To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5, 6)
Over the years I have sought to teach people both why we worship and how to worship. Worship has often been misunderstood as the musical prelude to the sermon, rather than the means by which we, as the people of God, invite the dominion of His Kingdom to be established on earth.
Psalm 22:3 says that the King of kings is literally “enthroned”in our praises. Wherever God’s people come together to worship, we become a habitation for His presence. God comes to dwell where His people worship, and where that happens, all the weight of His glory, His rulership and His dominion are present.
In this atmosphere—where worship ushers in the presence of God—four critically important things take place: first, the Word becomes life, not just an intellectual exercise; then, as His Kingdom is established, people will be healed and people will come to know the Lord. Finally, because God is empowering His people, their worship crowds out the borders of hell’s current domain—Satan having been given rulership of this planet by man’s forfeit of dominion at the Fall.
Worship is essential to God’s plan of redemption and provides a strategic avenue for God’s entry into an alienated world. An illustration of this is found in the Lord’s Prayer, which begins with worship: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” Then, it extends the invitation … “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9, 10).
When we pray in the manner that Jesus taught His disciples, we are first, with worship, reaching into the invisible realm and then, on the grounds of our worship, welcoming the entry of His divine authority, rulership and power into this world.
How, Then, Do We Worship?
After giving the Ten Commandments, the Lord gave explicit directions to Moses about building a tabernacle of worship in which He would come to dwell among His people (Exodus 25:8, 9). The people spent a year at Sinai building the tabernacle according to God’s pattern and learning how to worship. God’s plan for His people’s redemption was to be realized through the priestly ministry of worship. In Christ, all believers have become a “royal priesthood” that we “may proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of the darkness unto His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
The biblical patterns of worship involve all aspects of the human personality: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Most people recognize that worship ought to be spiritual from the heart and that it ought to be intelligent. But there’s an uneasiness about the involvement of our emotions and physical expression. Yet people who acknowledge their own physical and emotional being before the Lord do what in any setting other than church would be considered the most natural thing. The living God has created us with a response mechanism that expresses joy when we are happy, or elation and shouting over victory, for example.
The expression of worship should not be confused as a requirement for salvation, but as a means for truth springing to life in the midst of people. When we surrender ourselves to the full expression of worship, the Spirit descends, and room is given for Him to meet every person in a special way.