Praise and worship

SERMON TOPIC: Praise and worship

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 12 April 2015


Sermon synopsis: Although there are things that can be done to enhance corporate worship, there is a profound sense in which excellent worship cannot be attained merely by pursuing excellent worship. In the same way that, according to Jesus, you cannot find yourself until you lose yourself, so also you cannot find excellent corporate worship until you stop trying to find excellent corporate worship and pursue God himself. Despite the protestations, one sometimes wonders if we are beginning to worship worship rather than worship God. (D.A. Carson)
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Praise and worship.

D.A. Carson:

Although there are things that can be done to enhance corporate worship, there is a profound sense in which excellent worship cannot be attained merely by pursuing excellent worship. In the same way that, according to Jesus, you cannot find yourself until you lose yourself, so also you cannot find excellent corporate worship until you stop trying to find excellent corporate worship and pursue God himself. Despite the protestations, one sometimes wonders if we are beginning to worship worship rather than worship God.

Steve, a pastor in Ellijay, Georgia, USA.

Date nights are special for Sherry and me. Our lives are really busy. Both of us work more than full time. We have kids. It seems like there is always something demanding our time and attention. After nearly 25 years of marriage, we’ve learned that it is really important for us to focus our time and energy on each other a little bit. I really look forward to our date nights. I usually try to make sure we plan in advance what we’d like to do that night. I ensure that my schedule is cleared from all other activities. I usually go home from work early. I will change clothes, and freshen up to spend some time out together. By the time the evening arrives, I am focused, ready, and we usually end up having a great time together.

In other words, I prepare in advance. I want this night to count, and to be fun, so I approach our date together by taking steps to maximize our time. I do this, because I believe that your approach can determine your experience. That isn’t an absolute truth, and there are no guarantees, but my anticipation, my preparation, my attitude, my approach to the evening sure can influence the outcome. Of course, I could just ignore this principle and stumble into the evening unprepared. Yeah. I love that conversation in the car…“What do you want to do tonight?” “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” “I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

Praise and worship.

Sure enough, by the time we finally pick the restaurant where we want to eat, we have to wait in a long line. By the time dinner is served, we realize we are missing the movie we thought about seeing… Which isn’t a big deal, because I forgot about those emails I had to return anyway, so… Maybe we’ll get to spend some time together next week or sometime.

That experience sucks. But that is what you get a lot of times when you aren’t prepared. That’s why the principle is that your approach can determine your experience.

I wonder if the same can be true of our Sunday morning corporate worship experience? Sometimes the worship time is vibrant and alive with people genuinely worshipping in the Spirit. Sometimes, it feels like it falls kinda flat. Is there some mystery going on here? Does God only show up on some Sundays, but sleep in on others? I wonder if we realize that our approach can determine our experience on Sunday mornings? Do you prepare to meet God along with the body of Christ?

Praise and worship.

Which of the following approaches do you take to corporate worship?

Sleep till last possible minute before having to get ready for church, drive onto campus just as service is beginning, grab coffee while singing is going on, and walk into the service bleary-eyed and trying to find a seat, getting your bearings and figuring out what is going on just as the last song ends.

Arrive prayed up, knowing verses and songs so you can express yourself well and have the sensitivity to hear the voice of God. You can continue to have limited, dull, lifeless experiences, OR you can take the steps to prepare your heart and mind to encounter the Holy Spirit in a life-transforming and church- revolutionizing way. Approach Sunday morning corporate worship expecting something incredible to happen!

Praise and worship.

Pray Up! Have an already open, ongoing conversation with God. Intimacy isn’t a switch that you can flip on and off… It is a potentially rich soil that must be cultivated.

Psalm 5:3. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Read Up! Take some time.. Even if it is just a few moments.. To be in His Word

Psalm 119:9-11. How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you- don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Worship on your own. Everyone does this differently. Practice private worship during the week as you prepare for corporate worship on the weekend.

Psalm 42:8. Each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.

Praise and worship.

Live by faith!

Let me throw this one last thing at you…

Worship is a response. It isn’t a list of songs or a dedicated period of time on Sunday morning. Worship is what happens when we catch of glimpse of who God is. It is what happens when we realize what He is doing in and through us. When we see Him, we will naturally respond by being in awe. When we see Him, we can’t help but drop our jaws and fall to our knees, surrendering ourselves to His majesty.

