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Worship Jesus

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Worship in the Cell Church"

Cell Life Forum, 1999

Introduction

“Worship Him and then serve Him only” said Jesus (Mt. 4:10). With that short phrase, Jesus forever established Christian priorities: Worship first and service second.  If you’re like me, I have the tendency to  reverse that order. I want to do, to accomplish, to perform. Yet, Jesus gently reminds me that He’s not impressed by my actions as much as my communion with Him. He reminds me that the Father is seeking worshippers who know how to seek Him. What does it mean to worship Him? <![endif]>

The Meaning of Worship  

            Worship is the believer’s response to God’s work of grace. In the Old Testament the word worship literally means to prostrate yourself on the ground. It speaks of the humility one should have before our creator. The word worship speaks of bowing down before the King of Kings.

In fact, most of the words that refer to worshipping God are used in physical terms. Throughout the Scriptures we find a variety of postures used in worship: lying prostrate on one's face, kneeling, standing, clapping, lifting -up the arms, dancing, lifting the head, bowing the head.   Some of the responses to worship in the Old Testament are:

·        Bending over (2 Kings 18:22; Psalm 5:8)

·        Stooping  (2 Chronicles. 29:29; Ezra 9:5; Ps. 22:30)

·        Falling on the face (Genesis 24:26, 48; Exodus 4:31)

·        Throwing oneself down (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25; Ezra 10:1)

·        Bowing the head (Isaiah 58:5; Micah 6:6)

·        Standing before the Lord ( Nehemiah 9:2; Ps. 106:30; Jeremiah 18:20).

There is no one correct posture for worshipping God. Posture is only useful when it expresses the reality of the heart. To painfully prostrate yourself before God for hours during personal worship only because you’re supposed to would displease God. God hates religious ritual that is not backed up with heart reality. Listen to what God says about religious ritual through His prophet Isaiah:

Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen (Isaiah 1:13-15).

            On the other hand, God delights in bodily worship when it expresses inward reality. Take kneeling, for example. Kneeling in the OT  expressed  humility and reverence. “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker,” says the Psalmist (Psalm 95:6). When God gives you a fresh vision for His holiness, fall on your knees out of respect and reverence. You might weep before Him as you think of His kindness and love for you.

            One of the most moving passages of worship is found in 1 Chronicles 29:10-13. You can feel the passion and love for God in David’s worship:

Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name  

            After sensing God’s glory and presence we read that David and the congregation, “. . . bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD” (29:20). Bowing low and falling on their face was a natural response to God’s glory and power. They could not have done less.

The lifting of the hands is another common expression of worship to God. It’s an expression of praise and thankfulness. Notice the connection in Psalm 63:4: “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”  Paul says, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing”(1 Timothy 2:8). Paul desired all men to praise God.

At times you’ll be so filled with the joy and glory of God that you’ll want to express your love to Jesus by lifting your hands. This pleases Jesus.  At other times, you’ll lift your hands to Jesus as an act of submission and surrender. Perhaps, God has reached into your life and revealed an area of sin. You’re finally willing to surrender. God, like a policeman, has gently told you, “You’re under arrest.” Raising your hands say in effect, “Lord, I give up.” Take control.

            For the most part, you’ll want to find a posture that’s comfortable. The worship time should be a delight as opposed to a burden. Do you like to sit and pray? Do it. Do you prefer kneeling or laying prostrate before God? That’s okay, too.

            In the New Testament the meaning of worship is even more intimate. There is a clear idea of intimacy in worship. The word literally means  “to kiss.” When you’re worshipping God, you kissing Him, while drawing near to Him in a very intimate way. This intimate word for worship is  found 59 times in the New Testament. We read in Revelation 4:10-11 that the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created, and have their being.”  

The Need to Shut the Door

While worshipping God can take place under any circumstances, real communion requires stillness. In such a place, quietness reigns and communion with the Almighty is more likely to occur.

