28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (ESV)
8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (ESV)
Worship is my response to the recognition of Who God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is through telling Him and showing Him.
As we consider the context of these Scriptures, it was Sunday. So much would happen this week in the life of Jesus and in the spirit world. On this particular Sunday, there was loud, boisterous praise, and excitement; but by Friday the atmosphere would turn dark, and their praises would turn into, “Let Him be crucified.”
Jesus made His way into Jerusalem around Bethany, near the Mount of Olives. Before Him was the Last Supper, the violent beatings and torture, Good Friday, a long Saturday, and then Easter Sunday! There would be many in Jerusalem (as many as two million) to celebrate the Passover. Jesus came into Jerusalem in the most humble of ways––riding a colt. He was fulfilling Zechariah 9:9-10.
However, as the people were shouting “Hosanna, which means Save Now,” many of them had in mind a military King to free them from Roman tyranny. They were expecting a literal kingdom right then and there, a government fix. But Jesus’ mission was to free people from the greatest bondage of all, and that was sin—the sin that would send people to hell. Jesus didn’t come to remove people’s problems; He came to bring forgiveness, redemption, cleansing, and freedom from the power and penalty of sin. He came to show us God the Father.
As we consider the subject of worship, there are three fundamental truths that will transform how your worship: (1) Jesus is present in worship. Matthew 18:20—“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (2)When you come into worship, say to the Lord, “Whatever You tell me as I worship, I will do it” and (3) Listen for God to speak to you during worship. By Jesus’ example He teaches us that humility is essential to worship and to defeating Satan (Luke 19:35).
In this devotion let’s consider Ten Lies and Ten Truths about Worship
I. Lie: Worship Is a Feeling
Truth: Worship Is a Choice, an Act of the Will
You first choose to worship by an act of your will, not because you feel like it, but because God is worthy all the time, regardless of the circumstances. However, when you choose to really worship God I believe you will feel something—joy, peace, freedom, relief, and release.
II. Lie: Worship Is about a Particular Style
Truth: Worship Involves All Styles and Preferences
We must be sure that we don’t define worship by a style that we prefer. When we make worship about our preference only, it ceases to be Jesus-centered and becomes self-centered. It is okay to have a worship style preference, but when our preference becomes more important than the act of worship and more important than the One we worship, we have shamefully missed it. Jesus told us that we must worship in Spirit and in truth. “In Spirit” means Spirit-directed, sincere, from the heart. “In truth” means consistent with God’s Word, and not just going through the motions.
III. Lie: Worship Is Passive
Truth: Worship Is Active
Worship isn’t something you can come to and watch. You, in whatever way you feel led, participate by—singing, kneeling, raising your hands, weeping, giving, surrendering, listening, playing instruments, the Lord’s Supper, saying “Amen,” clapping, standing, reading Scripture, taking notes on the sermon, committing. No one can worship for you. Worship is not about what pleases us, but what pleases Him.
IV. Lie: Worship Is Boring
Truth: Worship Is the Most Dynamic, Exciting Thing You Can Do on Earth.
The Bible teaches there is joy in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11). There is rest in the presence of God (Exodus 33:14). There is grace and help in the presence of God (Psalm 9:3). There is hope in the presence of God (Romans 5:2). Don’t equate a boring sermon with a boring God. There is nothing boring about God and worshipping God.
V. Lie: Worship Is All about Receiving—What You Can Get Out of It
Truth: Worship Is All about Giving—What You Can Bring to God
There must be only one motivation for worship and that is to glorify God, to praise, honor, celebrate, magnify, express our love and obedience to God. This is not about you or me. It is about Him. It’s all about Him.
VI. Lie: Worship Is about a Particular Location
Truth: Anywhere God’s People Are Gathered in His Name Is a Place of Worship
Church is a visible place on earth set apart as a place of connecting with and experiencing God. For those churches that are Scripture-based, Spirit-filled, and people-loving, you are more likely to find God at work. You need to find a local church where you are an active member. But whether it is an old sanctuary with stained glass, a store-front, a warehouse, a gym, a chapel, a tent, a cathedral, a modern worship center, or an open-air amphitheater or football stadium, what matters is this: is the Spirit of God is working, is the Word of God is preached and taught, and is worship is seen as a sacred responsibility.
VII. Lie: Worship That is Real Is Quiet
Truth: Sometimes Worship Is Not Quiet
There is a time for silence and quiet in worship. There is a time for verbal affirmation of God. Worship is not to be like a library or a circus, but where the Spirit of God is moving in a church there will be moments of silence and stillness; and other times when there are sounds of joy, praise, adoration, and celebration (Luke 19:37).
VIII. Lie: Worship Is a Mindless, Thoughtless Exercise
Truth: Worship Demands Engaging Your Mind
Jesus told us to love God with all our mind, too (Mark 12:30). Worship is about recognizing, understanding, and valuing Who Jesus is. Christians must never check their brains at the door of the church. God wants to engage your mind as His Word is preached and taught. Worship is not without reason, although it is way beyond reason. Reason will only take you so far. You need to leave worship with a lot to think about.
IX. Lie: It Is Okay to Worship Worship
Truth: It Is a Sin to Worship Worship
Worship is not a destination, it is a highway, a gateway, a means to express God’s worthiness, and to experience His presence.
X. Lie: Worship Is Music
Truth: Music Can Be the Means to Usher Us into the Presence of God
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord
2 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders.
Music is a huge part of setting the atmosphere for worship. It is a significant element in worship. However, music itself is not worship. Music can be an expression of worship. Music doesn’t guarantee worship any more than a sermon guarantees worship. Worship is an atmosphere that is created when humble hearts seek only one thing—God’s Glory.