We are in a series titled “Called Out.” It comes from the Greek word for the Church, Ecclesiae, which means “the Called-Out ones.”1
We are called out from the world to be set apart for Christ.
One of the things that sets us apart is that we worship the One True God.
Worship is the space we create to encounter God.
God is always available to us, and yet so often we fail to connect with Him.
Worship is about God, not me.
Worship shouldn’t just take place at church, and it’s about what God wants.
This week, we are talking about corporate worship—worshipping together as the body of Christ.
Our goal in this series is to actually take a look and see what the Bible says.
Why do I have to come to corporate worship?
God is seeking for a people to be His people.
Meeting together is what they did in the Old Testament, and it’s what they did in the New Testament.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) 24Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
(zaw-mar’): To make music. To celebrate in song and music. To touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument.
Psalm 144:9 (NLT) I will sing a new song to you, O God! I will sing your praises [zamar] with a ten-stringed harp.
Praise and worship music can be a powerful tool to draw us into personal worship with God.
Music is incredibly powerful. In scripture, we see it pave the way for the Holy Spirit’s coming.
Some of the most well-known passages of scripture are from the Psalms. They are songs.
(baw-rak’): To kneel. To bless God (in an act of adoration). To praise. To salute. To thank.
It’s used in the Psalms alone 289 times. It describes worshippers falling on their faces before God in reverence, adoration, and thanks.
If there is a standard posture for worship in the Old Testament, it’s bowing.
Sometimes this has to do with a physical bowing, but it always has to do with the posture of our heart towards God.
Hebrews 12:28 (NIV) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe .
There are many ways that we can show reverence and awe. But here’s what it isn’t:
Coming in late because I didn’t prioritize my time.
Leaving service early to save a few minutes at Children’s Check-Out or the parking lot.
Checking social media or fantasy sports scores during service.
The question is, do I come ready and expectant, or do I come self-focused?
God is our Heavenly Father and a good, good Father. But He is also the Creator and King of the Universe.
The Bible says Jesus is a friend closer than a brother. But He is also the Savior of the world and the One who sacrificed His life for us.
(yah-daw’): To revere or worship with extended hands. To hold out hands. To throw a stone or arrow.
It’s found in scripture 111 times. In the context of praise, it describes the times when the Hebrew people were so overcome by the glory of God that their hands shot upward in response to Him.
There’s perhaps no greater expression of excitement, wonder, or elation than raising our hands.
It’s almost a primal instinct and both transcends time and culture.
Psalm 145:10 (NIV) All your works praise [yadaw] you, Lord; your faithful people extol you.
Our expression of worship oftentimes affects and reflects our heart toward God.
(shaw-bakh’): To address in a loud tone. To shout. To commend, glory and triumph.
Quite literally, it means to raise a holy roar.
(haw-lal’): To boast. To rave. To shine. To celebrate. To be clamorously foolish.
Psalm 149:3 (NIV) Let them praise [halal] his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
The primary Hebrew word for praise. It’s the word from which we hallelujah.
The final verse of the Psalms says:
Psalm 150:6 (NIV) Let everything that has breath praise [halal] the Lord. Praise the Lord.
(To-daw’): An extension of the hand. Thanksgiving. A confession. A sacrifice of praise. Thanksgiving for things not yet received.
Psalm 56:10-12 (NLT) 10I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. 11I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks [towdah] for your help.
The context for David writing this is he had been captured by his mortal enemies the Philistines.
David was saying, “When my circumstances look the worst, when I’m most fearful, that’s when I’ll praise you. That’s when I’ll lift my voice in worship.”
Psalm 22:3 (NLT) Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
The KJV says God inhabits the praises of his people.
Our preparation for worship has far more to do with what we experience than the quality of the speaker, or the band, or the volume of the music.
Do you prepare yourself for worship each weekend you attend? Preparation can look like:
Are you coming with a heart of reverence towards God?
Are you coming expecting that you are going to meet God in a deep, meaningful way?
Psalm 27:6-8 (NLT) 6Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music. 7Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! 8My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
God wants us to speak with Him and to engage in worship. It’s our role to respond.
Worship changes our perspective—of our situation, of our relationships, of ourselves, and of God.
Worship is the one thing we can give God that He hasn’t given us first.
When we worship together, we encourage each other.
It also shows those around us what we believe about the God we serve.
Passages to consider: Hebrews 10:19-25; Colossians 3:16-17; Psalm 150
What about the sermon was impactful to you?
1. Take a look at Hebrews 10:19-25. What does this passage show you about worshiping and following God together? (You might look at the words “we” and “let us.”)
2. How has being a part of a group of people who love the Lord and worship Him helped you in your relationship with God?
3. Look at Colossians 3:15-17. What does this passage describe about ways to worship God together?
4. What part can you play as a member of the body of Christ in worshipping God together? A) What would it take for you to increase your own participation in the corporate worship setting?
5. What does it mean for you to come prepared to participate with the body of believers when they gather to worship the Lord? Share specific ways you do or want to try.
Next week: Called Out to Worship in Real Life (Week 4): The Impact of Worship
Passages to prepare: Ephesians 5:15-20; 1 Peter 3:15,16
1Definitions of Greek and Hebrew words can be found using Strong’s Concordance and HELPS Word-studies at BibleHub.com.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.