Maybe our worship experience is a little flat because we don’t have anything to respond to. Maybe we have crowded him out of our lives, leaving no room for Him to work the miracles that only He can work. Really. When was the last time you took a leap of faith, having no handrails to hold on to, and you just had to trust that HE was in charge of the result?

What does that look like? For me it is often giving when I have no money. Serving when I have no time. Sharing when I have no patience. Speaking out when I don’t have the words. Standing when I have no courage. It is when I can’t that He proves that He can. He works. I worship.

Praise and worship.

Corporate worship is only an overflow of your private worship?

If we are only worshiping at Sunday morning services, something is wrong. Private worship (meaning personal worship outside of the church) is the necessary fuel for strong and passionate corporate worship. Don’t we believe in the biblical truth that worship is a 24/ 7 kind of thing? (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Jesus reminded us in John chapter 4 when he was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, that worship doesn’t only take place in a building or church. Rather it’s a personal aspect of our faith that is without walls. Jesus is our well when we’re thirsty. He is our portion and our supply. why do we only wait until Sunday morning to ‘worship?’

The challenge before us, is to take time out of our day, and spend time in worship. Your private worship will only add and accentuate your corporate worship.

How much time are you spending in private worship?

Praise and worship.

What Jesus had to say about worship.

Luke 15:8-9.

These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

John 4:19-24.

Sir, the woman said, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. Woman, Jesus replied, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

Be aware of who you are worshipping.

Luke 4:5-8.

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.

And he said to him, I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.

If you worship me, it will all be yours.

Jesus answered, It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.

Be aware of who you are worshipping.

All discussion of worship must ultimately deal with the issue of undivided allegiance to God.

Matthew 22;36-37.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Obviously one cannot discern the depth of a church’s devotion to God by hearing them sing. The Mormon Tabernacle choir could sing Christian songs better than most churches and they do not even worship the God of The Bible.

Mormon leaders have taught that Jesus’ incarnation was the result of a physical relationship between God the Father and Mary (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115; Mormon Doctrine, p. 547).

Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but that any human can also become a god (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345–354).

Mormonism teaches that salvation can be earned by a combination of faith and good works (LDS Bible Dictionary, p. 697).

Be aware of who you are worshipping.

Contrary to Mormon doctrine, Christians historically have taught that no one can achieve the status of God, only He is holy (1 Samuel 2:2).

We can only be made holy in God's sight through faith in Him (1 Corinthians 1:2).

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16), is the only one ever to have lived a sinless life, and now has the highest place of honour in heaven (Hebrews 7:26).

Jesus and God are one in essence, Jesus being the only man who existed before physical birth (John 1:1–8; 8:56).

Jesus gave Himself to us as a sacrifice, God raised Him from the dead, and one day everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:6–11).

Jesus tells us it is impossible to get to heaven by our own works and that only by faith in Him is it possible (Matthew 19:26).

We all deserve eternal punishment for our sins, but God's infinite love and grace have allowed us a way out. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Be aware of who you are worshipping.

Be aware of who you are worshipping.

What’s wrong with church today?

Does Sunday Morning Church really need all this glitter, showmanship and gimmickry? Are we in danger of turning worship into a flashy concert? Of watering down the message so nobody is offended and forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel?

I grew up with a preacher’s kid. He was a fake following in the footsteps of his flimflamming father who did a great Vegas-style act at the grand piano.

Both papa and son could turn on the tears and put on a fantastic show. The boy did a spectacular display of repentance and sorrow each year at our summer camp’s final-night altar call. He craved the spotlight. Moments after his public mea culpas he’d be back to his crass self, wanting to know if I’d scored with my girlfriend, claiming he was going to sneak away with his latest blonde during the baptismal service.

What’s wrong with church today?

Privately, he and his dad were cynical and profane. But my childhood buddy has gone on to minister to a glittery mega-church much applauded in his denomination, a church distinguished by flash and showmanship and big attendance numbers – very much in the footsteps of his late father.

A few weeks ago, my friend’s son took his own life. It didn’t make the headlines like another mega-church preacher’s son’s suicide out in California.

