As our churches are flooded with new believers and non-believers desperately seeking answers for their life; I get some interesting responses to our worship. A few months ago I was at a church and after worship someone came up to me and very sincerely said… “Thanks so much for entertaining us today”. I thought…. Is that what we were doing…. entertaining?
It seems no matter how sincerely and passionately we worship – some people just haven’t been taught what worship is about yet - especially in this age of high production church. It looks and sounds like a concert, so it must be – but what a sad thing when you really think about it. It’s sad that someone is mistaking the glory being given to God in those moments as entertainment and instead giving glory to man. The depth and richness of what’s really happening are going completely unnoticed by some. The lights and sound aren’t for show…. They are an expression of worship for the glory of God.
So, why do we worship and sing praise to our God? What is really happening in that part of our services?
God Is Worthy Of All Praise
It is our natural tendency to praise the things we love - our kids, our friends, and our favorite team. Louie Giglio does an awesome illustration where he shows a bunch of images that look like a very charismatic youth worship service from the right angle. But as the camera pulls out, it’s a sports game, rock concert or political rally. You’d swear they were raising their hands and voices in worship. But their passion is directed elsewhere. It’s our natural tendency. We’re passionate creatures. We desire to give praise. So how could we not direct that praise and adoration to the ONE truly worthy of it all? How could we not give praise to the creator of all things - the God of heaven and earth? A God who sent His son to die on a cross as payment for our sins so that we might be free, deserves all our praise.
Psalm 96:1-6 (ESV) 1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Sing to the LORD, bless HIS name; tell of HIS salvation from day to day. 3 Declare HIS glory among the nations, HIS marvelous works among all the peoples! 4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; HE is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before HIM; strength and beauty are in HIS sanctuary.
Psalm 29:1 (ESV) 1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
God desires our worship
Exodus 20:2-6 (ESV) 2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods beforeme. 4 You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousandsof those who love me and keep my commandments.
God wants to be first in our lives. There are so many other things we devote our time, energy and praise to. But when we worship we should be giving God all our adoration. Singing from the depths of our souls for His glory. And the beauty of it is…. Our worship doesn’t stop when we leave church on Sunday. Our entire life is worship. We should do all things as unto the Lord. Serving Him with gladness, even in the day-to-day and seemingly mundane. Our lives are a gift from God to be used for His glory. And we can worship Him in all we do.
In Louie Giglio’s illustration he also emphasizes the raising of hands in worship. Raising our hands is the universal sign for surrender. When we are captured and are ready to completely give in, we raise our hands in surrender. That’s what we are doing in worship. We are completely captured and caught up in the will of God and we are showing that surrender by the raising of our hands. We are saying - here I am God. I’m completely Yours. I surrender. Have Your way in me.” It’s a beautiful thing to surrender to God.
We also raise our hands when we are broken and just don’t know what else to do. If you’ve come to the end of your rope and are in need of rescue, raise your hands and sing to the Lord. He is near to the broken hearted.
Community and Celebration
Psalm 47:1 (ESV) 1 Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
Psalm 100:1,2(ESV) 1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Hebrews 10:24,25 (ESV) 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Just as our personal time of worship with God is important, so is our corporate time of worship. It’s crucial to be in community with others and come together in song and praise to God. God’s children coming together in worship, service and song is an amazing thing that I believe blesses the heart of God. When we gather together, He promises to be there as well.
Matthew 18:20 (ESV) 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
And where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty and freedom! There is freedom from the weight of sin and stress of our week. There’s freedom from striving and trying to make our way through life. And there’s freedom from addiction, sickness and disease.
My favorite aspect of worship is simply that it’s our response. It’s our response to the gospel of Jesus Christ – the good news. We are saved by grace, through Christ. We, who were once dead men in our sin and enemies of God, are now alive in Chris, children of God, co-heirs with Him. (Rom 8:17) We are sealed for all eternity by the blood of Christ and thus chosen by God to live with Him for all eternity. How can we not long to worship and respond to that news?
I encourage you to remember these things this weekend as you worship both corporately and in your personal time. Remember why we sing. Don’t get caught up in the formality or production of it all. Give God all you have in worship and humble yourself before Him. Respond to the gospel. He is worthy!
Click the player below to watch the Louie Giglio video with the illustration I referenced.
Nate Edmonds | Co-Founder and Worship Leader | Fuzed Worship