created in us to worship Him to draw us near to Him. As Augustine, the early Church leader, declared: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." When we come into relationship with God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can reach our greatest potential. Our highest calling is to worship Him. Judson Cornwall, author and noted worship teacher, has written: "Worship helps us find who we are and why God has placed us here on earth. When we bow in God’s presence with worship, only then are we made complete."
I invite you to choose to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Be the one He has been seeking!
#2 in "Extravagant Worship" series.