Expressions of Worship
Worship should be the primary focus of every Christian. While there are different ways to worship God, He’s not as concerned about how we express our praise and worship, but that we continue to worship Him. Worship will be the primary focus in heaven when we see Jesus face to face. While in our earthly bodies, we are training for eternity.
Worship can be defined as “worth-ship.” The degree to which we praise and worship God is the degree of His worth to us. If there is anything that God needs from us, it’s worship. There are many expressions and styles of worship in the church and God loves them all.
Many congregations get hung up on a certain type of worship and want to stick with that style only. God doesn’t want us stuck in rut when we worship Him. He can be praised in a myriad of ways, and we should use them all. Below are some Biblical expressions of worship.
They Worshiped in Silence
We are challenged in Psalm 46:10 to “be still, and know that He is God.” At times it’s appropriate to worship God in silence. There’s something about being completely still and calm before the Lord.
At such times, we often feel a sense of awe in His presence. In Revelation 8:1 we see a scene in heaven “when the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” This was the calm before the storm. The problem is, in most churches instead of silent worship, we simply have dead silence.
They Lifted Their Voices
Psalm 47:1 encourages us to “Shout to God with the voice of triumph.” This was done in both worship and prayer. The early church “lifted their voices to God with one accord” (Acts 4:24). When Judah was under attack the Levites “stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a very loud voice” (2 Chronicles 20:19).
Worship was always expressed in the Bible with uplifted, loud voices. In Revelation 19:6, as the Apostle John viewed a heavenly scene of worship, the worshippers were so radical in their expression he heard “the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns.”
They Clapped Their Hands
Vocal expressions of worship are frequently accompanied with clapping. Psalm 47:1 says, “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!” An offering of praise can be expressed by people clapping and lifting their voices to God.
Some think this is a strange thing to do in church, but what do we do at ball games or other times of celebration? We clap our hands and shout. How much more should we applaud and celebrate the one who redeemed us from sin and shame?
They Lifted Their Hands
Psalm 63:4 says, “Thus will I bless thee while I live. I will lift up my hands in thy name.” Paul wrote to Timothy, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands” (1 Timothy 2:8).
Lifting our hands is a sign of worship, surrender and adoration. This was not invented by charismatics and pentecostals, but by God. It was a practice of worship in the Old Testament long before the birth of the church.
They Worshiped with Singing
Psalm 146:1-2 – “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live. I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”
In Ephesians 5:19, Paul wrote, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” There are different kinds of songs mentioned in these verses – palms, hymns and spiritual songs. In churches today we sing hymns, choruses and new worship songs. The point is, we are worshiping in song.
They Used Musical Instruments
Psalm 150:3-6 – “Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet. Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance. Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals. Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”
Obviously, any kind of instrument can be used when worshipping God. The verses above tell us they worshipped with loud, clashing cymbals. They really got into it. Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing unto him a new song. Play skilfully with a loud noise.” Notice, the only restriction is that it must be done skillfully. God deserves nothing more than our best.
Some groups believe you shouldn’t use instruments at all when worshiping God. They say it’s because instruments are not mentioned in the New Testament. However, 1 Corinthians 10:11 says, “These things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction.”
Although we are not under the law, things written under the old covenant were written for our example and instruction. In Revelation 5:8 we see that each of the 24 elders had a harp. If instruments were used in the Old Testament, and in heaven, why would God forbid us from using them in worship today? The answer is obvious. He would not.
They Worshiped with Dancing
Psalm 150:4 says, “Praise him with the timbrel and dance.” David was so excited that he danced before the Lord with all his might. Michal, his wife, thought he was making a fool of himself and despised him. As a result, God struck her barren (2 Samuel 6). We should be willing to make fools of ourselves when worshiping God. God help anyone who mocks us for it.
They Worshiped in Spirit and Truth
No matter how we express our worship of God, sometimes we do it in the flesh and not the spirit. John 4:23-24 tells us we must worship in spirit and truth. Too often in church our flesh is worked up into a frenzy, and it has nothing to do with the Spirit.
That being said, most worship begins in the flesh before it can moves into the realm of the Spirit. We live in the flesh and worship must begin somewhere, just don’t let it stay there.
No matter how we express worship, we must put all we have into it. In some of the heavenly accounts of worship (Revelation 4:8-11, Revelation 5:9-14, Revelation 7:9-12, Revelation 19:1, and Revelation 19:4-6) they sang, fell on their faces, and put everything they had into their worship.
Psalms 103:1 – “Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” Worship God with everything you have.