Series on WORSHIP AND PRAISE
(Message I of V)
by J. Spender (June 1st, 1997)
This series of messages was delivered in 1997, United States of America.
Permission to transcribe and to distribute these messages had been obtained from
the speaker who retains all rights to these messages.
You can e-mail the speaker at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good morning. Nice to be with you here in Cheshire for these 4 weeks and to take up a study that I hope you’ll find interesting and helpful and encouraging in your Christian life. One that I love, and one that I love to teach about, and we’re passing out a little outline right now. When you get that, just fold it up and put it into your Bible because we’re going to use that for all 4 weeks so that you’ll know where we’re at. And on the back, you’ll see that there is a little chart … one of these weeks we’re going to get to fill that in and hopefully we can learn some things about WORSHIP and PRAISE that will be new and encouraging.
Open your Bible, if you would, to Psalm 150:6, the last verse in the book of psalms,
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
or, “YOU (!) praise the LORD”.
Let’s turn to Matthew 4, and we’ll just read verse 10,
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written,
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Notice … Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
So, here are two good Bible verses then that tell us that WORSHIP and PRAISE are important. And that’s our subject for the coming month … WORSHIP and PRAISE. And if you have that little outline there, you’ll notice that there are 7 points. We’re going to make some good speed this morning, because I’m hoping to cover the first 4 points, and then one in each of the coming messages.
So let’s just take a moment and commit this time to the Lord.
Dear Heavenly Father, we’re thankful for an open Bible this morning. We have open hearts. We have Thy Holy Spirit to be our Teacher, and we pray, Lord, that this morning we’ll hear His voice speaking through the word. Help us, instruct us, encourage us, admonish us if we need it. And may this hour result in glory for Thee, and blessing to us. We ask it giving thanks in the Lord Jesus’ Name. Amen.
POINT 1 … THE IMPORTANCE OF WORSHIP AND PRAISE
Now you can notice that the first point I’d like to cover this morning is THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT and I’d to talk with you briefly about 5 reasons why we should devote ourselves to a study like this. And I’d be quick because I’d like to get on to that last point, point 4 for today.
Reason No. 1 … Worship and Praise are Important
The first reason is, I’ve already mentioned, these are important concepts, important words : WORSHIP and PRAISE. Now, they’re important in the Bible and they’re also important to God. In Psalm 50:23 the Lord says:
whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me.
Psalm 50:23 … whoso (or whoever) offers praise, glorifies me.
And in John 4:23, the Lord Jesus says,
But the hour cometh, and now is,
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; …
now notice what He says
… for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
In Luke 19:10, we read
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Now if somebody come up to you and asks you what it is that the Lord Jesus is looking for today … He’s looking for lost people! He’s come to seek and to save that which was lost. That’s what it says. So Jesus is looking for lost people.
Somebody says, What is the Father looking for? You can tell them that John 4:23 says He is seeking worshippers, and not just any worshipper, but TRUE worshippers!
You know, the fact that the Bible mentions “true worshippers” tells us that there is FALSE WORSHIP. We know that. And during the coming month, we’re going to look at the difference between true and false worship.
So the first reason why we should devote ourselves to this good study is because these words are important to God and they’re important Bible words.
Reason No. 2 … A Growing Confusion on the Subject
Now, the second reason is that there is a growing confusion in Christendom today on the subject. Christendom … I use the word to mean all loosely professing “Christians”, many of whom we really wonder where they stand with the Lord. We’re not to judge them but we’ll just use that term “Christendom”.
As far as the word WORSHIP, there is a growing confusion in the world today. One thing we note is the word WORSHIP is often used to describe everything that happens in a building with a steeple on it. “Come and worship with us” can mean just about anything that’s religious. Well, the Bible does not use the word that way. It uses it in a more specific thought.
And another confusing thing is many times we hear the word WORSHIP, it is associated with a lot of clamor … a lot of noise and clamor and dancing and all the rest of it. And you really wonder if this is what God has in mind when He says that He’s seeking true worshippers. So we need to look into the Scriptures and devote ourselves to some study and get some answers from the Lord.
