CALLED TO WORSHIP
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
June 30, 2013
Read I Chronicles 16:23-36 & Psalm 150.
From the very beginning days of Hosanna Church, God has called us to embrace the Worship of God. Many years ago, we got past the so-called “Worship Wars” stage of such a transition. In 1970, pastor Sabine, of one of our predecessor churches, Welchville Community Church, introduced his guitar into Sunday morning worship, and began teaching some of the brand new short choruses of that time. This modest step caused great controversy at the time.
Through several other small steps, God prepared the two little churches to become part of the new “Worship Movement” which was growing around the World. After the two little churches became one, they were ready to receive some teaching, training, and demonstration of the power and majesty of corporate worship which goes beyond preferences for this style of that style of music. Hosanna Ministries came to Hosanna Church many times in 1974 and ’75 demonstrating true worship as part of music ministry, filled with faith that God would flood the gathering with His presence, and that great things would happen in such an atmosphere. At this same time, many of us were buying records and tapes of Maranatha music’s new praise albums. Pastor Frank Jernigan was teaching these songs to the church choir. We were teaching them to the whole church family.
Controversies over musical preferences, which were then rocking other churches, just melted away here, as many instruments were added to the Sunday Morning music, along with a mixing of styles of music.
In those days, we experienced much of God breaking in on meetings where people had been really seeking Him in worship. Amazing things took place as people repented, came to saving faith in Jesus, received healings of many kinds, and had their faith level greatly amped up by God’s power and presence. We began to learn worship concepts, such as singing directly to God, the whole Congregation being a choir of praise and love.
Gradually, over time, God taught us other things relating to leading God’s people into Worship. Many of these things were laid out in the ministries of David, Asaph, and the Sons of Korah in the Bible. Some insights learned included these:
• Those who lead regularly in musical worship should be skilled at it, with God-given aptitude and care toward developing that gifting.
• Those who have musical talent, but who are ego driven, hyper-sensitive relationally, inconsiderate of others, etc. should not be leading others into worship.
• To have any positive effect for the long haul, those who lead others into worship must first be servants of God and of others, motivated by love.
Today we are seeking to walk faithfully in worshipping God when we come together as a Church family. There is nothing else like God’s presence and ministering to Him. Now; a brief teaching on Worship…
Worship: Hebrew is Shachah which means to prostrate in homage to God, to bow, to humbly beseech, do reverence, stoop down.
Greek is Sumphemi which means to say jointly, to assent to. A second Greek word for worship is Latreuo which means to minister to God.
To love God is one of the five great purposes of the Church as found in the great Commandment and the Great Commission. This love will express itself in many ways. such as changed lives, wherein people become given over to obeying the will of God.
Worship involves much more than living right, however. Several of the Old Testament books have large sections given over to instructions for the temple instrumentalists and singers. There are several lengthy passages which tell what happened when the people worshiped God there in Jerusalem. There are also Bible accounts of the worship of God at other places, such as when the army of Judah worshipped God while marching to battle and God caused supernatural victory. (II Chronicles 20) Before his own kingship, David played songs of worship to God in the King’s palace, and tormenting demons actually left king Saul for a while (I Samuel 16:23).
One of the ways that love for God is seen throughout the whole Bible, is through the unmistakable visible worship of God. This holds true from the days of Moses, all the way through to the multitudes in Heaven seen in the book of Revelation. When believers gather together for God’s purposes, a major way that the presence of God becomes strong and clear among us is as we reach out to him together in worship, saying the same thing together and calling out to God together. As we minister to God, together as a church family, God enters among us in tangible ways.
In the Hebrew definitions of worship seen above, bodily motions such as bowing down are included. Worship includes other bodily gestures catalogued in the Bible, such as lifting our hands, and sometimes even dancing before God. Worship is not just a mind thing. It involves our spirit, soul, and body.
While We Meet Together
There are many reasons that we meet together as a Church Body. Perhaps the clearest and strongest is that we are commanded to do so in the Bible, Hebrews 10:25 actually gives a direct order to believers that we must not forsake meeting together. We also have the clear example in Acts and the Epistles that the believers met together often, in large gatherings on the Lord’s Day, and in smaller gatherings on other days. Obedience is important, but the early Church didn’t meet together only to be able to say that they had obeyed God in this matter. There were and are purposes when the local Church gathers together. One of the big ones is the corporate (group) worship of God, and experiencing God’s presence together.
The Miraculous Presence of God during Corporate Worship
Worship leaders from around the whole World are giving accounts of people being spontaneously healed of diseases and injuries, set free from bondage to certain sins, or otherwise greatly blessed without anyone even praying for them, while the worship of God is happening. This continues in new places all the time!
Psalm 22:3 tells us that God actually inhabits the praises of His people. This explains these amazing accounts of seemingly spontaneous miracles. When God is strongly present in any gathering of people, the atmosphere of that event becomes more like Heaven and less like the fallen Earth we are used to. No wonder people in such an atmosphere experience physical healing, emotional healing, spontaneous repentance, and other “God things”.
Don’t Take Free Flowing Worship For Granted.
