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© 2010 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or any other—without prior permission of the publisher, except for brief quotation in critical reviews or articles. Published in Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc. Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fundraising, or sales promotional use. For information, please email Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Hayford, Jack W. Toward More Glorious Praise ISBN-13: 978-1-4185-4123-1 ISBN-10: 1-4185-4123-0

Printed in the United States of America 10 11 12 13 14 — 6 5 4 3 2 1

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PREFACE What Is Worship? ………………………………………………


KEYS OF THE KINGDOM ………………………………………


INTRODUCTION Toward More Glorious Praise …………………………………


SESSION ONE The Call to Worship ……………………………………………


SESSION TWO A Responsive Heart ……………………………………………


SESSION THREE The Command to Worship ……………………………………


SESSION FOUR A Faithful Response ……………………………………………


SESSION FIVE Prepare to Worship ……………………………………………


SESSION SIX A Psalm of Praise ………………………………………………


SESSION SEVEN Build Strength …………………………………………………


SESSION EIGHT God Is Sovereign ………………………………………………


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SESSION NINE Contemplative Worship ………………………………………


SESSION TEN The Healing Power of Worship ………………………………


SESSION ELEVEN Worship Through Trial ………………………………………… 100 SESSION TWELVE Lifelong Worshippers ………………………………………… 107

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What Is Worship? A

LMIGHTY GOD transcends any religious enterprise of man. He cannot be captured or contained inside a building or religious methodology. However, Scripture tells us that God’s presence will dwell richly wherever worthy worship is raised to His glory. We need not erect splendid structures in order to experience the presence of Almighty God, for our worship provides His dwelling place. Of what is the worship in which God dwells constructed? It is built of unrestrained, unreserved commitment and affection toward God. It is the temple created in a life wherein God’s will is paramount and His Word is absolute authority. When your heart is fully committed to God—when He is the core of your life and affection—true worship will be expressed in all you do. The cost is all you have and are.

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Keys of the Kingdom K

EYS CAN BE SYMBOLS of possession, of the right and ability to acquire,

clarify, open, or ignite. Keys can be concepts that unleash mindboggling possibilities. Keys clear the way to a possibility otherwise obstructed! Jesus spoke of keys: ‘‘And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’’ (Matthew 16:19). While Jesus did not define the ‘‘keys’’ He has given, it is clear that He did confer upon His church specific tools that grant us access to a realm of spiritual ‘‘partnership’’ with Him. The ‘‘keys’’ are concepts or biblical themes, traceable throughout Scripture, that are verifiably dynamic when applied with solid faith under the lordship of Jesus Christ. The ‘‘partnership’’ is the essential feature of this enabling grace, allowing believers to receive Christ’s promise of ‘‘kingdom keys,’’ and to be assured of the Holy Spirit’s readiness to actuate their power in the life of the believer. Faithful students of the Word of God and some of today’s most respected Christian leaders have noted some of the primary themes that undergird this spiritual partnership. A concise presentation of many of these primary themes can be found in the Kingdom Dynamics feature of the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible. The Spirit-Filled Life Study Guide series, an outgrowth of this Kingdom Dynamics feature, provides a treasury of more in-depth insights on these central truths. This study series offers challenges and insights designed to enable you to more readily understand and appropriate certain dynamic KINGDOM KEYS. Each study guide has twelve to fourteen lessons, and a number of helpful features have been developed to assist you in your study, each marked by a symbol and heading for easy identification.

Kingdom Key KINGDOM KEY identifies the foundational Scripture passage for each study session and highlights a basic concept or principle presented in the text along with cross-referenced passages.

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Keys of the Kingdom


Kingdom Life The KINGDOM LIFE feature is designed to give practical understanding and insight. This feature will assist you in comprehending the truths contained in Scripture and applying them to your day-to-day needs, hurts, relationships, concerns, or circumstances.

Word Wealth The WORD WEALTH feature provides important definitions of key terms.

Behind the Scenes BEHIND THE SCENES supplies information about cultural beliefs and practices, doctrinal disputes, and various types of background information that will illuminate Bible passages and teachings.

