Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Corporate Praise and Worship

I believe many Christians have a lack of power and joy that is due in large part to their lack of participation in corporate singing. The God who crushed his Son in our place to save us from eternal hell is being praised...and we can sit or stand with no sign of emotion, no shout of 'Hallelujah,' refusing to join in the song of the redeemed? What?! God is worthy of our thanks and praise, and he commands (not suggests) that we praise him.

We are strengthened and blessed when we sing praises to God with the assembled saints. Our focus on God's greatness is renewed. Others are encouraged and edified. God touches our hearts afresh. Singing together is also a sign of being filled with the Spirit of God and the word of God:

  • And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Eph 5:18-20

  • And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:15-17

You don’t have to be a great singer; you just need a great Savior! Here are some thoughts on praise and worship from the Scriptures:

1) Each local church a part of the song, with the ultimate goal of Rev 4:9. God wants local churches unified, adding their part to the great song of praise. One day EVERY language ever spoken will come together in a glorious song of praise to JESUS CHRIST! No king has ever received that glory.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation Rev 4:9

2) Paul’s missionary ministry was birthed in corporate worship. As we worship God together, he speaks to our hearts! What ministry will be birthed in our own congregations as we minister to the Lord?
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:2-3

3) Neglecting to thank and praise God is exceedingly sinful. Just think of all that God has done for humanity. His common grace: feeding the hungry, sending rain and sunshine, air to breathe and every good gift. How ungrateful it is for people to abstain from thanking God! And how much more for God's people, who have received every spiritual blessing in Christ?

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:21-23

4) Praise and Worship is the beginning of approach to God, through faith in Jesus Christ. We are taught to never just run into the presence of God popping our bubble gum, as it were. He is our Father and friend, but he is also GOD! We can approach him only by the blood of Jesus, through faith in his sacrifice. And God has instructed us to come before him first with thanksgiving and praise!
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matt 6:9
Come into his presence with singing! …Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:2b, 4

5) God "beats up" his enemies as we praise him. Satan was defeated at the cross, but his defeat can be manifested in our lives as we glorify Jesus, open up our mouths and sing, shout, and faithfully declare his word!
when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another. 2 Chron 20:21-23

And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. Isaiah 30:30-32

6) Jesus’ example. Jesus thanked God "in the Holy Spirit!"
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. Luke 10:21

Are you weak and defeated? Look to the glorious crucified and risen Christ, believe his gospel, and then open up your MOUTH and praise God!

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