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Saturday, March 22, 2014

What does the Bible say about WORSHIP?

         First, we will look at the different words that are translated worship in the Bible. (KJV) I will also be using the Strong's concordance for the definitions.  Following this will be some acccounts of worship from the New Testament and Old Testament.  Finally some additional principles will be looked at briefly. 

Old Testament:

H7812 – (used 171 times) shachah—Translated as “bowed [down] himself[themselves][himself][herself][ourself]” “worship[ed]” “bow down”  “made obeisance” “bow down ourselves” “did obeisance” “bow down thyself” “fell flat” “crouch” “did reverence” “humbly beseech” “fall down” “stoop”  BY FAR THE MOST COMMON

H5457 – (used 17 times in Daniel)sgid (segeed) [Aramaic]—From the root word (H5456 (4 times in Isaiah)sâgad{saw-gad'}meaning; to prostrate onself)  Translated as “worshipping” “worship” “worshippeth” “” …etc… Exclusively used in the book of Daniel

H6087 –(used 17 times)– atsab – Translated as “grieved” “displeased” “sorry”…etc

New Testament:

G4352 - proskuneō -(used 60 times) Translated as “worship[ed][ing]” (to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): - worship.)

G4576 – sebomai –(used 10 times) Translated as “worship” “religious” “devout [persons]” (presentation; concretely an oblation (bloodless) or sacrifice: - offering (up).) 

G1391 – doxa – (used 168 times) Translated as “glory[ious]” “honour” “praise” “dignities [2 Peter 2:10: Jude 1:8]” (From the base of G1380; glory (as very apparent), in a wide application (literally or figuratively, objectively or subjectively): - dignity, glory (-ious), honour, praise, worship.)

G3000 - latreuō - (used 21 times)Translated as “serve” “worship[ed][ers]” (From λάτρις latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), that is, render religious homage: - serve, do the service, worship (-per).)

G2151 - eusebeō - Translated only twice as “worship[Acts 17:23]” “to shew piety [1 Timothy 5:4]” (From G2152; to be pious, that is, (towards God) to worship, or (towards parents) to respect (support): - show piety, worship.)

G1479 - ethelothrēskeia – Translated as “worship” only once in Colossians 2:23 (From G2309 and G2356; voluntary (arbitrary and unwarranted) piety, that is, sanctimony: - will worship.)

          The main thrust of worship as defined in the Bible is the bowing down, either physically or (always) spiritually.    

A few references: H7812

Gen. 22:5; 24:26, 48, 52
Ex. 4:31
2 Chron. 20:18

True worship involves bowing down in complete humility and lifting up the Lord, abasing self and exalting the Lord.  Worship is the proper heart response of the believer to who God is; followed with the outward expression of praise, adoration, and honor to God, the joy in knowing God of our salvation (Habakkuk 3:18), and in awe and fear of God's infinite power.  Yes, worship does involve feelings at times, but not exclusively.  

Examples/Elements of Worship as revealed in the Old Testament

--Complete Obedience (Account of Abraham offering Isaac-Genesis 22) {H7812}

--Fear and reverence (First act of Noah after getting off the Ark-Genesis 8:20) 

--Humility (Account of Job-Job 1:20-21) {H7812}

--A command for Holy worship (1 Chron. 16:29; Psalm 29:2) {H7812}

Let's look at these passages a little closer.  In Genesis chapter 22, God commands Abraham to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering unto the Lord.  Every father has a love for their child that is beyond compare and it is unimaginable the feeling of emotional torment when the Lord gave this command to Abraham.  True worship is far from the mere feelings of our flesh, but this is a trend going on in today’s worship scene and right away can be classified as unbiblical. In this passage in Genesis, we can see that true worship is absolutely void of Abraham’s feelings.  Many Christians may associate worship with whether or not they feel like they are worshipping the Lord.  Verse 5 in this chapter tells us that Abraham associated sacrifice with worship.  Abraham was like any other human being and I’m sure that he had all types of things going through his mind on the way to Moriah.  Abraham yielded everything he had, including his feelings, to worship and submitted his only son to his God.  Worship is far from feeling like it is worship.  Complete obedience to the Lord is worship.  

Earlier in the book of Genesis is the account of the great flood that destroyed all the earth and everything in it, except for Noah and his family.  There was nothing left on the face of the earth.  All the friends Noah had, the industries he was involved in and the different cities of the world, were gone.  All Noah had when he finally came out of the ark was his family.  In chapter 8 verse 20, it says “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD;” There was nothing left on this earth and instead of finding shelter or food or ways to restart life on earth, Noah chose to worship God.  Noah saw that God destroyed everything upon the earth and therefore was fearful.  Noah had never ever seen rain before the flood and just by using water, he saw that the almighty and powerful God could destroy everything.  Noah was fearful of God and worshipped God with fear.There is another account of worship in the Old Testament.  The Lord gives permission to Satan to take away all of Job’s possessions, his sons and daughters, servants and cattle.  Later on, Job’s wife turns against him also and tells him to curse God and die.  Verse 20 is probably one of the greatest attitudes and expressions of reverent humility to the Lord.  All of Job’s belongings and all of his life’s work had been taken away and yet Job “…fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,…”  Job completely submitted himself and his life to the will of the Lord.  Complete submission to the Lord is worship.  