Kingdom Extra The optional KINGDOM EXTRA feature will guide you to Bible dictionaries, Bible encyclopedias, and other resources that will enable you to gain further insight into a given topic.

Probing the Depths Finally, PROBING THE DEPTHS will present any controversial issues raised by particular lessons and cite Bible passages and other sources that will assist you in arriving at your own conclusions. Each volume of the Spirit-Filled Life Study Guide series is a comprehensive resource presenting study and life-application questions and exercises with spaces provided for recording your answers. These study guides are designed to provide all you need to gain a good, basic

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Toward More Glorious Praise

understanding of the covered theme and apply biblical counsel to your life. You will need only a heart and mind open to the Holy Spirit, a prayerful attitude, a pencil and a Bible to complete the studies and apply the truths they contain. However, you may want to have a notebook handy if you plan to expand your study to include the optional KINGDOM EXTRA feature. The Bible study method used in this series employs four basic steps: 1. Observation. What does the text say? 2. Interpretation. What is the original meaning of the text? 3. Correlation. What light can be shed on this text by other Scripture passages? 4. Application. How should my life change in response to the Holy Spirit’s teaching of this text? The New King James Version is the translation used wherever Scripture portions are cited in the Spirit-Filled Life Study Guide series. Using this translation with this series will make your study easier, but it is certainly not imperative and you will profit through use of any translation you choose. Through Bible study, you will grow in your essential understanding of the Lord, His kingdom and your place in it; but you need more. Jesus was sent to teach us ‘‘all things’’ (John 14:25–26). Rely on the Holy Spirit to guide your study and your application of the Bible’s truths. Bathe your study time in prayer as you use this series to learn of Him and His plan for your life. Ask the Spirit of God to illuminate the text, enlighten your mind, humble your will, and comfort your heart. And as you explore the Word of God and find the keys to unlock its riches, may the Holy Spirit fill every fiber of your being with the joy and power God longs to give all His children. Read diligently on. Stay open and submissive to Him. Learn to live your life as the Creator intended. You will not be disappointed. He promises you!

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Toward More Glorious Praise I

for this study, let us discover the true meaning of worship and praise. How are they different? How are they similar? Why does Scripture make it clear that praise and worship should be a central, vibrant part of the life of any believer? Begin by reading 1 Kings, chapters 6—8. This is the account of the building of Solomon’s temple. The construction and dedication of this temple may well be one of the ultimate expressions of worship in all Scripture. No expense was spared in materials or effort in workmanship. Solomon’s temple was truly a matchless work of art. It is estimated that, in today’s standards, the temple Solomon built would cost in excess of four trillion dollars! Solomon was obviously awestruck by his God. It will also be of great value as you prepare for this study to read certain of the psalms that are considered by most to be predominantly expressions of worship or praise. This list includes: Psalms 8; 9; 11; 18; 22:1–21; 27:1–6; 29; 30; 31; 33; 34; 40:1–10; 46; 47; 48; 65; 66; 67; 68; 75; 76; 81; 84; 89:1–18; 92; 93; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 100; 101; 103; 104; 105; 106:1–5; 107; 111; 112; 113; 116; 117; 118; 134; 135; 136; 138; 144:1–4; 145; 146; 147; 148; 149; 150. The Hebrew title of the book of Psalms is Sepher Tehillim, which means ‘‘Book of Praises.’’ There is no better way to begin to understand the heart of praise than through the words of those whose praises have echoed through the centuries. N PREPARATION

Questions: What aspects of praise and/or worship did you encounter for the first time as you read these psalms?

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In what way has this reading impacted your understanding of praise and worship?

How can you begin to develop praise and worship in your own life?

Understanding Worship The definition of worship is to give reverence, extravagant respect, or admiration. It is the recognition of transcendent excellence in another. There is only One deserving of our worship: almighty God, our Creator and heavenly Father. God alone should be the object of our worship. He is the only Creator and our only Redeemer—the one true God. His fingerprint is upon all creation and is indelibly present upon each of us. He is above all, and in Him all things exist and have their being (Colossians 1:17). Worship is far more than an act; true worship must find expression. True worship is foundational to life. It is at once an attitude, a response, an action, and a reaction. More than even a lifestyle, worship is an all-encompassing worldview.