Reason No. 3 … An Imbalance
The third reason we should devote ourselves to this study is that there has been at times in our Christian life, such as when we meet in here, an IMBALANCE. What do I mean by an IMBALANCE? Well, sometimes we put a lot of emphasis on WORSHIP. We have talked about worship being the central meeting of the assembly, and the central thing in a Christian’s life and so on and on and on, but we have neglected to talk about PRAISE. And the Bible talks a lot about the importance of praising the Lord. And, some people, you know, they react against that and they say, “Well I’m going to go and find some place where all we do is praise.” And of course that causes a problem too. So we need to look into the scriptures and see what a good balance is …. the place for PRAISE and WORSHIP in your life as a Christian and in the life of the church, God’s people together.
Reason No. 4 … The Subject Touches on Feelings and Emotions
Another reason for a study like this is the subject touches on the feelings and the emotions of people. Now you know, if I were to stand up here and talk to you about a subject that was very intellectual and only intellectual, some people would say it was “dry”. And as long as you don’t touch people’s emotions you could say just about anything, because a lot of people today take the view, “Well, doctrine … that’s irrelevant.” And that’s a sad view, isn’t it? Doctrine isn’t irrelevant.
But when you begin to talk about people’s feelings and their emotions, and what they have in their heart here, people get very into that. You know, as the family breaks down, and society allows that family to just fall apart in our day and age, what happens? People gravitate toward the church, looking for a family. Looking for stability. Looking for a moment there to meet their emotional needs, those voids and empty niches of their hearts that were never met at home.
And, more and more, the church is under pressure today to be a place that is bowling out, shall we say, emotional pats on the back, and some people have the attitude, “Well, if I go to a certain church, and if they don’t love me, and make a big oooh and aaah over me, and greet me right, and all the rest, I’ll leave.”
And less and less people today are able to be care-givers and servants. So many are so emotionally needy, and this subject touches on that because we talk about worshipping and esp. praising God, and many people have strong ideas about what that means. And so we need to look into the scriptures.
Reason no. 5 … Worship and Praise Involve GIVING TO GOD
Now, no. 5, and I hope this one is dear to all our hearts. Final reason for why we should devote ourselves to a study like is that if you think of it, both the words WORSHIP and PRAISE involve GIVING TO GOD.
And we live in a self-centered society today. And this is the ME-generation. “What’s in it for ME?” And it is good to talk about a subject that teaches us how to give to somebody else, esp. when that somebody else is the LORD!
So, GIVING worship and GIVING praise TO GOD may be the first lesson in the Christian life about learning to give! Before you were saved, “What’s in it for me? That’s how I evaluate everything in life.” But then you come to know the Lord, and now the Bible says, “You have to think a different way now. You’re a Christian.” You have to start asking, “What’s in it for the Lord? What’s in it for others?” And this is a good subject to consider about that.
So these are 5 reasons, not the only reasons, but these are 5 good reasons why we should study a subject like that this month.
POINT 2 … SOME PRESUPPOSITIONS
Just a quick word about some presuppositions, some things to keep in mind as we go through the study. I want to mention 4 of them quickly to you.
No. 1, we’re going to use the Bible as the authority. I’m not going to speak to you from tradition. I’m not going to speak about any denominational position. I’m not going to speak to you at all about what is popular today, because some things we talk about may not be that popular. I’m going to use the word of God as my authority. So if you’re in this subject, you really have to start to ask, What’s the authority for the answers to these questions I’m seeking?” We’re going to use scriptures, God’s word.
Secondly, my goal in this series is not primarily academic. I’m not interested in people going home saying, “You know, I’m really knowledgeable now about this subject. I’ve all these words, phrases and all the rest in my note book.” My main concern is to bless us in our private lives and bless us in our corporate collective life in the assembly. So it’s a practical goal that I have, more than just putting facts in our heads.
No. 3, I’m going to quote from time to time from this little book by A.P. Gibbs called WORSHIP : THE CHRISTIAN’S HIGHEST OCCUPATION. I know some of you had been working your way through this book. I know that papers have circulated around with quotes. That’s all right. You can have a little rest while I read a few things. But for some, it may be new. This book is still in print.
No. 4, I use the King James Bible as you know. But many of you use other translations and that’s fine. They all work equally well. So, use whatever you’re comfortable with. I just say that because I’m going to give you some occurrences of the words and you may count it up in your Bible and you’re going to say, “It’s different in mine.” Well, we’ll call it “roughly”. But in my Bible I’ll give you the occurrences of the words.
