Summary: Learn how each Psalm in the Songs of Ascent (120-134) describe the exciting life of the modern day follower of God as we climb and grow in our relationship with Christ.
Worship: Rest Stops Along the Way
June 9, 2002
The theme of this Psalm this morning is “Worship”. If you’ll remember last week, we started a series of messages on the Christian life.
And we found kind of an outline of the life of following Christ in the Psalms of Ascent. (120-134) Songs that the early Israelites used to sing as they made their way across 100’s of miles to Jerusalem for their holy holidays and festivals.
Now, when it comes to worship, there are all kinds of ways to do it.
Right now millions of people are attending worship services, and the services they’re attending are as varied as their personalities.
Some worship services are straight-laced and liturgical. You’re not allowed to sneeze unless it is included in the “Order of Service”.
On the other end of the spectrum, some churches are highly emotional and demonstrative. Their services resemble more of a football game than anything else… people are yelling loudly, applauding… their doing the ‘wave’ in the pews!
As you can imagine, the two extremes don’t mix very well.
I read of a woman who was visiting a liturgical service and kept calling out, “Praise the Lord!”, every time she agreed with something the pastor said in his sermon.
This went on for awhile until the woman in front of her turned around and said, “Excuse me… but we don’t ‘Praise the Lord’ in our church!”
A man down the pew corrected her.. ‘Yes we do; it’s on page 19”
The controversy between form and freedom isn’t new. But is it possible to have the best of both worlds? I say yes! I believe that there can be a balance… that ‘order’ and ‘ardor’ can be happily wed.
And the issue is not structure or freedom… but SPIRIT.
God isn’t interested in either ‘formless spiritualism’ or ‘spiritless formalism’ - He rejects both!
Every church likes to believe that ‘it’s’ worship style is the most biblical. The truth is, (believe it or not) the bible never spells out which style of worship is the best.
Instead, the Bible gives us two requirements for legitimate worship in John 4:24 (read)
God isn’t offended or even bothered by different styles of worship… as long as it meets these two imp. criteria.
It’s done ‘in spirit’ - i.e. in sincerity
and it’s done ‘in truth’ - i.e. agrees with His revealed Word.
God wants freedom and honesty… but total freedom leads to heresy. It’s not ‘anything goes’.
So worshipping ‘in spirit’ is important, but ‘truth’ is the boundary in which the Spirit moves. Inside of those two boundaries… God loves variety! If you don’t believe that, just look around you, at the faces in this room!
Ps.122 is the song of a person who decides to go to church and worship God in Spirit and Truth.
And in this Psalm, he includes 5 characteristics, that any true, legitimate and God-pleasing worship style will incorporate. I believe they are the 5 Char. of any true worship…
The 1st Char. is…
vs. 1…”When they said, “Let’s go into the house of God, my heart leaped for joy!”
Now here’s a guy who’s excited about going to church! And I find that that’s a rare person! In fact, most people today, instead of being excited about going to church, make excuses for not going.