Examples/Elements of Worship as revealed in the New Testament

--Fearful worship (Man with unclean spirit-Mark 5:6) {G4352}

--Sacrificial worship (Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet-Luke 10:39)

--A command to serve/worship (Hebrews 12:28; Acts 7:42) {G3000}

-- Spiritual and Truthful worship (John 4:24) {G4352}

The example of Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet to listen to what he had to say is a powerful example of humility in action.  Also in this account, Mary washed the Lord’s feet with perfume.  This wasn’t just any bottle of perfume, but was very expensive.  John 12:5 tells us 300 pence worth, or a years salary in that time.  This form of worship involved both sacrifice and humility.  Mary not only wanted to sit and listen to Jesus, but also give all she could.  In the gospel of Mark chapter 5 is the account of the man with the unclean spirit.  When Jesus walks off the boat, a man that was living in a cemetery ran up and worshipped, or prostrated himself to the Lord.  The word "worshipped"(G4352) is only used in Mark’s account, but in Luke, the Bible says that he "...fell down before...", using a similar Greek word. (G4363) This man prostrated himself to the Lord in awe and reverence.  The passage referenced above in Hebrews and the Gospel of John are commands to the believer.  The Greek words that are used in the command in John actually have the connotation of a necessity and continuation of worship in Spirit and in truth.

 Among the various accounts of how worship was conducted throughout the Bible and the principles that can be gleaned from both the New Testament and Old Testaments, there are also important principles for worship found in the N.T.  In Hebrews 10:19-22, we see that the Lord sets forth prerequisites for heart worship.


The first principle: Hebrews 10:19 – Boldness in our approach

Hebrews 10:19 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”

Hebrews 10:20 “By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;”

          This boldness does not necessarily refer to singing in front of people or to public worship expressions, in general.  There is a boldness (or confidence) in approaching God, confidence to know that a person is right before God and that all sin is confessed at that time.  God does not regard a believer when there isknown sin in their life.  Isaiah 59:2 states clearly that that our iniquities have separated the believer from God and that he will not hear.


The second principle: Hebrews 10:21 – Confidence in God

Hebrews 10:21 “And having an high priest over the house of God;”

Hebrews 10:22a “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,”

           It is only by God's unending grace that believers have the privilege to approach such a God.  This verse reminds believers that God is our high priest and that it is God is the One that makes atonement for the believer.  All throughout scripture, it is clear that the flesh is evil and that no good things dwells within.  Romans 7:18 is Paul's declaration of this fact and that context is clear about the struggles of the Christian life.  We are not even remotely good enough to approach God.  God is the only way that it is possible for us to approach him.  


The final principle: Hebrews 10:22b. – A pure heart

“…having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”  (“evil”=diseased)

          This principle is somewhat close in meaning of the first first principle in this section.  Comparing this verse to Jeremiah 17:9, the believer can know that our heart is evil, or diseased.  In fact, the english words "desperately wicked" in this verse can quite literally be translated, incurably sick.  God is the only one that can cleanse the wicked heart of the believer and therefore has made it possible, only by His grace, for the believer to approach Him.  

"Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness."  Psalm 29:2

Saturday, March 1, 2014

We Sing Junk

Part 9 of RELIGIOUSAFFECTIONS.ORG blog series The Tozer Collection: Worship Music

We Sing Junk

Compare the Christian reading matter and you’ll know that we’re in pretty much the same situation. The Germans, the Scots, the Irish, the Welsh, the English, the Americans and the Canadians all have a common Protestant heritage. And what did they read, these Protestant forebears of yours and mine? Well, they read Doddridge’s The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. They read Taylor’s Holy Living and Dying. They read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Holy War. They read Milton’s Paradise Lost. They read the sermons of John Flavel.

And I blush today to think about the religious fodder that is now being handed out to children. There was a day when they sat around as the fire crackled in the hearth and listened to a serious but kindly old grandfather read Pilgrim’s Progress, and the young Canadian and the young American grew up knowing all about Mr. Facing-Both-Ways and all the rest of that gang. And now we read cheap junk that ought to be shoveled out and gotten rid of.

Then I think about the songs that are sung now in so many places. Ah, the roster of the sweet singers! There’s Watts, who wrote “Oh, God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and Zinzendorf, who wrote so many great hymns. And then there was Wesley, who’s written so many. There was Newton and there was Cooper, who wrote “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood,” and Montgomery and the two Bernards—Bernard of Cluny and Bernard of Clairvaux. There was Paul Gerhardt and Tersteegen, there was Luther and Kelly, Addison and Toplady, Senic and Doddridge, Tate and Brady and the Scottish Psalter. And there was a company of others that weren’t as big as these great stars, but taken together they made a Milky Way that circled the Protestant sky.

I have an old Methodist hymnal that rolled off the press 111 years ago and I found forty-nine hymns on the attributes of God in it. I have heard it said that we shouldn’t sing hymns with so much theology because peoples minds are different now. We think differently now. Did you know that those Methodist hymns were sung mostly by uneducated people? They were farmers and sheep herders and cattle ranchers, coal miners and blacksmiths, carpenters and cotton pickers—plain people all over this continent. They sang those songs. There are over 1,100 hymns in that hymnbook of mine and there isn’t a cheap one in the whole bunch.

And nowadays, I won’t even talk about some of the terrible junk that we sing. They have a little one that is sung to the tune of “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight,” which goes like this:

One, two, three, the devil’s after me,

Four, five, six, he’s always throwing bricks,

Seven, eight, nine, he misses me every time,

Hallelujah, Amen.

And the dear saints of God sing that now! Our fathers sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and we sing junk.

This tragic and frightening decline in the spiritual state of the churches has come about as a result of our forgetting what kind of God God is.

— The Attributes of God