POINT 3 … SOME DEFINITIONS AND USAGES
Now, I just want to say a word of exhortation here to begin with. You know, true doctrine, true teaching, true Bible teaching has to rest on good interpretation of scripture. And when we get to the end of our study, esp. in the last two lessons, we’re going to be talking about a lot of practical things. I’m going to make some suggestions about ways we can encourage WORSHIP and PRAISE in the assembly and in your personal life. And you will not have a good solid feeling about those suggestions if you are at all shaky on what we believe the Bible says about WORSHIP and PRAISE. And so I think that it’s important that we lay a good foundation then.
To lay a good foundation, we have to look at scripture and say, “What does the Bible teach us about these words? How often do they appear? And what do they really mean?”
When we lay a little doctrinal foundation, we’ll be much better shaped to draw our conclusions. Now I’m going to make this as painless as I possibly can. Some of you are not interested in the statistics as to how many times words occur, and I understand that. So you can close … no, you better not close your eyes, but just rest. And for those of you who are word-study students, I’ll try to make this as brief and as clear as I can. But we want to take a look at these two words WORSHIP and PRAISE and their use in the Bible.
From the Dictionary …
First of all, let’s back up a step and ask what the dictionary would give as a definition. The dictionary says,
WORSHIP is the adoration, or homage, given to deity.
The dictionary says that
PRAISE is to express approval or commendation.
You notice something in those dictionary definitions? They’re right. You never worship your kids, or your friends (hopefully). But you may praise them or commend them.
So right there is a little difference. You might use the word PRAISE for other people, but WORSHIP is a word we use for deity, for God.
From A.P. Gibbs …
We read a little quote for you out of A.P Gibbs’ book on the meaning of WORSHIP. It’s a bit lengthy. Just sit back and enjoy it. I’ll try to read it clearly. What he’s doing is he’s bringing out the difference between the idea of WORSHIP and PRAISE. He says,
PRAYER is the occupation of the soul with its needs;
PRAISE is the occupation of the soul with its blessings; and
WORSHIP is the occupation of the soul with God Himself.
Prayer and praise may be mingled in worship and included in the general thought, but properly speaking, each in itself does not constitute worship.
“Lord, save my soul” is PRAYER.
“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul” is PRAISE.
“Thank you, Lord, for what Thou art” is WORSHIP.
Perhaps an illustration may help to make this distinction a little clearer.
Let us suppose a person who cannot swim falls into a river.
As he struggles in vain to save himself and realizes how hopeless his case is, he cries from the depths of his heart, “Help! Help! Save me! Save me!” This is prayer.
No convicted sinner needs to be taught how to pray. An old puritan commentary on Psalm 107 where sinners in their extremity are described as crying to God for deliverance was “Misery wonderfully indoctrinates a person in the art of prayer.”
In response to this drowning person’s cries for help a well-dressed gentleman suddenly appears. Without a moment’s hesitation he plunges into the river and at the risk of his own life brings him safely to shore. The response of the saved man is immediate … he overwhelms his rescuer with praise, and exclaims, “How can I ever express my gratitude to you for your brave act in saving my life? Thank you again and again.”
Surely this illustrates what takes place when a sinner is brought to realize that Christ the Son of God, by His substitutionary work on Calvary, has made possible his salvation from sin’s penalty. Upon his acceptance of Christ as his own Savior, he is assured from God’s own word that he is saved. This fills his soul with joy and his lips with songs of praise to the One who had saved him.
But now the rescuer, after seeing the one whom he had saved safely home, turns to him and hands him his card saying, “Here is my name and address. Will you please do me the honor of coming to my home tomorrow evening at 6:30 and dine with me? In this way we can become better acquainted with each other.”
Accordingly, the following evening, the rescued man goes to the address on the card. To his astonishment he finds himself in the wealthiest part of town. Furthermore, he discovers that his rescuer’s house was the grandest of all the palatial mansions in that district. He rings the bell, and the butler appears. After giving his name, he is ushered into the drawing room. The host then appears and immediately, like the gentleman he is, puts his guest at ease. Dinner is announced and during the course of the very excellent meal the host skillfully steers the conversation so as to best entertain his guest.
When the meal is over, the guest has been charmed beyond measure of the nobility of his host’s character. He has been impressed with his kindness, intellect, hospitality, wisdom, graciousness, tact and humility of spirit. In other words, he now appreciates the moral excellence and intrinsic worth of his host’s character, entirely apart from what he has done for him as savior.