Jesus tells us to seek the Father in a specific place where we can “shut the door” to the noise and clutter of the world around us (Matthew 6:5-6). In his book, Intimacy with the Almighty, Chuck Swindoll says,

Ours is a cluttered, complicated world. God did not create it that way. Depraved, restless humanity has made it that way . . . Tragically, precious little in this hurried and hassled age promotes such intimacy. We have become a body of people who look more like a herd of cattle in a stampede than a flock of God beside green pastures and still waters. Our forefathers knew, it seems, how to commune with the Almighty … but do we? [1]  

The Gospel of Luke tells us that, “. . Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them” (6:12-13). For Jesus, “shutting the door” meant escaping to a nearby mountainside to spend quality time with the Father. Jesus ministered to the clamoring crowds, but He also needed to “shut the door” in order to commune with the Father.

We can’t really expect to enter into the holy presence of God while sitting in front of the TV, being interrupted by telephone calls, or driving in the car on the way to work. Just as Jesus fled from the noise of the multitude to seek the Father, you must also shut the door to the crowds (work, ministry, and family) in order to seek God successfully.

Some prefer to worship God in a forest or park. Jesus preferred the desert or a mountain top (Luke 5:16).  Peter sought God on a rooftop (Acts 10:9). Paul retreated to the inner rooms of a boat (Acts 27:23). The actual place for worship is not sacred—only the One with whom you’re communing.  The only criterion for determining your secret place is to make sure that quietness reigns supreme.   

Making Worship a Priority  

Charles Hummel, a godly Christian leader, once wrote a classic article called, “The Tyranny of the Urgent.” His basic thesis was that we live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The important is our daily relationship with Jesus while the urgent is that which steals our time from God. Be assured that urgent needs will crowd your schedule and spoil your initiative to worship God, unless you plan ahead—unless you make your meeting with Him the most vital appointment of your day. 

            Often we become so busy that we convince ourselves that we don’t have time to worship God. Like Martha, the sister of Mary, we think that “serving God” is more important than worshipping Him. Yet, Jesus cut the heart out of such arguments by esteeming Mary, who sat at his feel. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42).  

 The Results  

            There are many benefits to worship. The most important benefit, of course, is to commune with the living God. The believer who earnestly worships Jesus will soon be transformed by His presence.  

God’s Glory  

            The Scriptures tells us that when Solomon finished worshipping and praying that fire came down from heaven and “. . .the glory of the LORD filled the temple.  2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it.  (2 Chronicles 7:1,2). Often God responds to the diligent worshipper by manifesting His glory.  

God’s Joy  

            How do we know that God’s glory has fallen. It’s true that we don’t trust in our emotions. We walk by faith and not by sight. Yet, a clear sign that the worshipper has entered the presence of God is joy. God wants to fill us with His joy. David declares: You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:11). Paul tells us that “. . . the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

            Brother Lawrence was a man who lived many years ago who tried to stay in the presence of God at all times. At times he was filled with so much joy that he had to try to hide it so that people wouldn’t feel that he was going crazy. Somebody writing about Brother Lawrence said, “For about thirty years his soul has been filled with joy so continual, and sometimes so great, that he is forced to use means to moderate them, and to hinder their appearing outwardly.” 

God’s Direction  

            The writer of Acts tells us that about a worship meeting in the church of Antioch: 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.” (Acts 13:2) Notice the natural progression: They worshipped first and then the Holy Spirit moved and gave clear direction.

            To earn my Ph.D. degree, I polled 700 small group lay leaders in eight countries around the world. I wanted to determine why certain small group leaders were more successful than others in growing and multiplying their small groups. My questionnaire probed the lesson preparation of these leaders, their gifts, the time spent in visiting, prayer life, education, time spent with God, social status, etc. I discovered that the leader’s success in small group multiplication had nothing to do with gifting, personality, social status, or gender. On the other hand, it had everything to do with time spent in daily worship. Time spent in personal worship consistently appeared among the top three most important factors in the study. What made the difference? Those who spent quality time worshipping Jesus received the benefit of His direction. They understood how to deal with the constant talker, how to carry the group to the next level of intimacy.         

