Praise and Worship.

Praise and Worship.

“But you are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3

Since God is enthroned in the praises, worship is the key to entering fully into His presence.

Psalm 100: 1-5 this poetic gem sets forth a key to a successful spiritual life: entering God’s presence by means of dynamic praise, which includes singing, gladness, thanksgiving, and worship.

Psalm 100 tells us how. This psalm is a literary masterpiece. It has been said that the Bible is shallow enough that the immature can play without drowning, but deep enough that the most mature can never touch bottom.

  1. Raise your voice to God. “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you land!” (Psalm 100:1) Shout to the Lord from Hillsong comes to mind. When we come to worship our agenda is to meet God. God’s agenda is to meet with us. We raise our voice to get His attention. This is not being rude or disrespectful. As we walk down the path to worship God, we simply cannot be quiet. We are not raising our voices to draw attention to ourselves. We shout for joy because the Lord is among us.
  2. Render honor to God. “Serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2) the psalmist here speaks of a specific and personal activity of praising God. We glorify God by giving To Him the honor and adoration due Him because He is God. He wants us to cultivate within us the adoration and admiration of which He is worthy. He wants us to be astonished at the inconceivable elevation and magnitude and splendor of Almighty God.
  3. Acknowledge God. “Acknowledge that the Lord is God.” (Psalm 100:3) We recognize that we are entering into the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Here we acknowledge that Jesus is our Savior and submit to Him as Lord. Acknowledging God is the intellectual side of our worship protocol. Mentally we acknowledge the God of the Universe. Our worship is to have a firm foundation on the Creator God. This is the precursor to praise.
  4. Open the door to God.: Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4). Drawing an analogy from the temple, the Psalmist informs us as to how we can open the door into God’s presence.  The gates were a part of the outer wall that surrounded the temple grounds. One entered the temple complex through the gates. As we enter God’s presence we enter his gates with thanksgiving – here we thank God for what he has done. Once through the gates, the worshipper enters the courts with praise. Here we glorify God for who he is.
  5. Praise is not worship. It sets the stage for worship. Praise anticipates what is to come, entering the presence of God. Praise precedes worship. Praise is the way into worship, and worship is the way into an encounter with the living God.  In other words, praise is the vehicle into God’s presence, and worship is what we do once we get into God’s presence.” While God is everywhere (omnipresence), God’s revealed presence occurs when we worship God.
  6. God has chosen to manifest himself in the praises of his people. David wrote of God, “But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel” (Psa. 22:3). God is enthroned in our praises. Thus, our praise creates the atmosphere for an audience with the King. We come before God with thanksgiving and praise on our lips and in our hearts.
  7. Give Thanks to God. “Give thanks to Him” (Psa. 100:4). Notice the repetition in verse four. Giving thanks to God and praising him are stated twice. It is repeated so that we will not miss its importance.
  8. Bless the name of God
  9. “Praise His name!” (Psa. 100:4). The word praise means to kneel. It communicates the idea to show honor and homage to God, by kneeling before him as King of kings and Lord of Lords. True worship always involves falling at the feet of God.
  10. The Psalmist reminds us that “The Lord is good” (Psalm 100:5); he is gracious and kind. “His love (or mercy) is eternal” (Psalm 100:5). The word for love means covenant love. God has bound us to himself in a covenant or contract that he will never revoke or abandon. “His faithfulness endures through all generations” (Psalm 100:5). God is not fickle or forgetful. He does not change his purpose or break his word.
  11. Psalm 100:5 the summons to praise is based on these three valid reasons.
  12. For the Lord is good;
  13. His mercy is everlasting,
  14. and His truth endures to all generations.

What is worship? But what does worship mean? When you mention the word worship, it conjures us all kinds of images in people’s minds. Simply stated worship is declaring the worth of God.

