O Come Let Us Worship Part 1 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Title: O Come Let Us Worship
Theme: The Disciplines of Discipleship
Text: “O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6)
Bible Reading: Psalm 95:1-7
1 O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it; for his hands formed the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would hearken to his voice!
A good football coach puts his players through certain physical exercises and disciplines necessary for developing the skills and stamina that will make it possible for them to have a winning team. In the spiritual realm, there are certain indispensable disciplines that we must subject ourselves to if we would truly be all that God intends. Our text details one discipline necessary for experiencing the abundant life that Jesus came into the world to give.
Jesus talked about the abundant life and on one occasion He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). It’s wonderful being a Christian, and I thank God for saving me and giving me such an abundant life. I wouldn’t change places with anyone.
The invitation to worship that the psalmist extends is both present now, and unending in its use. To worship is the same as assigning praise and honor and glory to God. It is the same thing as respecting and honoring Him with the heart and soul. Genuine worship is full of life, and it’s a transforming experience both for the individual worshipper and for the congregation as they worship together in spirit and in truth. Worship is a personal encounter with God as He reveals Himself to us through scripture, song, sermon, and the praises of God’s people. We need to recognize and respond to the psalmist’s gracious invitation to come and worship.
This morning, I want to point out three things about the call to worship. The first is-
The call to worship is a call to recognize and respond to the very presence of God.
This is a call to conscious awareness of the presence of God. Circumstances can cause us to complain, “I’m at the end of my rope!” It’s a cry of both desperation and frustration. In times like these, it is good to remember “God lives at the end of our rope.” Sometimes we must get to the end of what we can do before we are willing to step aside and let God meet our needs. Thankfully, He’s always there to care!
This call to worship is also a call to awe, admiration, and adoration of the living God. We express this adoration when we praise God. Praising God is not something that comes naturally to anyone. In fact, praise, for some of us goes against our nature. Occasionally, praise feels more like a duty; like lip service given to the opening prayer of the church service. Every believer, though, can with persistence learn to praise God in all things.
At this point I should give you the who, where, how, when, what, and why for prayer.
Who is to praise God? All of God’s people, all of creation (Ps. 145:4, 5; Is. 55:12).
Where do you praise God? Praise is fitting wherever you are (Ps. 96:3).
How do you praise God? Praise is expressed through words and music (Ps. 33:1–3).
When do you praise God? God should be praised at all times (Ps. 34:1).
What do you praise God for? God is praised for His greatness (Ps. 150:2).
Why do you praise God? God is worthy of your praise (Rev. 5:12).
Praise is your best weapon against Satan. When you praise God, you are showing the heavenly hosts, powers, principalities, demons of darkness, and angels of light that your great God is worthy of praise—no matter what your circumstances are. Praise produces victory, and victory inspires praise. Genuine praise must flow from your heart even during times of sorrow, discouragement, trial, and temptation (Ps. 42:5). The praise of His people brings glory to God, and what a privilege it is to bring God joy!
The call to worship should also be a call to truly become acquainted with the living God.
One of the qualities of God is that he is unchangeable. Believers can be sure of God. His character, truth, ways, purposes, love, and promises never vary (Is. 46:9–11). He has never been less than what He is, nor will He be more (Mal. 3:6). People may change because of inadequate ability, lack of knowledge, change of circumstances, or loss of interest. But, God lacks no ability (Gen. 18:14); He knows everything, controls everything, and is involved in everything (Is. 40:11–14).
God does nothing partially (Is. 41:4), and He never changes moods (Heb. 13:8), neither does He cool off in His affections (Jer. 31:3) or enthusiasm (Phil. 1:6). His attitude toward sin is the same as it was in the garden of Eden, and His love is the same as it was when He displayed it on the Cross (Rom. 5:17).
God never alters His plans because they are made with complete knowledge and control (Ps. 33:11). What He does at some point in time He planned in eternity, and what He planned in eternity He carries out in time (Is. 46:9–11). God does not change because He is bigger than all causes.
The second thing about the call to worship is that it is a call to recognize and respond to the person of God.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is personal, and we are to respond to Him personally. This living God is described in the first six verses of Psalm 95.
In verse 1 the Lord is the rock of our salvation. God is great and He wants us to have jubilant worship, not just participation in services as usual. He invites us to “shout joyfully” and to “kneel before the Lord.” Why? Because God is great! He is a great Creator and a great King, and we are privileged to be His people.
In verse 3, the Lord is a great God, and a good God (v. 3). God not only does good; He is the originator of goodness (Gen. 1:31). We have no natural goodness in ourselves, because there is no source of goodness outside of God (Ps. 16:2; 119:68). To say God is good is to say that He is absolutely pure. There is not a hint of evil and He is never neutral. The moment we call Him less than good, we see Him as less than God. Jesus defines “goodness” in one word—God (Matt. 19:16, 17). Goodness is not one of God’s part-time activities (Ps. 136:1). He abounds in it (Ex. 34:6). It is the drive behind His blessings and the reason for His compassion, kindness, and generosity (Ps. 84:11).God does not give out of obligation, for He is never in anyone’s debt. Rather, He gives out of His goodness. God’s goodness is for us in this life (Ps. 27:13) as well as eternity (Ps. 31:19). It gives us hope (Ps. 27:13), it leads to repentance (Rom. 2:4), and it produces thankfulness (Ps. 136:1). God has started a good work in each believer and He has committed Himself to completing His work (Phil. 1:6).
Another thing we see in verse 3 is that this great God is a “great King above all Gods” (v. 3). Our great God is good to us; therefore we should be grateful for all His great works done for our benefit. Gratitude begins by acknowledging who God is and what He has done. This heartfelt emotion is not dependent upon the response of another person or upon the nature of what is received as a gift. Ingratitude, on the other hand, begins with a heart that refuses to be satisfied, a heart that rejects the Giver as well as His gift (Rom. 1:21). Life itself is a gracious gift from God. A spirit of gratitude must be cultivated, and then passed on, by example to others, especially to those in your own family and your friends.These are some ways to accomplish this:
Remember that a grateful person is humble and focused on God, while the ungrateful heart is full of pride and focused on self. Ruth beautifully emulated such a spirit of gratitude and humility (Ruth 2:10). She responded graciously even to the smallest kindness. Do not take for granted the small and ordinary daily blessing (Matt. 6:11). Look for blessings from God, being careful not to overlook the hidden, subtle, indirect gifts from God (Col. 4:2). Recognize that not every gift you desire may be beneficial to you. God is the all-wise Giver. Consider His plan and priorities for your life, being careful not to lose sight of the big picture because of a tragic but small interruption. Remember to thank God even in the midst of adversity and trials (Hab. 3:17–19; 1 Cor. 10:31; Phil. 1:3; 2:14; 1 Thess. 5:18). Gratitude to God and others should be expressed not only regularly but also publicly (Ps. 35:18; John 11:41, 42). Family members and close friends should not be taken for granted. Take pencil and paper and record your blessings and keep a record of God’s faithfulness to you. Complete the cycle of gratitude by reaching out to give to others in the Spirit of Christ (2 Cor. 9:12). A grateful spirit and thankful heart are an important part of the Christian life. The woman who is thankful and has a heart full of praise brings joy to the Father and glory to His name. An attitude of gratitude will bring to your heart a multitude of blessings and make you a channel of blessing to others.