Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Worship: The Heart is the Worship Center 1

Worship for the Believer

The Heart is the Spirit Worship Center

The heart is the intelligence and emotional center of the spirit world connecting God and Man for the ultimate private, honest communications. It is direct passage to the presence of God. It is the true Holy of Holies for man since the loss of the Temple. Man is the High Priest before God in the temple of his heart offering the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus' blood and righteousness.

This is true because…

Both God and Man express thoughts and words, speaking in the heart.

God, who is Spirit, speaks of his heart as the place where thought and expression occurs without physical articulation.

Genesis 8:21 (KJV 1900)

21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

In the spirit of man, it is the center for expressing thoughts and words, speaking in the heart. In this case it is interesting that this is also the place of speaking directly to God in prayer (Context).

Genesis 24:45

45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.

One of the most prominent elements of worship is the capability to frame thought into words. In the heart, God, who is Spirit, exclusively meets with men in their heart for communion. During this communion, man can express his earnest and most truthful words of surrender, adoration, devotion, and confession.

When men and circumstances surround, interfere, disturb, and distract, the solitude of the worship center of the heart can be expressing worship. Both God and man are blessed by such privacy of expression and communion. Flee to this place of refuge with God.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Worship: Replace Staged Worshipped

Staged Worship must give way to Worship in the Spirit

John 4:24

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

I cannot tell you the exact meaning of spirit in John 4:24; because I have never seen the spirit world spoken of in this passage; however, I can tell you what it is not.  It is not tangible flesh and bone or physical in nature because Christ made this very clear.

Luke 24:39–40

39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

In the Old Testament, there was a true physical human worship system, patterned after the spirit worship system of Heaven. 

Hebrews 9:24

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

God provided the pattern of a physical worship center and its worship instruments to Israel by revelation.  The leadership of Israel built the worship center and made its instruments from the heavenly patterns provided by God’s revelation.  They worshipped God in the physical worship center with these physical instruments.  This was the Old Covenant which taught us everything about worshipping God properly.

God’s will was the cessation of the physical human worship system of the Old Covenant in order to substitute the New Covenant spiritual worship of Christ.  God sealed His wil,l humanly, by the dissolution of Israel as a nation; and by the seizure of the worship site of Israel by the most extreme enemy, Islam.  These things sealed that only spirit worship would be possible, until His will was otherwise.

John 4:21 (KJV 1900)

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant physical worship or sacrifice system by offering himself as the ultimate offering for sin.

Hebrews 9:11–12

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Why was this elaborate physical worship system revealed, recorded, and performed.  The patterns and practices in heaven were brought to earth in order to teach men of the spiritual worship system of heaven.  The physical system revealed the concept of God’s high priest who offered sacrifices for the sins of the people insuring that the future offering of Christ could be understood and followed.  The physical system, with a physical high priest, was removed from the earth and replaced with the ultimate spiritual high priest of all mankind, Jesus Christ.

This is the spirit worship which Jesus refers to in John 4:24.

The New Covenant in Christ’s blood can only be offered in heaven, spiritually.  Because worship has been relegated to the spirit world of heaven, we must follow this pattern.  As Christ gave us his body physically and offered it in Heaven spiritually, we also must be an earthly living sacrifice and offer this to him spiritually.  This is true spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

1 Peter 2:5 (KJV 1900)

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Worshiping in the spirit is not physical, personal gratification of music, artful, intelligent preaching, or staged worship, but it is the offering of our bodies spiritually to God as Christ Jesus did.  This is the greatest worship of our Savior.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Worship - Not in Staged Events

Staged Worship ignores the need for Personal Worship

     As I plan corporate worship for a large body of people week after week, one principle I constantly remember is this: The higher the predictability, the lower the impact. Remember that daily drive along the Pacific to the college campus? Whenever I got used to it, I began to lose the impact of that beautiful sight.

     So, I also look at each element of worship from different angles, to see how it might be approached freshly or arranged in creative combinations and yet with dignity.
     For instance, with Scripture I ask myself: How can it make a special impact upon these people who routinely sit in this room Sunday after Sunday? Does it always have to be read as a monologue? Can it be read responsively by two people? Can it be sung? Can it be read dramatically by a practiced readers team? Is this a conversation between one, two, four people? Is there a crowd involved that the choir could represent? Can the prophet shout or call from some distant vantage point in the room? Can different people in the congregation stand and proclaim God’s Word from where they are? (Hayford, J. W., Killinger, J., & Stevenson, H. (1990). Mastering Worship. Mastering Ministry (28). Portland, OR; Carol Stream, IL: Multnomah Press; Christianity Today, Inc.)

When we must stage worship activities to make it fresh or have worship teams, we fall into the trap that the church produces worship for the believer.  However, the true freshness of worship is in a believer who privately worships prior to the church service.  This premise does not mean that worship cannot be encouraged by a well planned and executed assembly event.

There is no wrong in planning the happenings in the course of an assembly meeting of the church.  In fact, it is important to plan for a proper service.  It is important to provide direction and freshness to the elements of a church assembly meeting.  It is equally true that confusing these efforts as creating worship or avenues to worship of God is dangerous.  It is dangerous to create in the assembly a concept that worship is created by staged events during assembly.

It is possible, that the most effective church assembly event, is one in which diligent participants have personally made plans to worship when the worship opportunity presents itself in the assembly.

Matthew 2:11

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Each of the Wise Men prepared to worship when the moment presented itself.  In private, they prepared to worship, and in public they demonstrated their preparation.  Although they were not believers, it is possible that they understood worship better than believers.

It is also possible, that the most effective church assembly event, is one in which thoughtful participants have gained true knowledge of worship through private study of God’s word, and have prepared to worship when the opportunity presents itself in the assembly.

John 4:19–24 (KJV 1900)

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Jesus exposed the fallacy of organized, ignorant corporate activities in the name of worship.  True worship comes is the private preparation and in the knowledge gained from private study of the truth.

Modern churches are filled with assembly events of “worship”, some wild in nature, to convenience the willingly ignorant or unprepared believer of worship occurring.  These events convince participants that they have worshipped.  They are fooled because they personally bring a lack of the knowledge of true worship to the assembly.