Oh, he does not forget that his host is his rescuer. Yet his gratitude for what he did for him is now exceeded by his admiration and appreciation because of what he is in himself. The more he gets to know his host, by visiting him, talking and walking with him, the greater this appreciation grows.
This will serve to explain that fine distinction which exists between praise and worship.
So, brother Gibbs had said it well in that story there, hasn’t he? And it makes us stop right here at the outset of our little study and ask ourselves if we ever really thought deeply about PRAISING the Lord and WORSHIPPING the Lord.
You know, I can tell you that I’ve sat many years at the Lord’s supper, and I was raised where we always attended the Lord’s supper every week, … I’ve sat for many years before I began to really ask, What is it exactly that we’re here to do? And we’ll talk more about that later.
Some Statistics and Definitions …
Let me give you some statistics now and we’ll do this very quickly.
First of all, the word WORSHIP. In your Old Testament (which of course is your Hebrew Bible, i.e. it has its roots in Hebrew, the Jewish language), this word occurs 146 times. There are a number of different words that go to make up this 146. The primary word is s-h-a-c-h-a-h. It occurs 99 times translated “worship” and 35 times translated “bow down”. It’s interesting if you notice the way the word is translated. If you have a concordance, look it up in the concordance. You’ll see that the word WORSHIP is just another way of saying “to bow down” or ” to bow low”. That’s interesting.
I happen to wonder one day where the most number of times we read of the word worship in the Old Testament are. It’s interesting. It’s in Daniel 3 when they were told to worship the golden calf. Very interesting. Because that’s a picture of the worship that will some day be given to the Anti-Christ. Can’t talk about it now, but some time read it in Daniel 3 … 11 times the word WORSHIP.
How about the word PRAISE in the Old Testament? Well we find it 243 times. Several different words. The primary word is h-a-l-a-l. Recognize that? It’s in the word Hallelujah. So what is “Hallelujah”? It’s “halal ye to Jehovah” (to Yah; to YHWH; to God). Halal (praise) ye the Lord. So when you are saying “hallelujah”, you are saying “Praise ye the Lord.” So we have a song Hallelujah, Praise ye the Lord … synonyms.
Now, the word WORSHIP in the Greek New Testament. 80 times. The word WORSHIP in our Greek New Testament p-r-o-s-k-u-n-e-o literally means “to kiss the hand”. Now if you’ve ever had somebody hold out their hand, we don’t usually do that today, but if somebody held out their hand, you’d notice that when you kiss their hand, you might have to raise their hand up, but you’d have to bow your head. It’s an act of adoration and homage when you kiss the hand of someone. And this word WORSHIP really has the same thought of “bowing” as the Old Testament word does.
PRAISE in the Greek New Testament 132 times. And the Greek word for praise a-i-n-e-o comes from the Greek word “to tell a tale”. You tell your kids a story. You tell them a tale about some great and wonderful thing that happened in the past. That’s the root from which PRAISE comes. So, PRAISING the Lord is “telling a tale, telling a story about the Lord’s goodness”.
All right, we’re going to leave the definitions and usages, and look up some scriptures.
POINT 4 … THE RELATIONSHIP TO THESE WORDS
Now I happen to have a computer program. Someone gave it to me. You key in the word you want to find, and it will tell you where to find it in the Bible. If you have a concordance, you can do that. But this program, if you key in several words, it will look up all the places where they occur together. And that’s something that’s very hard to do with a concordance. And one day I keyed in WORSHIP and PRAISE and it showed me all the places in the Bible where these words occur close together within a couple of verses. And then I went through them all and I looked them all up and I was very interested in what I found. There are not too many places in the Bible where WORSHIP and PRAISE occur in the same verse. There are very few places where they occur right together.
Sometimes they kind of overlap and people often say, “Let’s WORSHIP and PRAISE the Lord.” And that’s fine.
But sometimes they occur in such a way where there’s a special kind of relationship to one another, and those are the references we want to look up. There are 6 of them altogether .
a. 2 Chronicles 7
So let’s go back to the Old Testament, 2 Chronicles 7. Solomon the king had been involved in building a temple house for God, and the house was now being dedicated to the Lord, and it says …
(v.1) Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven,
and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.