Word Wealth—Worship Worship: Hebrew shachah (shah-chah′); Strong’s #7812: To bow, to stoop; to bow down before someone as an act of submission or reverence; to worship; to fall or bow down when paying homage to God. The primary meaning is ‘‘to make oneself low.’’ In Psalm 99:5, shachah is used in contrast to exaltation: exalt the Lord (lift Him up high) and worship (bow yourselves down low before Him) at the place of His feet. Worship: Greek proskuneo (pros-koo-neh′-o); Strong’s #4352: From pros, ‘‘toward,’’ and kuneo, ‘‘to kiss.’’ To prostrate oneself, bow down, do obeisance, show

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reverence, do homage, worship, adore. In the New Testament, the word especially denotes homage rendered to God and the ascended Christ. All believers have a single-focus worship of the only Lord and Savior. We do not worship angels, saints, shrines, relics, or religious personages.

Understanding Praise Praise is an acknowledgment wherein the virtues or deeds of another are recognized and extolled. Praise is revealed as the means by which God’s rule and presence may be invited into the midst of any group or private situation or circumstance. The Lord is ‘‘enthroned in the praises of Israel’’ (Psalm 22:3). The praise of man toward God is the means by which we express our joy to the Lord. We are to praise God both for who He is and for what He does (Psalm 150:2). Praising God for His attributes (who He is) is called adoration; praising Him for what He does is known as thanksgiving. Praise of God may be in song, prayer, dance, or any act given over to God in recognition of His glory. It may be offered individually or collectively, may be spontaneous or prearranged. Praise of God may be the expression of the emotional response of a loving heart, or it may originate from the determination to praise regardless of circumstance or feeling—the setting of one’s will to praise our worthy God.

Word Wealth—Praise Praise: Hebrew halal (hah-lahl′); Strong’s #1984: To praise, to thank; rejoice, boast about someone. Halal is the root from which ‘‘hallelujah’’ is formed. The phrase ‘‘hallelujah’’ is a command: hallelu-Jah (all of you must praise God). Halal usually conveys the idea of speaking or singing about the glories, virtues, or honor of someone or something (1 Chronicles 23:30). Praise: Hebrew shabach (shah-vahch′); Strong’s #7623: To commend, praise; to adore; to glory in something; to still, quiet, or pacify someone. Shabach goes in two directions, ‘‘praising’’ and ‘‘calming.’’ The verb occurs eleven times in the Old Testament, eight of these having to do with speaking words of praise. The other three references speak either about calming the tumultuous sea (Psalms 65:7; 89:9) or about hushing up things within one’s heart (Proverbs 29:11). There appears to be a connection between ‘‘praising with words’’ and ‘‘soothing with words,’’ as any aggrieved individual offered words of honor can testify. Praise: Hebrew tehillah (te-hil-lah′, or in the plural, te-hil-lim′); Strong’s #8416: A celebration, a lauding of someone praiseworthy; the praise or exaltation of God;

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Toward More Glorious Praise

praises, songs of admiration. The noun tehillah comes from the verb halal, which means ‘‘to praise, celebrate, and laud.’’ As we learned earlier, the Hebrew title of the book of Psalms is Tehillim (Book of Praises). The book of Psalms was actually the songbook for worship events in the temple in Jerusalem. Suitable for prayer or recitation but specially designed for singing, the book of Psalms provides the means for eager hearts to express their praises to God. Praise: Greek epainos (ep′-ahee-noss); Strong’s #1868: Approbation, commendation, approval, praise. Epainos expresses not only praise for what God does for us, but also for who He is, recognizing His glory.

