Summary: Many Christians do not fully understand what proper praise and worship are, and they do not realize the utmost importance of praise and worship. This sermon will cast light upon what real praise and worship are, what it means and how it benefits us and G
Please turn to PSALM 73:27, 28 as we read God’s Word.
‘Those who are far from You will perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds.’
I want to talk to you this morning about praise and worship. To do this, I am going to take you on a journey through the Bible, so get ready to start turning pages and making notes.
1. WHAT IS PRAISE & WORSHIP?
First of all, let me say that I think many of today’s Christians do not really understand just what praise and worship are, and that hinders everything they do in and out of the church. The Apostle Paul gives us a pretty good definition of what praise and worship really are in the book of ROMANS.
In ROMANS 12:1 he says –
‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.’
Ralph Waldo Emerson hit the nail on the head when he said,
“The Gods we worship write their names on our faces – be sure of that. And a man will worship something – be sure of that, too. That which dominates his mind will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be very careful what we worship, for what we worship, we become.’
‘What we worship, we become.’ That is a warning that every Christian in every church should really consider this morning. And, anytime there is worship involved, our natural instinct leads us to praise it, too. For instance, we all know people, who actually worship their material possessions, don’t we? What do these people praise in their life the most? They praise the “stuff” they have, don’t they? They are always talking about the “stuff” in their lives.
Mr. Emerson wrote that those things actually write their names on our faces. Can you imagine looking at someone else in church this morning and seeing a name written on their face? What if you had a name written on your face? You wouldn’t be able to see it, so you might think nobody else could, but every person who looked at you could see it.
Mr. Emerson meant that others very easily see our true character no matter how much we try to hide it or how much we think we are pulling the wool over somebody else’s eyes. We might think we are doing really well at hiding our true selves, but others can see the priorities in our lives just as if they had a spotlight and a microscope on
us. That should make each one of us shiver with embarrassment and fear, shouldn’t it?
If we go down to ROMANS 12:2, we see that Paul goes on to say,
‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –His good, pleasing and perfect will.’
In JAMES 4:8, it says,
‘Come near to God and He will come near to you.’
God already started the process. He presented His Son to us as our sacrifice. Now, it is up to us to take the next step by reaching out to God. James says that if we do this, God will then reach back to us. Paul goes on in that same verse to say,
‘Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’
‘Washing your hands’ refers to stop doing those things we do that are in the world, and ‘purify your minds’ means to turn away from worldly thoughts and focus on God Almighty.
The problem with true worship in today’s churches is that most Christians tend to worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. They bring their bodies to the house of God, but leave their souls at home. They say all the right words they have heard others say, but they do not say them in the spirit of Godly truth.
They are sticklers for keeping all of the traditions even though they do not understand the real meaning behind those traditions. Things like weekly communion or limiting the songs they want to sing to only those songs they are used to singing. These people are, for the most part, people who must have some kind of control over things around them or they cannot cope.
The problem is that when a person exhibits that need to be in control, they are proving that they do not care about the substance of praise and worship, they are only interested in the formality of praise and worship. And, there is no way they can truly have Jesus in their hearts when they need to be in control. See, when we really accept Jesus, we give up our satanic need for control and become submissive to His control. The sad part is that every person here knows someone close to them who are like that, and I think every church in America has at least one person who fits that description sitting in their pews each Sunday.