(v.2) And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD,
because the glory of the Lord had filled the LORD’s house.Now notice very carefully verse 3 …
(v.3) And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down,
and the glory of the LORD upon the house,
they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped,
and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Let’s notice the order here … you get WORSHIP occurring in the bowing, and the PRAISING THE LORD in saying some good commendable things about Him. So they worshipped by bowing their faces to the ground, and they praised the Lord saying, “He is good, His mercy endureth for ever.”
b. 2 Chronicles 20
Let’s go on. 2 Chronicles 20:18. Now it’ll be good to really read the whole chapter some time and there you’d see that poor king Jehoshaphat was afraid that an army of foreigners was going to over-run his country, and he’s very much afraid and so he showed the LORD the letter that he got and the LORD sent word saying, “Don’t worry. I’m going to have the victory here. I’ll take care of you.” And after that word came, we read …
(v.18) And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground:
and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD,
worshipping the LORD.
(v.19) And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites,
stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.Notice here not only the order … there’s WORSHIP and then there’s PRAISE … but notice it says that he bowed his heads with his face to the ground and they fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD, you kind of see that the gesture there is down, a kind of humbling … a getting down low, and then there follows those who stood up and praised the LORD with a loud voice on high.
And I was interested in that when you take those 2 thoughts of WORSHIP and PRAISE as you go through the Bible, you notice that WORSHIP almost invariably involves the action of getting down. And PRAISE involves lifting up.
And it’s interesting that the Lord has used these postures for us humans who have all different postures, up and down, the Lord had used these in connection with the way we approach Him. And sometimes there’s a bowing low, and sometimes there’s a lifting up, a standing up, a lifting up of our voices and all of that.
c. 2 Chronicles 29
Let’s go on … 2 Chronicles 29:29. Here we move on to a later time in Israel’s history and the temple worship is getting restored.
(v.29) And when they had made an end of offering,
the king and all that were present with him
bowed themselves, and worshipped.
(v.30) Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites
to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer.
And they sang praises with gladness, and
they bowed their heads and worshipped.So here we see again a bowing in WORSHIP and a singing out of PRAISES.
d. Nehemiah 9
Go on to Nehemiah 9. This is many many years later now towards the end of OLD TESTAMENT history. Let’s start from verse 1. We have the scene of a revival going on.
What happens when there’s a revival among the people of God? Have you ever participated in a revival? Maybe a personal one? Or a group revival?
Let’s see, here is one of the early revivals recorded in the Bible.
(v.1) Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled
with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
(v.2) And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers,
and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.
(v.3a) And they stood up in their place, and
read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day;… boy! Imagine how that would go over today! Imagine a 6-hour sermon! How many of you would still be here? … “one fourth part of the day they read the book of the law of the LORD their God”! …
(v.3b) and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
(v.4) Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites,
Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani,
and cried with a loud voice unto the LORD their God.
(v.5) Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah,
Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said,
Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever:
and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.Now, aside from all those difficult names, the order is still in there …. very interesting … in verses 1-3 you have the fasting, the sackcloth, the sadness, and confessions of sins and sins of ancestors, the reading of the word of God, conviction presumably coming on the heart and bowing in the presence of God, and WORSHIP.
And then you have those who were leading out, standing up on the stairs, lifting up and crying out with their voices and here’s what they say to the people, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
Now I think the conclusion is growing and it has been in my heart that in many cases WORSHIP and PRAISE may be used by God’s people as synonyms, “Let’s worship and praise the Lord”. And that’s okay. To really get into the scriptures and notice some of the finer distinctions, we find that the words are not just synonyms but they have special meanings and, in fact … WORSHIP, the bowing in humility seems to come before the lifting up of one’s voice and PRAISE and so on and all the rest.
e. Psalm 138
Next one, let me just read the reference to this one. Psalm 138:2
I will worship toward thy holy temple,
and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth:
for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
f. Revelations 19
And the last one over in the book of Revelations 19:1-6. This is a scene in heaven. And you will be there some day. So will I. This scene is still future, and God’s people just got a little preview of what’s going to happen.
(v.1a) And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying Alleluia …
… And we learnt what that means .. praise ye the Lord …
(v.1b) … Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:
(v.2a) For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, …… and you see the praise going up there for what He has done …
(v.2b) … which did corrupt the earth with her fornication,
and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
(v.3) And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
(v.4) And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down
and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. (“Amen” means “Truly” or “May it be so” … “Yes, Amen, Praise ye the Lord.”)