Prepare to Enter In Man was created to live and breathe in an atmosphere of praisefilled worship to his Creator. The avenue of sustained inflow of divine power was to be kept by the sustained outflow of joyous and humble praise to his Maker. The severance of the bond of blessing through obedience that sin brought silenced man’s praise-filled fellowship with God and introduced self-centeredness, self-pitying, and complaint (Genesis 3:9–12). But now salvation and life are available in Christ. Now upon receiving Jesus Christ as Savior, we are called in our daily lives to prayer and the Word for fellowship and wisdom in living. Our daily approach to God in that communion is to be paved with praise: ‘‘Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise’’ (Psalm 100:4). Such a walk of praise-filled openness to Him will cultivate deep devotion, faithful obedience, and constant joy. The intention of this study is to show believers how praise can bring steadfastness in godly living while teaching a walk of praise that is neither fanatical, glib, nor reduced to mere ritual, but one of lifedelivering power available to each believer.

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The Command to Worship Kingdom Key—Pursue a Lifestyle of Worship Psalm 29:2 Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Worship is central to our faith in Christ. The implications for the true disciple are all-encompassing, for worship is more than an event on Sunday morning; it becomes a lifestyle. True worship will spill over into the week—informing choices, determining perspectives, offering a cup of cold water, loving the unlovely, practicing fidelity, and a cluster of other wholesome actions and attitudes. These attributes may, in fact, run counter to our culture. The Christian who pursues the worship of a holy God will pursue a holy lifestyle as a natural by-product. Two words we rarely see linked together are worship and discipline. Yet to embrace the essence of the biblical standard in its clearest form, one must practice discipline in the pursuit of worshipping God. Our God is holy; but we, as human beings, are naturally fallible and none are without sin. Therefore, we wisely and regularly seek forgiveness in order to commune with God. This is a discipline. As we mature, overt sin falls away, but we need to develop a sensitivity to anything that will inhibit our ability to commune with God. We must take regular inventory of the inner man to deter anything that interferes with our worship experience. Read Psalms 86:9–12; 95:6–8; Romans 6. Questions: What are examples of potential problems we need vigilantly to monitor, in pursuit of a biblical, worship-based lifestyle?

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The Command to Worship


What hindrances to worship are present in your life?

What steps can you take to begin to walk in greater holiness before the Lord?

Kingdom Life—Become a Worshipper Worship is an event and a process. In the worship event, we gather to honor and revere Christ through certain patterns and traditions. The focus and goal of true worship is Jesus Christ. It is the heart’s desire that reaches beyond circumstance into the spiritual realm for the sole purpose of recognizing, extolling, proclaiming, and celebrating the lordship of our Savior and our God. That is the worship event.

Then, beyond the event, there is the worship process. Simply stated, this refers to our discipleship—the maturation sequence in which we move from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. With each worship event, we are brought farther along the road to maturity. Worship should become more a state of being than an isolated event. God is seeking worshippers, not just worship. And a worshipper does not simply visit God on Sunday but lives in His presence. We are commanded in Scripture to become worshippers. There is no optional clause available in which the command may be modified. Simply follow the instructions. Those are our marching orders as Spiritfilled believers. Read 2 Kings 17:24–39; Psalms 29:1–2; 113:3. Questions: What is the Lord’s charge in 2 Kings 17:24–39?

What specific directives are given and what reward is promised in Psalm 29:1–2?

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Toward More Glorious Praise

Psalm 113:3 encapsulates worship, both as an event and as a process. Explain this verse in your own words.

 What do you understand the commands in Psalm 29:1–2 to mean?

 What are ways you can give glory to the Lord as a worshipper? As a witness? As a servant?

 Is continual praise a vital part of your life? What hinders you from embracing this lifestyle?

Word Wealth—Holy/Holiness Holy: Hebrew qadosh (kah-dosh′); Strong’s #6918: Set apart, dedicated to sacred purposes; holy, sacred, clean, morally or ceremonially pure. The verb qadash means ‘‘to set apart something or someone for holy purposes.’’ Holiness is separation from everything profane and defiling; and at the same time, it is dedication to everything holy and pure. People or even objects, such as anointing oil or vessels, may be considered holy to the Lord (Exodus 30:25; Jeremiah 2:3; Zechariah 14:20– 21). Leviticus stresses ‘‘holy’’ and ‘‘holiness’’ most thoroughly. Leviticus 10:10 shows that God desired priests be able to distinguish ‘‘holy’’ and ‘‘unholy’’ and teach Israel to do likewise. God is entirely holy in His nature, motives, thoughts, words, and deeds so that He is called Qadosh, ‘‘the Holy One,’’ or Qedosh Yisrael, ‘‘the Holy One of Israel.’’ Holiness: Greek hagiosune (hag-ee-ah-soo′-nay): Strong’s #42: The process, quality, and condition of a holy disposition and the quality of holiness in personal conduct (1 Thessalonians 3:13). It is the principle that separates the believer from the world. Hagiosune consecrates us to God’s service both in soul and in body, finding fulfillment in moral dedication and a life commitment to purity. It causes every component of our character to withstand God’s inspection and meet with His approval.

