Summary: So our highest priority as Christians is to give glory to God, to exalt him by giving Him worship. We are created and called to worship. That’s the reason we gather here today and every Sunday. So how do you prepare for worship?
Preparing for Worship
Psalm 24, James 4:8a
When you read the Old Testament, you cannot help but see the importance of worship in the lives of the people of God. Abraham worshipped. (Gen. 22:5) Jacob worshiped (Herews 11:21), Moses worshiped (Ex. 34:8), Joshua worshiped (Josh 5:14) and David worshiped (2 Sam. 12:20) and a host of others. Worship is an integral part of the lives of the Jews. Is there any wonder? For the first commandment is, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” Exodus 20: 3-5 And then the fourth commandment is the command to keep the Sabbath as a day of rest and worship. So from the beginning of time, God made it clear that we are to worship Him and worship Him only and woven into the fabric of creation is a specific day of worship. We find in the New Testament that worship is just as important. The disciples worshiped the Lord, (Matt. 28:9) and the New Testament church worshiped regularly (Phil. 3:3). And each time we get a glimpse into heaven, we see worship happening, “the 24 elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever.” Rev. 4:10 And at the end of time when God completes his plan of salvation, worship will be all there is as we live in God’s presence.
So our highest priority as Christians is to give glory to God, to exalt him by giving Him worship. We are created and called to worship. That’s the reason we gather here today and every Sunday. But here’s what I want you to understand: our worship should begin long before we enter this sanctuary. That’s the mistake too many Christians make because they arrive thinking that worship begins when the service starts or when they arrive. It’s also the reason why so many have worship experiences that fall far short of what God intends for us in worship. In short, we come unprepared. Remember our definition of worship a few weeks ago? Worship is our response both personal and corporate to God for who He is and for what He has done expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live. You cannot give and experience great worship corporately on Sunday morning without having individually worshiped Him through the week. Corporate worship is important but it hinges upon our individual worship. And the devil knows that if he can distract us from individual worship, it will hinder our corporate worship. And it will impact how we approach worship on Sunday morning. Owen Bourgaize writes, “It’s all too easy to go to God’s house without preparation of thought and prayer and self-examination. If I went to my services as carefully prepared as I went to work, my ministry and worship would be far richer.”
So how do you prepare for worship? Our Scripture passage today is believed by most scholars to have been written not long after David had captured the city of Jerusalem. David’s desire was to build a religious and political center for his kingdom in the city of Jerusalem, a permanent place of worship for God. So David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, sets it upon Mount Zion and asks, “Who can ascend to the hill of the Lord?” to worship. Who can meet with God? Who can come before him in worship? In other words, what makes us worthy and ready to approach God and worship Him? The Scriptures make clear that to come before God demands one be prepared. What we find is that there are four keys to personal worship.