(v.5) And a voice came out of the throne, saying,
Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
(v.6) And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude,
and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying,
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.So here we see at the end of the Bible, a scene taking place in heaven, where all those mighty numbers of redeemed people through the ages gathered together and they say, Praise the Lord. And the elders and the living creatures fall down and worship the Lord, and then this great anthem of praise goes up to the Lord.
Well, we need to tie all this up together and to draw some conclusions here at the end of our first study and I’ll try to be very brief in doing that.
I would say, it seems to me, that going through this study, WORSHIPPING has to do with a great awe, a great reverence, a great sense in our hearts of our own insignificance in God’s greatness. When you come before the Lord, I mean we don’t do that personally now today but we will some day, but when you come before the Lord, you can’t help if you’re really thinking seriously about being just overcome by how sinful and small and insignificance we are. And about how great and how mighty God is. And really, if you’re going to express that in a physical posture, I think God is much more interested that this be done in the heart. I mean, a lot of people go through all kinds of physical motions and the heart is not there at all. But really if you are going to express this in physical posture at all, the word is “to bow” … “to bow low”. In bowing, I had recognized and acknowledged that God is God and I am dust! Dust! Really!
On the other hand, PRAISE is a time when I can lift up my voice, many people lift up their hands, lift up my body, stand up on my feet, speak out with a loud voice, and tell of the great things God had done for me … all the great things He has done … period.
And it seems to me as I went through this study and pondered this material, the reason why so often in scripture WORSHIP comes before PRAISE is that I wonder how much weight PRAISE has that will not WORSHIP. I really wonder if it has that much weight before God. In other words, … none of us would have that spirit, but it does exist, … can you imagine the spirit of the attitude of the person that says, “I rejoice in the opportunity to lift myself up, to lift my voice, to lift my hand, to lift my body, to lift something up, but I will not get down and bow”? There’s a problem there. There’s a real problem there.
I think we could say it like this : the test of PRAISE is WORSHIP. And if you think of the words of our Lord, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve., and so often in the Bible, WORSHIP and SERVICE go hand in hand because who you WORSHIP, that’s who you really serve, we can say the test of WORSHIP is SERVICE.
So let’s put that all together then.
The test of PRAISE is WORSHIP.
And the test of WORSHIP is SERVICE.
Now I’m not trying to make an infallible formula here, folks. That’s not my goal. My goal is just in thinking about these things is to recognize that one of things that we learn in our study today is that the difference between TRUE WORSHIP and FALSE WORSHIP, and the difference between PRAISE THAT REALLY GLORIFIES THE LORD and PRAISE THAT’S JUST FLESHLY AND EMOTIONAL AND EXCITEMENT is found in the relationship in these two words.
Because, you see, if I had dealt with the fact that I am a sinner, and I am unworthy and God is worthy, and He is great, and I come before Him, and I just bow low, and say, “Lord, I’m so humbled at how great you are and at how insignificant I am”, the Lord will say, “Get up! You can lift yourself up. You can lift your voice. You can sing praises to me and I’ll really enjoy it.”
But to the person who comes before the Lord and says, “I like to lift up but I’m not bowing”, I think the Lord will say, “I’m going to humble you. I’m going to bring you down because you really need to know where your real place is.”
So then, to end it, whether we are in our private life or home, or whether we are in the assembly gathered together, let us appreciate both WORSHIP and PRAISE. Let us understand that they are not simply synonyms … they are both essential to a balanced Christian life and experience.
But let’s say that the test of our PRAISE to God is whether we are willing first to bow in his presence and humble ourselves before Him.
Now I’m not making a rule for you, I’m not going to do that, but I’m saying that that’s something this study has laid upon my heart. And it’s very very important. And I hope you see that relationship. Next time we go on.
Father we’re thankful this morning for Thy word which is so beautiful and so perfect. And we look forward to the day when we’ll join together with perfect voices and new bodies, and we’ll be gathered to worship and praise as we’d like to. Until that time help us now in this life to be true worshippers, to praise in a true manner, and to be active in serving the LORD, for we know that wherever our treasure is, there our heart is. We thank Thee for this time together and commit ourselves to Thee for Thy blessing in the Lord Jesus’ name. Amen.