Summary: A message about the importance of a good worship service.
God’s Glorious Church
Woodlawn Baptist Church
May 22, 2005
In his letter to the Philippian church, the apostle Paul, speaking of Jesus said,
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Worship. Of all the duties and privileges of man there is none higher than that of worshipping the God of heaven. “Give unto the Lord the glory due His name” the Bible says. God is certainly worthy of our worship, for He is glorious in every way. Paul said that one day every knee would bow in humble acknowledgement of the glory of God. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. Whether lost or saved, every human being is going to worship the Lord. When I talk about worship, I am reminded of the things David wrote in the Psalms:
“Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.”
Think of the way your heart swells at the birth of a child, or in the most joyful moments of a wedding. Those moments pale in comparison to the gladness that God can fill you with.
Psalm 5:11 says,
“Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”
Psalm 9:1-2 continues,
“I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.”
Psalm 40:8 expresses worship this way:
“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”
And then Psalm 73:25-26 says,
“Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”
The Bible is filled with these expressions of mind and heart as they respond to God in worship, and they are beautiful reminders to us that God delights in the praise of His people. Isn’t that why we were created? To worship and exalt the name of the Lord? It’s the sole purpose for our existence!
There is much I could say tonight as I speak on this subject of Worship Matters, but I want to narrow it down very specifically to deal with worship and why it matters in the context of the church service. We’ve been talking about all these things that contribute to the overall health of the church. There are five fundamental issues at hand that contribute to a church’s health: evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry, and worship, and if we are weak in any one of these areas, then we’re not as healthy as we ought to be.
Now, its one thing to talk about worship, but the worship service is an altogether different subject. Of course, you cannot have a worship service where there is no worship, but we’ll come back to that thought in a little while. For now, let’s talk about what a worship service is, then I’ll give you some reasons why our worship services must be given a significant amount of attention if they are to meaningful to us and more importantly to God.
The Worship Service
What is a worship service? Is it three songs, an offering, a special, a sermon and an invitation? Is that a worship service? It could be – and it could not be. You see, when you boil it all down, worship is nothing more than our celebration of God’s presence and power and purpose and person by magnifying Him and exalting His name. David said in Psalm 34:3,
“O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.”
It is not the form or structure of the service that determines whether it is a worship service or not – it is the content, that which flows from our hearts and minds and is lifted to the throne of heaven! One song, ten songs – it doesn’t matter. Old hymns, new praise choruses – it doesn’t matter. King James or New King James – it doesn’t matter. People everywhere are fighting over how to worship, what to sing and what Bibles to use, and I’ll tell you – they’re fighting over it because they’re not really worshipping! They’re not really delighting themselves in the majesty of God!