Summary: Psalm 146 and 147 neatly answer the questions about worship: WHAT…WHY…HOW?
Bible Teaching Ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
October 17, 2004
Some people go through life like Calvin, the obnoxious little seven-year-old in the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is the prototype for Mudville. If you recall that old poem “Casey at the Bat” – there was no joy in Mudville, because “…mighty Casey had struck-out.”
Now, Calvin has a sense of humor, but it is all cynical and gruesome. There is no joy connected with the humor. It is as unwanted as the faces of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, but live life as sour as a lemon dropped in pickle juice!
On the other hand there are folks like Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who, I’m certain never heard of Calvin. He once said, Praise is the honey of life which a devout heart extracts from every bloom of providence and grace. How different the two outlooks on life!
Praise is the act of worship most required of humans toward God Almighty. Yet it isoften the missing quality of so-called worship services. In the Bible the word “worship” appears in only a few forms. One word literally means “to serve”, and it is where the term worship service originated.
Another word is “dox-a”, meaning “to give glory”. We sing “the doxology”…Praise God from whom all blessings flow….
A third, most prominent word in the New Testament carries the meaning of “to kiss towards”, as in bending before a king to kiss his ring. This is the center of true praise and worship. We have a King; we bow to kiss towards His throne.
Worship is one of only two valid reasons for a church to exist (the other being evangelism). The Psalter (Book of Psalms) constitutes the original worship and praise book for God’s people. Psalm 146 and 147 neatly answer the questions: WHAT…WHY…HOW?
What is Worship?
Internal praise Psalm 146:1
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
My soul is the beginning point of praise. I cannot praise God, except that I have been changed in my heart, by His grace. Without a spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ there is no way to please God.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that dilighently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
External praise Psalm 146:2a
I will praise the LORD while I live;
The Bible tells us that one of the external pleasures and duties we will have as a church is to worship the King forever.1 My prayer for a long time in my private devotions has been, “Lord, allow me the presence of mind to have my whole life magnify Jesus.”
Vital praise Psalm 146:2b
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Singing, in this context, has little to do with correctly hitting those little spots on the lines and spaces. To sing is to bring forth the innermost of who we are as people, created for a holy God. The songs of a people or a culture, tell the pulse of who those people really are.
Our black brothers and sisters sing of trouble and struggle. Whatever your view of racism and the plight of minorities, it is hard to miss the pathos that formed the blues and jazz. Jesus said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart.
Vital praise means we bring forth from our hearts that internal praise we have for God. Internal must, at some point, become external! And it should be LOUD!
In David’s day they sang these Psalms. The choir would sing the words of the praise, and the congregation would echo back HALLELUJAH! Like the cheerleaders want the crowds at a football game to shout back the letters to spell out the home team’s name, the worship leader says the praise, the people echo the praises back towards heaven.
We tend to be stodgy, bordering on downright comatose in our “worship” when we refuse to be enthusiastic. We become like the church that had a visitor. The services were always rigid and formal. The minister quietly and systematically read his sermon. He made the mistake of saying something about Jesus being our only Lord and Savior. The visitor said, “Amen.”
Everyone was stunned…the minister almost lost his place when he looked up to see what had happened. He continued reading, and the fellow said, “Amen” a second time. The usher got to him this time; “Sir, you have to be quiet.” But later in the service the minister commented on a great truth about the gospel, and the man this time shouted, “AMEN! AMEN!!”
This time the usher said, “Sir, if you don’t be quiet, you will have to leave the service.” The man said, “But, I got Jesus, man.” To which the usher replied rather aristocratically, “Yes, indeed…we see. But you didn’t get Him here!”