Summary: This message involves taking individual responsibility for our own praise and worship of God. Worship is to be involvement not entertainment.
From Praise To Power
Suppose for a moment that you won tickets to a luncheon after the Cavs had beaten the Lakers in a playoff game in 2010. If at the luncheon Shaq stood up and said, “stand to you feet and let’s give it up for LeBron and the Cavaliers.” How many of you think that most of us would be up on our feet clapping and cheering for our Cavs?
Some of us will give hi fives, some of us will make strange rooting noises, and some of us will be smiling and grinning from here to there and waving our arms. We’re going to do it for basically three reasons. 1) We want the Cavs to feel good and appreciated. 2) We want the Cavs to feel good about us, the kind of fans they have. 3) We know when the Cavs are lifted up, the area of Cleveland is lifted up as well and we benefit from their success.
What we have offered to the Cavs at that luncheon is a form of praise and worship. True Praise and Worship of God involves three things. 1) Is God pleased with the praise and worship I am offering to Him? 2) Is God pleased with me in the way I offer it? 3) Do I realize that my success is tied in with lifting up the name of Jesus?
You know three things we wouldn’t do at the luncheon once Shaq said, “stand on your feet and give it ups for the Cavs”. 1) We wouldn’t say, I’m not going to stand and clap my hands until Coach Mike Brown invites us to stand. 2) We wouldn’t say I’m just kind of tired from a long night last night so I’ll just sit here and relax. 3) We wouldn’t say, I’m not into that cheering stuff, I’m not showing up to the banquet until the speaker gets there.
No matter how we’re feeling, most of us are going to give our best effort in that cheer in support of the team. How then can we offer less than our best to God? Even if the Cavs win the 2010 NBA championship, the benefits you get from their title, cannot come close to the daily benefits you and I each get from God.
Some people are under the impression that worship, is about how the church can entertain them. Did he church make me feel good? Did the song come out the way I liked it? Was it my kind of music? Was it exciting enough? Did they build me up to really get worked up?
What does any of this have to do with, 1) Was God pleased with what I offered to Him. 2) Was God pleased with the way I offered it. And 3) Was I lifted up as I lifted up the name of Jesus. If the answer to these questions are no, then your focus in worship has been on the wrong thing.
We have someone more powerful than Shaq inviting us to worship and we have a greater reason than the Cavs to offer our worship. The word of God calls us in Psalm 47 to [a] 1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. 2 For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. 3 He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.
That’s the biblical way for saying “Everybody makes some noise up in here, and let’s give it for God. Because God has done some great things for us.” This is what God is telling us to do. One of the reasons that God is telling us to do it is so that we might bless God, so that God might bless us.
The quality of praise we offer to God determines the presence of the Spirit in our midst. A worshipper always finds something to praise God for, because he or she is looking for something to praise God for. We always have a reason to be thankful. Bad as you think you may have it, somebody has it a lot worse.
True worship focuses in on God. This is where many people make the mistake. They think the worship is to focus on them. They say, “I’m not getting anything out of worship. The real issue though is, is God getting anything out of my worship. Until God gets something out of our worship, we never will. Until God is blessed by our worship, we ourselves will not be blessed. We cannot worship God without understanding God’s awesomeness and God’s holiness. True worship leads us to change and humility and confession.
One of the purposes of praise and worship is to prepare for God to send a supernatural power into our lives. A long time ago, God’s people had to go in battle against a powerful city by the name of Jericho before they could get the land God wanted to give them. Jericho was a city surrounded by massive walls. The walls were thick enough for chariots to ride along the top of the walls. The city was a great city in its day.