Summary: God wants us to worship in Spirit and in Truth.
INTRODUCTION: Last month I opened the door for us to discuss True Worship during our sermon on building a spiritual house. If you recall, I said there were three things needed to make a church a spiritual house:
Presence of God
No one can make that first point better than our Lord Jesus did at Jacob’s well. Listen as I read our Scripture Passage for today. READ JOHN 4:21-24
TEXTUAL IDEA: God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
SERMON IDEA: Four Components of True Worship
NEED: To be a spiritual house our church services must include these necessary ingredients.
DIVISION 1: Praise
Explain: Ascribing worth to either the person or work of God.
In many languages worship and praise are interchangeable ideas. In our own culture the terms carry different meanings and are so often misused that I fear we are loosing the true meanings behind them.
One clear deviation from the true meaning of praise happens in our Christian music. The term "praise music" is very misleading. I am as guilty as anyone of misusing this term. Because of our misuse of this term people have come to believe that certain music styles, chord progressions, or rhythms are praise and others are not. There is absolutely no truth in that concept. That is not say that those musical characteristics do not reflect specific attitudes of the heart. But music is a gift from God’s heart and any form of music can be used to speak highly of what God has done or who He is. I encourage you to look carefully at the music you bring into your life.
Questions to Ask:
1. Do these words speak of me or God? A song designed to make me feel good about being a Christian has value. But it is not praise and should not be used as such. There is a place within a worship service for both. The challenge is to put things in their proper place, so our hearts are in the proper place.
2. Is this song about what God has done? It is better that we say "You did" rather than "I lift You up". But musically that is not always possible. When you evaluate a praise song, look closely at the words to see if they repeatedly speak of how I am praising God or are they truly praising His works. By the way, that same model goes for all we do as Christians. Are we exalting what we do or what God is doing?
3. Is this song about who God is? These are my favorite praises. The psalms are full of praises for who God is. Imagine the worst situation you can get yourself in. Now start reminding yourself who God is with praise. There is no place we can get ourselves into that praise can’t get us out of - Paul and Silas in prison. That is not say that by praising God the circumstances you created will go away. But you will be released from the bondage of sin that put you there.
4. Does this song contain Scripture? Many of the psalms were God’s praises put to music. Not all songs that include Scripture verses specifically praise either the person or work of God. However, God is exalted when His Word is read or sung. I must confess that I cannot think of a Scripture verse that doesn’t exalt God. But we must use a discerning spirit whenever we handle the Word of God... in song is no different.