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.
To show the weaknesses of those excuses, someone came up with a humorous list called “Ten Reasons Why I Never Wash.”
1) I was forced to wash as a child.
2) People who wash are hypocrites – they think they’re cleaner than others.
3) There are so many kinds of soap, I could never decide which was right.
4) I used to wash, but it got boring.
5) I wash only on Christmas or Easter.
6) None of my friends wash.
7) I’ll start washing when I’m older.
8) I really don’t have time.
9) The bathroom isn’t warm enough.
10) People who make soap are only after your money.
Now listen, worship is supposed to be a ‘delight’, not a duty!
King David (who wrote this Psalm) was an avid worshipper of God… In fact, in ___________ we read that He got so excited about God He danced around in his BVD’s!
Now, I’m not suggesting that we try that here, but nonetheless we can learn a lot from his example about getting excited for God.
In Ps. 21:6 David reflects on the wonderful life that God has given him… he writes… (Read)
Let me ask you… does that reflect your attitude as you drive into the parking lot of this church each Sunday? Are you excited about the opportunity of coming into God’s presence?
Are you expecting great things?
You know, what you ‘expect’ has a lot to do with what you ‘get’.