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The Command to Worship


Kingdom Extra God wants us not only to see the beauty that is inherent in His character and completeness, but to allow Him to pour the same into us through our worship. His holiness is ready to be infused into the humble worshipper who comes openly to Him.

Read Psalms 95:1–7; 30:4; 33:1–3; 98:1; 147:1–7. Questions: Note and list some of the distinctive traits of each call to sing.

 What attitudes should you cultivate as you come before God in song?

 What element is contained in the command to sing that is not inherent in other forms of praise?

 Is this a part of your private worship life? Why, or why not?

Kingdom Life—The Act of Worship If one searches out the meaning of certain Old Testament terms of praise and worship, it becomes quite apparent that true worship is active.

One of these words is todah. This word is derived from the verb yadah, which means ‘‘to give thanks’’ or ‘‘to praise.’’ The root of yadah is yad (hand); thus, ‘‘to thank or praise God by the act of lifting or extending one’s hands’’ in thanks to Him. Todah appears more than thirty times in the Old Testament, a dozen of these in the book of Psalms (50:23; 100:4). Todah is translated ‘‘sacrifice of praise’’ in Jeremiah 33:11.

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Toward More Glorious Praise

In the Introduction section of this study guide, you were introduced to other words of praise and worship. Review these words and their meanings. You will notice how many times an action is inferred. Worship is attitudinal. Worship is also physical. There are appropriate times to sing, bow, kneel, stand, clap, shout, or simply celebrate. As someone has said, ‘‘There are times for ‘high church’ (ceremony) and times to ‘have church’ (celebration)!’’ Read Psalms 95:6–8; 99:1–5; 100:1–5. Questions: What attitudes should accompany sincere worship and praise?

What actions express sincere worship and praise?

 Are these actions of worship more verbal or physical?

 What is your reaction to this realization?

 Does this Scripture portion describe your experience of worship? Why or why not?

How can you keep a spirit of worship fresh and relevant?

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The Command to Worship


Word Wealth—Bless Bless: Hebrew barach (bah-rahch′); Strong’s #1288: To bless; to salute, congratulate, thank, praise; to kneel down. Barach is the root word from which baruch (‘‘blessed one’’) and barachah (‘‘blessing’’) are derived. Berech, ‘‘knee,’’ is probably the source of those words. In Old Testament times, one knelt when preparing to speak or receive words of blessing, whether to God in heaven or to the king on his throne. God is the Blesser, the One who gives the capacity for living a full, rich life. The first action of God the Creator to the newly created man and woman was to bless them (Genesis 1:28). The Aaronic Benediction (Numbers 6:22–27) epitomizes God’s promise of blessing to His people. In Jewish worship God is frequently called baruch hu, Qodesh-ha, or literally, ‘‘the Holy One, blessed is He!’’

Kingdom Life—Offer Authentic Worship Anyone who follows the biblical commands to worship will soon display discernible, biblical characteristics in worship. These characteristics include:

Worship God Alone Read Exodus 20:3–5. Questions: Is there anything or anyone in your life who commands more of your loyalty, time, or attention than does God?


What steps can you take to truly worship only God?

Love God with All Your Heart Read Deuteronomy 6:4–9. Questions: What are the implications on your life of each facet of this passage?

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Toward More Glorious Praise

What changes would pure and total love for God make in your walk of faith?

 Depend on the Holy Spirit Read Philippians 3:3; John 4:24. Questions: What does it mean to worship God in the Spirit?

 In what ways are you becoming increasingly sensitive to the Spirit in your life as a worshipper?