Did you know that in the year 367, the instruments and the singing were removed from the churches throughout the Roman World? Soon the Bible was taken from the people too. This happened after the marriage of church and state in the late stages of the Roman Empire. Within the empire in those days worship was suppressed and sin was encouraged by the government. Soon the entire World was plunged into the dark ages. The Roman Empire fell once and for all in the year 500, and a powerless Roman Catholic Church, robbed of her heritage of God’s word and joyous worship, had no answers for the desperate people of the day.
Since those times, many other nation/states have sought to control what happens when the Lord’s people meet together. In many lands, they have even outlawed meetings of believers entirely. The freedom to seek God in public corporate worship is a great treasure, and it is somewhat rare in World history. Please be thankfully aware of this as we consider aspects of worship today.
Personal Private Worship
This is, perhaps, a good time to mention another aspect of worship, which is important. Each believer needs to worship God in private. King David wrote Psalm 103 for the purpose of encouraging himself in the worship of God. It is a private, inner life document, which rings with the language and practice of worship. Some of the other Psalms have similar passages too. Actually speaking forth the goodness and the attributes of God, in your private prayer time, is a big part of cultivating a balanced and complete relationship with God. It is a wonderful way to balance your thinking as you approach God in prayer, reminding you of His greatness and goodness. Pastor Dallas mentioned that a good time to start to encourage yourself in God, is as soon as you wake up in the morning, before pressures and people crowd God out of your awareness.
One side note on this: There have been books written and many testimonies written down about the power of God being unleashed to do good during such private moments of worship. People have been instantly healed of stubborn conditions. Others have received tremendous wisdom to solve thorny problems. God has a way of showing Himself when worship is present.
Some Insights From the Worship Institute
I’d like to share some thoughts by one of the great worship leaders of our nation. LaMar Boschman is the president of Worship Institute. He has taught in depth on Worship all over the World from Washington DC to Ivory Coast, Africa, and even into Muslim lands. This renowned Worship Leader also has many songs published in Song Select’s data base. He shared the following principles at a worship seminar which I attended in Bedford New Hampshire. These are eternal principles which go beyond matters of style, personal preference, or even national culture and native language. Please consider them with me now.
1. If we love God, we will be worshipers. We are actually commanded to love the one who held back nothing for us. Mark 12:30 tells us to Love God with all of our Heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is both an inward and as outward kind of love. When Moses’ sister Miriam led the woman of Israel in a great song and dance after they came out of Egypt, they all participated. The whole community worshipped God visibly and audibly. Personality type didn’t stop any of them.
How could this be? It was because they were thinking about their awesome God and not about themselves. This is how it needs to be for us too, if we are to break through the natural tendency to not enter into wholehearted corporate worship. If we center our thoughts on the Lord during our corporate and private worship times, then entering into such expressions of worship as singing with gusto, raising of our hands, bowing before the Lord, etc, will flow from a source beyond self. The Holy Spirit can be in charge of you in worship, when you are centered on expressing love toward the Lord, because when your thoughts are on God instead of your hang ups, the natural you is not blocking worship.
2. The Heavenly Father is looking for worshipers who are well grounded in the
Truths of the Word of God. Such people can worship God not only in Spirit, but in truth too. Jesus was very clear when He spoke to the woman at the well. He told her “The day is coming when those who worship the Father, will do so neither here nor in Jerusalem, but in Spirit and in Truth.”
3. The Father is also looking for people to worship Him who are filled with the Holy
Holy Spirit. Such people can worship God not only in truth, but in spirit too. John 4:23-24 brings this out clearly.
4. Starting with Psalm 33:3, there are nine places in the Bible which tell us to
worship God with a new song. Whenever there is a genuine move of God happening, new songs, both written ones, and spontaneous ones come forth. People who are musically gifted, and who are experiencing God, have even written new songs during personal repentance (as David did: see Psalm 51) and during personal or corporate prayer.
5. The Bible teaches us that our bodies are also the Lord’s property, just as our spirit
and soul are. (I Corinthians 6:13) We are actually a temple of the Holy Spirit if we are genuine believers in Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3:16) As living Temples, our bodies have a real role to play in our worship of God. From simple things such as the lifting of our hands while singing the Lord’s praise, to being part of public worship events, bowing before the Lord, clapping, or even dancing before the Lord, like King David did, using our bodies in worship honors God, and is a real part of what it means to be a Temple of the Lord.
6. Finally, let’s always remember that the center of Heaven, the Throne Room of God, is itself filled with the worship of God. When we get to the point that we forget our self consciousness, while we are singing and worshiping God, a bit of Heaven moves right into the room where we are, because the Lord inhabits the praises of His People.
There is so much more to teach on this matter of Worship. I wish that we could all experience a seminar by one of the master teachers of this important matter. But for now, let’s commit to being a people of worship. The reasons are powerful.
1. God is pleased when we worship Him together and also in private. He is indeed good and deserves our worship.
2. His very presence, a little bit of Heaven, is often revealed during real praise & worship.
3. When God shows up tangibly, good things happen which are totally beyond Human capability.
4. True worship draws unconverted people to the Lord. It often leads to genuine conversions as people simply understand that they need to give their lives to Jesus Christ.