Conclusion

 All cell leaders face the “tyranny of the urgent.” With so many urgent  issues daily facing the cell leader, which one will take priority? The cell lesson needs fine-tuning, someone must bring the refreshments, John needs a ride, and on and on the list goes. Cell leaders find themselves overwhelmed with  worship choruses, ice-breakers, calls, visits, etc. These noble tasks capture the leader’s attention, often drawing him away from the most important duty—spending time in His presence. Don’t short-change yourself or God. He’s looking for worshippers. Will you answer His call?

 
Laying on of Hands with Prayer and Anointing
     
    This form may be used at the prayers during the visitation of the sick, either at Holy Communion with the sick or as part of another form of prayer at the bedside. If Anointing is administered, the minister must be authorized for this ministry as required by Canon B 37.
     
    Blessed are you, sovereign God, gentle and merciful.
Your anointed Son brought healing to those in weakness
       and distress;
he broke the power of evil and set us free from sin and death
that we might become partakers of his glory.
Remember in your mercy all for whom we pray;
in the fullness of time complete your gracious work
that we may be restored in your image, renewed in your love,
and for ever praise your great and holy name,
    Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
     
    Holy God, in whom we live and move and have our being,
we make our prayer to you saying,
Lord, hear us.
    Lord, graciously hear us.
     
    Grant to [N and] all who seek you
the assurance of your presence, your power and your peace.
Lord, hear us.
    Lord, graciously hear us.
     
    Grant your healing grace to [N and] all who are sick,
that they may be made whole in body, mind and spirit.
Lord, hear us.
    Lord, graciously hear us.
     
    Grant to all who minister to the suffering
wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience.
Lord, hear us.
    Lord, graciously hear us.
     
    Sustain and support the anxious and fearful
and lift up all who are brought low.
Lord, hear us.
    Lord, graciously hear us.
     
    Hear us, Lord of life.
    Heal us, and make us whole.
     
    A period of silence follows.
     
    O Lord our God, accept the fervent prayers of your people;
in the multitude of your mercies look with compassion
upon us and all who turn to you for help;
for you are gracious, O lover of souls,
and to you we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. 
    Amen.
     
    The Laying on of Hands is administered.
     
    In the name of God and trusting in his might alone,
receive Christ's healing touch to make you whole.
     
    May Christ bring you wholeness
of body, mind and spirit,
deliver you from every evil,
and give you his peace. 
    Amen.
     
    These words are used when Anointing is administered
     
    N, I anoint you in the name of God who gives you life.
Receive Christ's forgiveness, his healing and his love.
     
    May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
grant you the riches of his grace,
his wholeness and his peace. 
    Amen.
     
    The minister says
     
    The almighty Lord,
who is a strong tower for all who put their trust in him,
whom all things in heaven, on earth and under the earth obey,
be now and evermore your defence.
May you believe and trust that the only name under heaven
given for health and salvation
is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
    Amen.

Healing Through Praise and Worship
by Janis Lewis
taken from the Summer 1997 issue

We are a society that has come to a point of believing only that which we can see, feel, hear and touch. When there is a physical problem in our bodies, we are quick to call the doctor and make an appointment. We expect the doctor to tell us what is wrong and how to cure it. The doctor then gives us a prescription with the recommended dosage. We must be faithful to use the proper amount of medicine for the correct amount of time in order to receive healing. We follow every detail exactly as the doctor prescribes because we are able to see a person and hear his instruction.  

God is Jehovah Rapha, our healer, and yet we often do not trust His promise to heal us because we cannot use our senses to recognize Him. Doctors have degrees and certificates, but God has his Word, which is packed full with prescriptions and promises for our lives. It has every answer to every problem we face. We simply have to step into faith in order to receive His promises.  

Faith works in the supernatural, not in the natural. I Corinthians says that faith is the substance of things not seen and the evidence of things not heard. God wants us to have faith and trust Him for our healing.

One way to come into that place of trust and faith is through praise and worship. God’s desire for us is that we praise Him at all times. He yearns for His church to praise Him, but so often we are too busy doing our own things. God wants us to praise Him continually.

The definition of praise is to express admiration or approval. Praise is the act of extolling God for what He has done and for what He is doing. As His children, we offer Him our sacrifices of praise through Jesus (Heb. 13:15). God yearns for His church to praise Him. Praise sets us in an attitude to receive. Through praise, God allows His children to tap into his presence, where we are able to receive a multitude of His promises, one of which is His promise of healing.

