Worship (Spiritual Disciplines Study)

Corporate Disciplines


  • God is actively seeking worshippers.
    • John 4:23
      • 23 But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him.
    • It is God who seeks, draws, persuades. Worship is the human response to the divine initiative.
    • In Genesis God walked in the garden, seeking out Adam and Eve. In the crucifixion Jesus drew men and women to himself. 
    • Scripture is replete with examples of God’s efforts to initiate, restore, and maintain fellowship with his children. God is like the father of the prodigal who upon seeing his son a long way off, rushed to welcome him home.
    • Singing, praying, praising all may lead to worship, but worship is more than any of them. Our spirit must be ignited by the divine fire.
    • Nowhere does the NT prescribe a particular form for worship. In fact, what we find is a freedom that is incredible for people with such deep roots in the synagogue liturgical system. They had the reality. When Spirit touches spirit the issue of forms is wholly secondary.
    • We are free in Christ to use whatever forms will enhance our worship, and if any form hinders us from experiencing the living Christ—too bad for that form.
  • The Object of Our Worship
    • Matthew 4:10
      • 10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”
    • God made clear his hatred for all idolatries by placing an incisive command at the start of the 10 Commandments
      • Exodus 20:3
        • 3 Do not have other gods besides me.
    • Nor does idolatry consist only in bowing before visible objects of adoration.
    • A.W. Tozer
      • The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.
    • We desperately need to see who God is: to read about his self-disclosure to his ancient people Israel, to meditate on hi attributes, to gaze upon the revelation of his nature in Jesus Christ.
    • To see who the Lord is brings us to confession.
      • Isaiah 6:5
        • 5 Then I said: Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies.
      • The pervasive sinfulness of human beings becomes evident when contrasted with the radiant holiness of God. Our fickleness becomes apparent once we see God’s faithfulness. To understand his grace is to understand our guilt
    • We praise God for who he is, and thank him for what he has done.
  • The Priority of Worship
    • If the Lord is to be Lord, worship must have priority in our lives
      • Mark 12:30
        • 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
    • Our lives are to be punctuated with praise, thanksgiving, and adoration. 
    • One grave temptation we all face is to run around answering calls to service without ministering to the Lord himself 
    • It is as if God is saying, “I want the hears of my people back!” And if we long to go where God is going and do what God is doing, we will move into deeper, more authentic worship.
  • Preparation for Worship
    • The early Church gathered with anticipation, knowing that Christ was present among them and would teach them and touch them with his living power. 
    • How do we cultivate this holy expectancy?
      • While living out the demands of our day we are filled with inward worship and adoration. We work and play and eat and sleep, yet we are listening, ever listening, to our Teacher
      • Brother Lawrence 
        • I cannot imagine how religious persons can live satisfied without the practice of the Presence of God.
      • When more than one or tow come into public worship with a holy expectancy, it can change the atmosphere of a room. 
      • Another vital feature of the early Christian community was their sense of being “gathered” together in worship. First, they were gathered in the sense that they actually met as a group, and second, as they met, they were gathered into a unity of spirit that transcended their individualism.
    • In contrast to the religions of the East, the Christian faith has strongly emphasized corporate worship. Even under highly dangerous circumstances the early community was urged not to forsake the assembling of themselves together.
      • Martin Luther
        • At home, in my own house, there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through
    • When we are truly gathered into worship, things occur that could never occur alone. There is the psychology of the group to be sure, and yet is it so much more; it is divine interpenetration. There is what the biblical writers called koinonia, deep inward fellowship in the power of the Spirit.
  • The Leader of Worship
    • Jesus Christ
    • George Fox
      • Meet together in the Name of Jesus…he is your Prophet, your Shepherd, your Bishop, your Priest, in the midst of you, to open you, and to sanctify you, and to feed you with Life, and to quicken you with Life.
    • Some are called to lead
      • This is the reason for the leadership gifts of the Spirit in Ephesians 4.
      • Worship leaders who are called out by God must not be shy about their leadership. People need to be led into worship: from the Other Court to the Inner Court and finally into the Holy of Holies. God anoints leaders to bring people through this progression into worship
  • Avenues into worship
    • Communing with God daily (in all aspects of your life)
    • Like a child taking first steps we are learning through success and failure, confident that we have a present Teacher who, through the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. In this way we come to understand what Paul means when he instructs us to…
      • Romans 8:4
        • 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
    • Praise is another avenue into worship
      • The Psalms are the literature of worship and their most prominent feature is praise
    • Scripture urges us to…
      • Hebrews 13:15
        • 15 Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
      • Peter and John left the Sanhedrin with bleeding backs and praising lips. Paul and Silas filled the Philippian jail  with their songs of praise. In each case they were offering the sacrifice of praise.
    • Singing is meant to move us into praise
      • It provides a medium for the expression of emotion. Through music we express our joy, out thanksgiving.
    • It is clear that God calls for wholehearted worship. And it is as reasonable to expect wholehearted worship to be physical as to expect it to be cerebral
      • Of course people have different temperaments, but that must never keep us from worshipping with our whole being.
      • Having said this, I must add that the physical response to worship is never to be manipulated in any way.
  • Steps into worship
    • Worship is something we do. Studying the theology of worship and debating the forms of worship are all good, but by themselves they are inadequate. We learn to worship by worshipping.
    • Learn to practice the presence of God daily
      • “Pray without ceasing” I Thessalonians 5:17
    • Have many different experiences of worship
    • Find ways to really prepare for the gathered experience of worship.
    • Have a willingness to be gathered in the power of the Lord.
      • As an individual I must learn to let go of my agenda, of my concern, of my being blessed, of my hearing the word of God.
      • Become of one mind, of one accord.
    • Cultivate holy dependency
      • You are utterly and completely dependent upon God for anything significant to happen.
    • Absorb distractions with gratitude
    • Learn to offer a sacrifice of worship
      • Show up and worship, even when you don’t feel like it.
      • One log by itself cannot burn for very long, but when many logs are put together, even if they are poor logs, they can make quite a fire.
  • The Fruits of Worship
    • Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship
    • To worship is to change
    • Willard Sperry
      • Worship is a deliberate and disciplined adventure in reality.
    • It is not for the timid or comfortable. It involves an opening of ourselves to the adventurous life of the Spirit. It makes all the religious paraphernalia of temples and priests and rites and ceremonies irrelevant.
    • Colossians 3:16
      • 16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

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