 In what ways do you find you have to resist your flesh in your efforts to worship God in the Spirit?

 Focus on Glorious Praise Read Psalm 66:1–4. Questions: Have you ever literally shouted out praises to God? What were the circumstances? How did you feel?

 Check a dictionary to be sure you understand the meaning of the word glory. How many synonyms can you discover for glory or glorious? List them.

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The Command to Worship


How can you make your praises glorious to God?

Balance Seriousness and Enthusiasm Read 1 Chronicles 13:6–12. Questions: What was the manner of those who transported the ark?


What was David’s attitude and manner?

Are you more inclined to be one who worships with all his might or one who watches and seeks to steady the ark?

Avoid Sin Read Jeremiah 7:8–16; Micah 6:8. Questions: What are seven things that will hinder the hand of God?


What are three things the Lord requires of you?

Now compare the two lists above and see what you notice. Be specific and practical in thinking through their meaning to your experience. What observations would you make?

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Toward More Glorious Praise

Can we sincerely worship God and be committed to practicing or tolerating sin in our lives at the same time? Why?

Concentrate on Unity and Order Read 1 Corinthians 14:26, 33, 40. Questions: What aspects of ministry are listed from a typical Christian worship service in Corinth?

What aspects of this ministry are familiar and comfortable for you? Which are unfamiliar and uncomfortable?

Kingdom Extra Self-control, mutual respect, and attention to organizational detail liberate a church service to realize ministry and fulfill spiritual objectives. Let’s shift paradigms for a moment. When fans remain in their seats and off the field, a baseball game can transpire effectively. When drivers obey the traffic laws, accidents can be avoided and safety on the roads increased. When the audience holds applause until the end of a symphony, listeners can appreciate the contrasts of each movement. There is profound merit in conducting any public gathering decently and in order. Laws and mores set up limits. Limits liberate participants from danger, so they may focus productively on the task at hand.

However, just as the seriousness of transporting the ark of the covenant is juxtaposed by David’s uninhibited, all-consuming praise, so should be the experience of today’s worshipper. We should experience and enjoy the vivid contrasts of worship—the receiving of the elements of communion and a heartfelt, passionate gospel song following, or the reading of a Scripture with subsequent fiery preaching. Believers throughout the centuries have managed a balance between the serious and the enthusiastic, between intimacy and theater. But all should be done in decency and order, for chaos is not of God.

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The Command to Worship


Record Your Thoughts As you have worked your way through this study thus far, what you have done is to learn the steps necessary to build an altar of worship. As the patriarchs of the Old Testament frequently built an altar in order to worship the Lord and remember His faithfulness, see how we are preparing to do the same—to figuratively construct an altar. First, in biblical times, an appropriate spot would be chosen and the brush and debris would be cleared away. Likewise, as we prepare for effective worship, we first must clear away any hindrances to worship. Second, the prophets would lay the stones in a logical sequence in order to construct the altar. This signifies our bringing definition to worship. Recall and discuss how we have done that. • Worship is an event and a process. • The focus of worship is Jesus Christ—His life, death, and resurrection. • The goal of worship is to become totally centered on the Lord. • The worship process refers to daily discipleship. • We must develop a worship lifestyle (that is, worshipping throughout the week) rather than existing as weekend worshippers. Third, in the Old Testament, worshippers would find an animal that was perfect in every way. Because the Old Testament code was very specific, they would prepare the sacrifice exactly according to regulation. In analogy this could refer to our obeying the scriptural commands regarding worship. Worship of a holy God must be accomplished according to biblical mandates. (Again, review the Scriptures we’ve studied in our call to worship.) Finally, a sacrifice was offered. And so today we offer the sacrifice of praise, which has certain identifiable characteristics. These together ‘‘build an altar’’: • The worship of God alone • The love of God with one’s heart • A dependency on the Holy Spirit • A focus on glorious praise • A balance between seriousness and enthusiasm • An avoidance of sin • A concentration on unity and order

Toward More Glorious Praise  

Learn to live the lifestyle of praise. The Spirit-Filled Life® Guide: Toward More Glorious Praise encourages readers through the experiences...

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