Worship is praising God for who He is without asking questions or seeking answers. Worship is submission to God, and submission is required from us in order to come into the Holy of Holies, where we can find refuge, strength and healing.  

Praise and worship are demonstrations of our faith, and they also encourage faith within us, because they require the spirit, soul and body to come into alignment with God’s Word. Through praise and worship, we step into faith. And through our faith, God’s healing Spirit is able to work within us.

What is speaking in tongues?


     Speaking in tongues is the New Testament phenomena where a person or persons speaks in a language that is unknown to him.  This language is either the language of angels or other earthly languages (1 Cor. 13:1).  It occurred in Acts 2 at Pentecost and also in the Corinthian church as is described in 1 Corinthians 14.  This New Testament gift was given by the Holy Spirit to the Christian church and is for the purpose of the edification of the Body of Christ as well as for glorifying the Lord. 
     There seems to be three divisions in the use of tongues:  First, a private prayer language that is not interpreted; second, a language that is interpreted - this defines proper usage in the Christian congregation; and third, missionary context -- that is, it appears in the context of evangelism where people (in the New Testament) are presenting the gospel.
     Today there is much debate as to the validity of speaking in tongues, especially since there is so much apart misuse of it in Christian circles.  Nevertheless, some Christian churches teach that all the charismatic gifts (speaking in tongues, word of knowledge, prophecy, etc.) have ceased with the completion of the New Testament (1 Cor. 13:8-12).  Others maintain that the charismatic gifts are still for the church today (1 Cor. 1:7).  It is not the purpose of this paper to take sides on this issue since it is so divisive and believing or not believing in them does not affect one's salvation.  Nevertheless, there are good arguments on both sides and the Christian church needs to be as gracious as possible to those with opposing views on this debatable issue.
    But there is an important point worth making here.  Some churches erringly maintain that you must speak in tongues in order to be saved.  This is a grave mistake since not all people speak in tongues because not all people are gifted by the Holy Spirit this way.

1 Cor. 12:7-11,28-31, "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills...28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.

      So, the gifts of the Spirit are varied and they are for the edification of the body of Christ.  Speaking in tongues is not necessary for salvation and it is not a prerequisite proof of Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  We must remember the words of Paul in 1 Cor. 13:1-2,13

"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing....13 But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."


Worship Scriptures  
 

Worship in Scripture

Bowing Down/Kneeling

Psalm 95:6-7

(6) O come, let us worship and bow down,

let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

(7) For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture,

and the sheep of his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice!

Rom 14:11 "For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.""

Phil 2:9-11 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, (10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Luke 5:8 "But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, 'Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!'"

Lay Prostrate

Deut 9:18 "Then I lay prostrate before the LORD as before, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin you had committed, provoking the LORD by doing what was evil in his sight."

Ezek 9:8 "While they were killing, and I was left alone, I fell prostrate on my face and cried out, "Ah Lord GOD! will you destroy all who remain of Israel as you pour out your wrath upon Jerusalem?""

Clapping

Psalm 47:1 "Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy."

Lifted Hands

Psalm 28:2 "Hear the voice of my supplication, as I cry to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary."

Psalm 63:3-4 "Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name."

Psalm 134:

"Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,

who stand by night in the house of the LORD!

Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD.

May the LORD, maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion."

Lam 3:41 "Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God in heaven."

Dancing

Jer 31:4 "Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall take your tambourines, and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers."

Jer 31:13 "Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow."

Psalm 150

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty firmament!

(2) Praise him for his mighty deeds;

praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

(3) Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! (4) Praise him with tambourine and dance;

praise him with strings and pipe!

(5) Praise him with clanging cymbals;

praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

(6) Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD!

Exo 15:20-21 "Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: 'Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.'"

2 Sam 6:5,14-16 "David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the LORD with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals… (14) David danced before the LORD with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. (15) So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (16) As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

Psalm 149:3 "Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre."

Shouting

Psalm 32:11 "Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart."

Psalm 71:23 "My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have rescued."

Psalm 81:1 "Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob."

Isa 12:6 "Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."

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