With that definition in mind, we don’t worship God for what we get out of it, but to give God the honor that is due him, recognizing his worth, his value, his place in our church, and his claim on our lives.  Worship occurs when people encounter God who loves them and desires a relationship with them.

worship is “a meeting between God and his people.” Worship does not lead to an encounter with God. It is an encounter with God.

When we worship God, whether on our own or in church, we come with an agenda: to meet with God. And as important as that is, we need to remember that God has an agenda as well: to meet with us.

If worship is about encountering the presence of God, a simple question is raised: Isn’t God’s presence always with us?

  1. The realities to God’s presence
  2. The reality of God’s omnipresence

Of course, God is always with us. “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there” (Psalms 139:8). This is the reality of God’s omnipresence. God’s universal presence is a marvelous fact of life. We cannot escape the presence of God. Sometimes we are blind to it, but never for a minute think that God’s presence is not with us. God promised Moses: “My presence will go with you” (Exodus 33:14).

God promises to manifest his presence in a special way when we worship. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them” (Matt. 18:20) seems to contradict Matthew 28:20 “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Why would Jesus promise to be present conditionally (when two or three are present in my name) if he also promises to be with us always – that is under any circumstances? The only logical explanation is that Jesus is speaking about a different kind of presence in the first passage, something more than just God’s omnipresence.

  1. The reality of God’s revealed presence

This type of presence “the revealed presence of God . . . an unusual revelation of God’s essence in a certain location.” Old Testament calls it God’s “tabernacling presence.” Some refer to it as God’s “manifest presence.” In corporate worship, God desires to remove our blindfolds and give us an extraordinary, breathtaking glimpse of divine radiance.

Luke 5:17-26 records an example of both God’s omnipresence and God’s revealed presence. Jesus was there – omnipresence – in the midst of this crowd that had come to hear him teach. But notice verse 17. “And the Lord’s power to heal was in Him” (Luke 5:17). Luke recognized something different. Yes, Jesus was present – physically he was with them. But Luke noticed something more, something different.

 He noticed a power, Jesus’ manifested presence that was in attendance, too. God’s revealed presence was there, too. And, it was God’s revealed presence that healed the paralytic brought to Jesus that day. And it was his revealed presence that caused everyone to be “astounded, and they were giving glory to God. And they were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen incredible things today!’” (Luke 5:26). That is the presence we long for in worship.

This extra glimpse of God we crave; we want. We need to feel it, to sense it, to experience it, to taste it, and to touch it. And when we do, like the paralytic, we will forever be changed. We should ask for it.

III. What is needed in worship?

  1. A hunger for God

First, Moses asked: “teach me Your ways” (Ex. 33:13). The Amplified Bible translates it this way: “Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly] and that I may find favor in Your sight” (Ex. 33:13 Amplified Bible).

  Moses wasn’t interested in God’s ways just because he desired information. His desire came from a heart of a worshipper that was saying, “I want to sign up with you for life – not just a chapter of it. I want to walk into eternity with you.” It was his way of saying I want to become more progressively, more intimately acquainted with the living God. He was saying that he wanted to experience God every day of his life. He didn’t just want the facts he wanted God. He was talking about a relationship.

Moses hungered for God. Moses longed for God. Moses realized that nothing else in the world could compare to the experience of being with God. Moses had a passion for his presence.

Our worship should hunger for God.

  1. What do we need to do?

Here are five simple, but life changing actions we need to take to experience God’s revealed presence in worship.

  1. Anticipate God’s revealed presence in worship. Expect him. Long for him.
  2. Look for God’s hand at work in worship.
  3. Listen for God’s voice.
  4. Open yourself up to new manifestations of God’s presence.
  5. Be sensitive to the leadership of God’s Spirit.

Conclusion

Let me close on an observation regarding experiencing God’s presence in worship.

“The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God, and the church is famishing for want of his presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged. This would burn away the impurities from our lives as the bugs and fungi were burned away by the fire that dwelt in the burning bush.”

 

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