Heart Of Worship
7 Therefore do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
In the song “The Heart of Worship,” Matt Redman sings, “I’ll bring You more than a song, for a song in itself is not what You have required. You search much deeper within, through the way things appear; You’re looking into my heart.” Worship is so much more than singing a song, the style of music, or our even own preferences, it’s about our heart-attitude before God. Redman continues to sing, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.”
This afternoon, as we seek to understand the purpose of worship by looking at two nearly identical passages of Scripture, we’re going to discover that there are many different facets and elements to worship, but they all serve to honor and glorify God, and also edify others. Therefore, when we come into God’s house for worship, “self” should be the last thing on our mind and heart. Hopefully, by the time this message is over, we’ll be able to declare of worship as Matt Redman, “I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it; when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.”
In verse 17, we’re told that we need to “understand what the will of the Lord is” concerning worship. In verse 18, we’re commanded to be filled with the Spirit. “To be ‘filled with the Spirit’ means to be constantly controlled by the Spirit in our mind, emotions, and will, and so it must be in our worship, we must be guided by the Holy Spirit. I believe these verses speak to us concerning advance preparation in worship. Submitting to the Spirit takes willingness on our part, which stems from a desire to be ready to enter the throne room of God.
In seeking to be prepared for worship, we must first understand what the Lord requires. In John 4:23-24, Jesus said…
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Jesus meant that those who worship Him should do so with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) and by “truth,” Jesus meant that He wanted His followers to sincerely desire fellowship with Him.
In John 4:23, the word ‘seeking’ is zeteo in the Greek. It could be compared to carrying the same tone as ‘require’ or ‘demand.’ What does this mean? Our Father is requiring or demanding us to worship Him in spirit and truth.” This means that when we come to church and attend the service, worship has more to do with God than us. When we enter a worship service, the question in our minds and hearts should always be, what can I give today in worship through my singing, listening and participation that will be pleasing to the Lord?
Our singing is to be done “primarily” for edifying and exalting God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Verse 20 speaks of “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father.” So, how do we lift up our thanksgiving unto God? We can do so through songs of thanksgiving, but we can also express our gratitude through “prayer.” In Philippians 4:6, Paul said…
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
So, in addition to singing, prayer is a vital element as we seek to worship the Lord in Spirit and truth. Verse 21 speaks of “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” This verse speaks about our attitude toward others whenever we meet for worship, demonstrating acceptance, humility, love and respect. The early church was a church where men honored and respected each other. Paul gives the reason for this mutual honor and respect… it was because they reverenced Christ. They saw each other not in the light of their trades or their professions or their social standing, they saw men in the light of Christ . . . and mutual respect and honor were easy.
In respecting others they were reverencing Christ; meaning that Jesus was the center of their worship and the motivation for their behavior. Once again, I want to point out that worship is all about God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord must be the star player when we come into the church for worship on Sunday morning.
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
We left our last passage looking at being considerate toward others when we come together for worship; and here, in verses 12-14, we see a similar admonition. In preparing our heart for corporate worship we must demonstrate mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance and forgiveness toward one another. The most important quality of all is love. When love rules in our lives, it unites all these spiritual virtues so that there is beauty and harmony, indicating spiritual maturity.
According to verse 15, we will be unable to consider the needs of others unless we are governed by the peace of God, “If we have peace in our hearts, we will be at peace with others in the church . . . [and] when there is peace in the heart, there will be praise on the lips.”
Verse 16 speaks of the need to stir the intellect in worship, saying we must be certain to allow the word of Christ to dwell in us through “teaching the Word” and “admonishing one another through song.” So, let’s look at teaching the Word, or rather, the proclamation of the Scripture in worship.
The preaching of the Word is a vital element in worship, however, there is a danger today, as there was in Paul’s day, that local churches minimize the Word of God. There seems to be a lack of [clear] teaching in Sunday School classes and pulpits. Far more interest is shown in movies, musical performances, and various entertainments than in God’s Word.” Often the lack of deep teaching is done with the goal of reaching the unchurched… however, we should never dilute biblical teachings for the sake of the unchurched.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit miraculously translated the message into words each person understood . . . This ability to understand caused them to be converted. Even though God’s presence was evident in the service, they wouldn’t have known what to do if they hadn’t been able to understand the message. In a worship service, the unchurched are not asking for a watered-down message – they expect to hear the Bible when they come to church.
Now, let’s not forget that verse 16 also speaks of the need to stir the intellect by “admonishing one another through song,” not just through preaching and teaching. When we earlier looked at Ephesians 5:19, the only thing I discussed is how our singing is to be directed both “to one another” and “to the Lord.” I intentionally held back from speaking about the styles of music mentioned, so we could look at them in more detail here in Colossians 3:16. We’re told that we should be “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”
There are basically three styles of music mentioned here; psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, revealing the need for variety in our music. Jesus only gave two requirements for legitimate worship: ‘God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24).”
In Psalm 150:3-6, we read…
3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!
4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Finally, we come to verse 17, which speaks of our attitude for worship: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” When we enter the service for worship, we must realize that we’re supposed to be giving it all to the Lord. We must not forget that…the direction of worship is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to Him. Worship is expressing our love to God for who He is, what He’s said, what He’s doing and what He has done!
So, as we seek to worship on purpose, there are a few things we should be doing: 1) We need to prepare ourselves in advance for worship; 2) as we sing, we must think about edifying others through a joyful attitude; 3) we should also have it in our heart to exalt the name of Jesus Christ as we sing; 4) when we sing and pray, we need to make certain that we express thanksgiving unto God; 5) whenever we meet together for worship, we must demonstrate love and respect toward others; 6) the worship service must also include deep and clear teaching; 7) our songs must be comprised of a variety of musical styles; and 8) as we worship the Lord, let’s be sure to give it all to Him.
Jesus said, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:24). So, who are these individuals who will worship God in spirit and truth? In Philippians 3:3, Paul said, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit [and] rejoice in Christ Jesus.” The circumcision are the chosen of God; or as Paul said, those who “rejoice in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, if you wish to worship God both here and forever in eternity, then you must know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Pastor Richard Santos
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