Worship 101 Part 1

Worship 101 

    When I was growing up music always filled the atmosphere of the house. And most often it was the kind of music that glorified Jesus Christ. This music had a way of ushering me into the presence of God and it wasn’t long before I learned how to worship. This is why I always found it so sad when Christians reduced music in worship down to a debate or argument, because the joy of the genuine should not be neglected in an attempt to avoid the counterfeit. Apparently Ellen White thought so when she wrote in 1898, “Let the talent of singing be brought into the work. The use of musical instruments is not at all objectionable. They were used in religious services in ancient times. The worshipers praised God upon the harp and cymbal, and music should have its place in our services. It will add to the interest.”—Letter 132, 1898. 

    In John chapter 4, at Jacob’s well, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that God is seeking true worshipers that will worship Him in spirit and in truth. So how do we get there? How do we go from just going through the motions to becoming true worshipers of Jesus Christ? Today, Jesus will show us the principles necessary for us to experience true worship in Isaiah 6:1-8.

    Immediately the story unfolds in verse 1, saying, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne…” So just to give you a quick background to King Uzziah. King Uzziah was a good king, who toward the end of his reign, was lifted up in his pride and God judged him with lepersy, which he had until the day he died. And when you read the books of Kings & Chronicles, whenever a king died, there was mourning, but also a level of anxiety. There was uncertainty. Would the next king follow in the ways of the Lord? Would they oppress the people? It was in this season of grief and anxiety that Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne…” When life seemed uncertain, God showed him what was certain. When things seemed out of control, God showed Him Who was in control. Do you see it? When the king died, God gave Isaiah a vision of the true King! God is saying to you, when things seem out of control, uncertain or about to cause you anxiety, that is when I need you to change your perspective! That is when I need to lift your gaze! That is the time to worship. Isaiah continues to give us the details of this worship encounter in verse 1…

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
— Isaiah 6:1-4 NKJV

You see, the first principle Jesus wants you to know is that…

True worship happens when you get a vision of God’s glory

    So often when we think of the glory of God we think of His power and majesty. However, in the bible the glory of God has a much deeper and richer meaning. We see this very clearly in the experience of Moses with God in Exodus 33 & 34. Moses is craving the promise of God’s presence to go with the people into Canaan and in a moment of sheer radical boldness, Moses askes to see God’s glory. So in chapter 34, God places him in the cleft of a rock, and yes, Moses sees God’s back, but thats not the main thing God wants him to see. In answer to Moses’ request to see His glory, God begins to declare His name or character to him. He says, “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation. Then the apostle John comes around and takes everything that God just described to Moses about His character and sums it up into one word in 1st John 4:8, “God is love.” You see everything that we see in scripture that reveals what God is like is the outshining of this one central truth. God is love. This is the glory of God! This is what the life of Jesus and His death on the cross reveals to the universe! And when you start to get a glimpse of this overwhelmingly powerful, selfless, giving love it moves ours hearts to respond…in Worship.

    Can you hear the angels crying out, every time they see an aspect of the glory of God revealed throughout the earth they say, “Holy Holy Holy. This worship scene is carrying us into the Heavenly Sanctuary and is reminding us of the experience of the priests who could no longer minister in the earthly sanctuary because the glory of God, enshrouded in a cloud, filled the Lord’s house. This is what verse 4 is alluding to. This was to let them know that the holy God of love was with His people. And this is what God is wanting you to know right now.

    You see, your private worship informs your public worship! In your daily devotional life in Christ, as you journey through scripture, fix your eyes on the character of God, especially as it is revealed in Jesus and your private worship will naturally flow into the overflow of your public worship!