Text: Psalm 95
Text: Neh. 9:5ff, (esp. vv. 5-8)
by Robert J. Young

How define worship? Encounter, self-abasement, purposeful inclination toward in order to honor, literally, to kiss toward. To serve.
Desire meaningful worship for this church, for our visitors, for incoming students, fresh encounter with God. God is working mightily in our world today to draw people to himself. Worship is the acknowledgment that God has drawn us. He is working to purify his people, to exalt his Son Jesus Christ. He is breaking down barriers, calling people into missions service, claiming his own.

Worship is response.
Have you ever wanted desperately to know and do God's will? The simple process of coming to God is the process not only of salvation, but of joining God in his mission to reconcile the lost world. Worship is the acknowledgment of joining, sharing, mutuality. Worship is submission, but God has far more in store for our lives than simply to do something for him. He wants us to experience an intimate love relationship with him that is both real and personal. Worship is the acknowledgment of this relationship.
1 Cor. 14:26 suggests that everyone brings a song, psalm, hymn, prayer, thought, scripture. What have you brought to worship today? What response will you make?

Worship depends upon relationship.
The heart of eternal life and the heart of Christianity is to know God and to know Jesus Christ whom he has sent. This knowledge of God, relationship with God, is not a program, study, or method. This knowing God is through relationship with a person--through an intimate love relationship with God. We are proclaiming in worship that God's love for us generates our love for him. I love you, Lord.
The vertical aspect of worship enables the horizontal. Because God has sought and made possible relationship with him, we accept that relationship him, we recognize relationship with one another.

Worship leads to rejoicing.
Many Christians are frustrated because they know in their heart of hearts that God has more in store than we have experienced thus far. We earnestly desire God's directions for our lives, ministries, service to him. Want to make sense our of tragedy, stand bewildered in midst of broken lives, do not know what to do, where to turn. Weeping endures for night, but joy comes in morning.
Worship enables rejoicing. In worship, we hear God, listen to God.

Worship is rethinking, reorienting.
Worship enables a change of mindset. Worship cements God in my life.

This awareness accentuates that worship is real.
This is the real world, this is the reality of life, this is the eternal.

Worship recharges us spiritually.
In worship I am reminded of my dependence upon spiritual resources outside myself. Seeing all of the above, we are undone, Isa. 6. I am not independent, not self-sufficient. I am incapable, but God is able.

Worship is the very experience of God. Worship declares God.
Because you can never be satisfied in your relationship with God, with simply knowing about God, worship must be more than this sermon. Worship requires you. Your thought, your meditation, your contemplation, your communion, your sharing. God has revealed himself to those who are looking for him. Because you have seen God in the past does not mean he is visible or obvious to you today. You must re-see him daily. This is worship. God takes the initiative to reveal himself to us in his actions, his word, his will, his people, nature.
As we come to know him, we want to express our praise, gratitude, and worship to him. We acknowledge his presence, his power, his person/nature, his promises, his people, his purposes, his protection, his provision.

What makes the Christian stand out? Sometimes, the wrong things--but some really do stand out for the right reasons. In fact, the difference between the Christian and non-Christian lies in fact of different values systems: 1 Cor. 13:13. Foundation stones of Christian values change our lives. These all have their origin in Jesus Christ.

How do these relate? How do we grow in faith, hope, and love? All begins with Jesus, meditating on the significance of what God has done for us in Jesus. Worship, for to be gripped by these great truths is to be transformed by them, 2 Cor. 3:18.
Outworking of these is very distinct. Each produces its own fruit in your life, for example, faith produces freedom (Rom. 14:2), and obedience (1:5). Love produces servanthood (Gal. 5:13), and gives patience (Eph. 4:2). But interestingly, hope causes the most readily observable changes in a person. Fundamental difference between a Christian and a no-Christian is hope, Eph. 2:12. The text of 1 Pet 3:15 does not urge us to give a reason for our faith, or love, but for our hope. Hope is attractive, perhaps more so than love. Hope produces joy and peace (Rom. 15:13), purity (1 John 3:2-3), self-control (Tit. 2:11-13), and endurance (1 Thess. 1:3). These are just the beginning of the list.

What is everyone looking for? Ask anyone? They say, happiness, peace, freedom, clear conscience, stability, security. But all of these are to be found in hope that comes through Jesus. The Christian who appears on the scene with even a minimum of these qualities will stand out as a light in the dark (Eph. 5:8). People are attracted by our hope. Worship expresses our hope. As others come closer for a better look, our love may disarm them, removing barriers and judgments. Our loves thus bears, believes, endures, makes bonafide relationships possible. And explanations of hope may lead to faith.

Additional Notes on Worship
Worship provides....

Bible doesn't say much about NT assemblies. How would our worship assemblies look if we were seriously reaching out to pagans, what if pagans came to our assemblies? Are we so interested in scriptural form that we have overlooked or ignored scriptural purpose? Therefore we must ask, Why are we here? What is the purpose of assembly?
In 1 Cor. 14:22, if there are unbelievers in the assembly, they should see power of Christianity.

What might we learn from a comparison of low church and high church? Where can one find excitement, enthusiasm, God is in us, God is among us, the sense that this is devoted to God?

In worship, we encourage one another (Heb. 10:25ff). Relationships say that we are here for God, that he is spectator, we are performer. Therefore, worship is not for us, but for him.
We must find encouragement, effort, energy, God at work in us.
Worship should include times of thoughtful introspection.

If I have to choose between good preaching/bad singing and good singing/bad preaching, I will take the latter.

World will buffet us all week, we do not need more buffeting when we assemble for worship.

Assemblies say, we we are community, cultivate virtues, share vision Not just in the sermon, but in all we do, in our announcements, prayers, and songs. We sing to one another, and to God. We must learn how to select praise songs, find encouragement, know wide repertoire of songs, songs for various occasions. If preacher suggests certain song as appropriate, will the song leader know it, be able to sing it.

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Last updated February 23, 2001.