Summary: There are basic requirements for high quality worship
Essentials for Great Worship
Hebrews 13: 10-16
June 7, 2009
In his book, songs that were the heart, gospel singer George Beverly Shea tells of his friend Bert Frizen. While attending college, Burt distinguished himself as a fine baritone singer. But his college studies were interrupted by World War II. While serving in Germany, Burt was seriously wounded and lay dying on the battlefield. As he passed in and out of consciousness he was aware that he was dying. Burt began to seem a ham that his mother had time for many years before. As he lay there singing, a German soldier came upon him with his bayonet fixed. Burt feared the worst and was prepared to die. However, the enemy soldier carried him to a nearby stone ledge and left him unharmed. Minutes later, Burt was found and rescued by Allied medics.
There are two types of unfamiliar hymns. One is the hymn though we have never heard or sung before. However, another hymn that is unfamiliar is the one we have sung so many times that we sing it and never think about it. - Charles Allen
Worship holds special role in the Bible. One that we often forget, or fail to acknowledge. The Bible is filled with a multitude of examples of what is and what it means to worship God. The church today needs to carefully examine the role of worship in the Bible to find how worship should impact the church.
Here are a few examples of worship in the Bible
Noah built an altar and sacrificed to God after the flood
Moses praised God after the crossing of the Red Sea
David danced before God when the Ark of the covenant was returned to Jerusalem
Solomon led worship at the dedication of the Temple
Ezra led worship after rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem
Throughout the history of Israel, worship of God was central to community life. With several different festivals and times of worship, the importance of God was part of daily life. On an annual basis, there were festivals and specific days of worship. One example, is the day of atonement. On this day the entire nation would confess their sins before God and ask for forgiveness. On a weekly basis, the Sabbath was observed. Worship was conducted on the last day of the week. Worship would include the reading of Scripture, the interpretation of Scripture, singing, responsive readings, and various rituals.
Israel often experienced cycles in their worship dedication from being passionately dedicated to God to abandoning God and following pagan idols. Worship was understood as part of experiencing the presence and power of God himself. An excellent example of this is the holy of holies. The most holy Place was at the innermost part of the Temple. It contained Ark of the covenant and was considered a place of God’s presence with his people. Worship was at the center of Israel’s community life and a part of who they were as a nation.
Definition of Worship
Worship is the quickening the conscience by the holiness of God, feeding the mind with the truth of God, purging the imagination by the beauty of God, opening the heart to the love of God, and devoting the will to the purpose of God. William Temple
Which leads to the question: what is worship? How do we know we’ve experienced worship? Before we get into these questions, we need to understand the purpose and the reason for worship.
9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:9-16
The problem of false teaching (13:9)
One of the major obstacles of the early church was the combat of false teaching. The writer of Hebrews makes false teaching a major concern. Verse nine makes it clear the false teaching was an issue to be dealt with. These strange teachings warped the doctrine and the belief system of the church.