But I wish I had taken time with my friend’s boy. I wondered if he was ever exposed to the true gospel of Christ’s self-denying love.

Be aware of who you are worshipping.

Basic to true worship is the reality of meeting with God. But if you want to meet with God, he sets the terms.

Psalm 24:3-5.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his heart to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully.

James 4:8.

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double minded.

Where there is insincerity, dishonesty and deception, true worship is not possible. I have met too many professing Christians who love to participate in emotionally charged worship, but are dishonest and lack integrity in their dealings with others.

Stephen Charnock (a English Puritan Presbyterian clergyman)

We may be truly said to worship God, though we lack perfection; but we cannot be said to worship Him if we lack sincerity.

Be aware of who you are worshipping.

Hebrews 12:25-29.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words once more indicate the removing of what can be shaken that is, created things so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

for our God is a consuming fire.

Physical expressions of praise and worship.

Standing (Psalm33:8)

Lifting your hands (Psalm 134:2)

Clapping (Psalm 47:1)

Bowing (Psalm 95:6)

Kneeling (Philippians 2:10)

Dancing (Psalm 149:3)

Musical instruments (Psalm 33:3)

Silence (Psalm46:10)

Weeping (Nehemiah 8:10)

Laughter (Psalm126:2)

Falling prostrate (Revelation 4:10)

Singing (Ephesians 5:19)

Shouting (Psalm 47:1)

Giving (Psalm 96:8)

Worship is not just about singing songs it is a lifestyle.

Living a holy life brings praise to God


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God this is your true and proper worship.

Philippians 1:9-11.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Worship is not just about singing songs it is a lifestyle.

Confession of sin brings praise to God. Joshua 7:19-20.

Then Joshua said to Achan, My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honour him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me. Achan replied, It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done:

We praise God through our words and service.

1 Peter 4:10-11.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Worship is not just about singing songs it is a lifestyle.

Anna worshipped the Lord day and night with fasting and prayer. Luke 2:36-37.

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.

She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.

Testifying is a way of giving praise to God.

Psalm 66:16-17.

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.

Worship is not just about singing songs it is a lifestyle.

Enduring suffering brings praise to the Lord.

1 Peter 2:11-12.

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God

on the day he visits us.

Paul and Silas sang as they were in prison after been flogged and with their feet in stocks. (Acts 16:22-30)

The Jews sang the great Hallel as they were marched to the gas chambers. (Psalm 113-118 & Psalm 136)

The Christians sang as they were marched into the arena to be eaten by the lions.

John Hus sang as he was burnt at the stake.

Daniel, Shadrach Meshach & Abednego.

Praise and worship.

Matthew 2:1-2.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.

Imagine the distance that these men travelled to come and worship Jesus.

Matthew 2:9-11.

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Note that part of their worship was giving! Do we come to the King of kings to worship empty-handed?

Praise and worship.

Luke 11:29-31.

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.

For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.

The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here.

Both the Wise Men and the queen of Sheba travelled far and came with costly gifts, how different to many modern day worshippers.

Praise and worship.

1 Kings 10:10-11.

Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. Also, the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almug wood and precious stones from Ophir.

Solomon did not need the gifts and the Lord does not need your gifts, but it is a reflection of your heart and the honour you show.

Keith Green the singer song writer wrote this:

The world is sleeping in the dark,

That the church can't fight, cause it's asleep in the light,

How can you be so dead, when you've been so well fed,

Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can't even get out of bed.

Praise and worship.

Giving is a part of our worship.

Psalm 96:8.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!

Malachi 1:6-14.

A son honours his father, and a slave his master.

If I am a father, where is the honour due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me? says the Lord Almighty.

It is you priests who show contempt for my name. But you ask, How have we shown contempt for your name? By offering defiled food on my altar. But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you? By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you? Says the Lord Almighty. Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you says the Lord Almighty.

Praise and worship.

Malachi 1:6-14.

Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you, says the Lord Almighty, and I will accept no offering from your hands.

My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord Almighty.

But you profane it by saying, The Lord’s table is defiled, and, Its food is contemptible. And you say, What a burden! and you sniff at it contemptuously, says the Lord Almighty. When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands? says the Lord.

Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord.

For I am a great king, says the Lord Almighty,

and my name is to be feared among the nations.

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