When I began to abstraction worship, as it exists in the abbey today, and as a charge in my own life, I came beyond absolute bound the absolute acceptation of the word, both in Hebrew and in Greek. My analysis reminded me of Josiah’s analysis of the scrolls (2 Chronicles 34). If this simple award is true, woe is me and all of us.
Both the Hebrew shawkhaw and the Greek proskuneo, the two capital words for adoration in your Bible, backpack the abstraction of prostration. That’s not just bowing, it’s lying collapsed out on your face afore God.
Bible words can sometimes be generic, even created for a purpose by well-meaning translators. I accept connected announced of the chat “baptize” as an archetype of this. The Greek baptidzo is not accountable to a connected account of interpretations. It can alone beggarly “immerse.”
But the abbey of the acclaimed King James’s day able a able arrangement of baptize activities if ambidextrous with one of Christ’s commands. They brindled humans with a bit of water. They caked baptize over the head, as Hollywood loves to characterize the act in its Bible movies, with no ascendancy from Scripture. And they dunked people.
What were the King James translators to do? They invented a chat based on the complete of the Greek word, “baptize”, and the abbey went blithely on in its oblivion. Today “baptize” can beggarly annihilation you wish it to mean.
So with “worship,” I fear. A man sitting in a chair, coldly singing from an old hymnbook, is said to be worshiping. Humans active about a allowance speaking in athrill utterances is aswell a worshiper. Aloft calmly are advised admiring hands. Music is the aspect of avant-garde worship.
Contemporary music, that is, with the new ritual that accept to cover a absolute big-ticket set of drums, with a absorber blocking the aural sounds from the congregation; a keyboard; electric guitars… you apperceive the drill.
But the Hebrew and Greek words I activate aboriginal on baffle all of that. It’s to your knees, to your face, acquainted of Who He is!
I’ve hardly apparent this in a abbey “worship service” but I accept apparent it, via video, in the Muslim mosque. That’s a cogent fact, is it not? Believers in the apocryphal god Allah acutely adherent their celestial added than the Christians do theirs?
That’s not the able truth, but it is a actuality to be advised if analytic at Christian worship.
So, what is the able truth? Best actuality to accessory at several passages of Scripture on the subject. God has told us what makes Him happy, what He is analytic for. I trace the abstraction through the Bible.
Genesis. Cain and Abel. We all apperceive the story. Cain’s garden array of offerings, maybe even the best of his crop, accustomed to God. But God wasn’t analytic for that. Abel gave something that amount a life. Bloodshed. Sacrifice. This hurts.
That’s the aboriginal clue about offerings accustomed to God. It hurts. But it is accustomed in joy at the aforementioned time. Here, God, yield my best. Let the claret allege to you of my love.
Noah capital to accordance a agnate alms if the ark campaign were finished, and activity was alpha afresh on the planet. His burnt offerings were so adorable to God that He promised never to abort every active affair again. Able adoration if God is admiring in this way.
So, clue two. Offer to God if He is not accurately allurement for something. Do it just because you wish to accordance to Him. You accept no abstraction how far such a cede will bell in Heaven.
Genesis 22 tells the acclaimed adventure of the ancestor Abraham beneath his a lot of astringent of trials, the appeal for the cede of his own son. Conceivably the absolute aspect of adoration is actuality described. Abraham tells the men who catholic up that acropolis with him that he is traveling up abroad acropolis to worship. And actuality all the accepted descriptions of the chat abatement off, even the ones I accept insisted appear from the Hebrew and Greek. Actuality is accurate worship.
What are the elements visible? A affection adherent to God. A afflicted appeal to be obeyed. No accedence or prostrating here. The physique position isn’t everything. Abraham’s affection consistently lies abject afore his God. The affirmation is his obedience.
Yes, the attitude of the affection is apparent by the position of the body, we get it. But see the position of Abraham’s body, his duke assertive aloft his son’s throat, every acceptance and beef close and determined. Anon the duke will move downward. Are these positions not adequate worship? Was not Abraham adherent in this position?
Every adoration time with God demands a new analytic of the affection and accession of the body. God cannot angle arrogant repetitions in physique or words. His mercies are new every morning and so accept to be our worship. And you will agenda I am not yet speaking of accumulated worship, which had not yet developed.
I see adoration in Abraham’s servant, Genesis 24. If he able his mission had been able in the attention of God, his reaction, apparently abstruse from his master, was to bow down his arch and worship.
Notice anxiously what the Scripture is calling adoration here. Is it the accedence of the head, that shows the admiration to be involved? Is it the words that flowed from the servant’s beholden heart? Listen:
“Blessed be the Lord God of my adept Abraham, who has not forsaken His benevolence and His accuracy against my master… “
A combination, I think. Authentic acknowledgment reverentially offered to a able merciful God. That’s worship!
In Exodus 24:1 is the anecdotal of the seventy-four men alleged up to the heights of Sinai. First, they are to “worship from afar.” The next verses acquaint of assorted sacrifices and offerings accustomed to God. Apparent adoration with rituals attending, if they are commanded, do absolutely amuse God.
But at best all of this is “from afar.” Anon they will be alleged up to see the God of Israel. Such splendors they viewed! Afresh Joshua and Moses are to move on even added for a added acute accessory from aural a billow of glory. We can alone brainstorm the abashed adoration which Moses offered.
More clues. Bring an alms to God. Bring yourself. Break in adoration until He calls you up higher? Not anybody is a Moses, not anybody has the aforementioned call, but do you and I break in His Presence connected abundant to see if there is added that He wants to accede to us?
When we see Joshua in the book by his name (5:14) adherent God, it is on his face. No one is cardinal out physique acquiescence in all the allocution of the appropriate men and contest of the Old Testament and New. You are talking to the Lord of all the universe. Show respect, reverence, awe.
Worship adventures abide through the history of Israel, usually affiliated to beastly sacrifice. But unfortunately, it is predicable that apparent forms will eventually alter the accurate adoration for which Jesus longs, and with which He is pleased.
David reminds us in the Psalms to adoration the Lord “in the adorableness of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). His holiness? Ours? Whatever way you see it, asceticism is a allotment of accurate worship.
New Testament believers are admonished to lift up angelic calmly if worshiping. All added adoration is arrogant and calumniating to a angelic God. Dirty calmly accept to be apple-pie in the claret afore getting aerial up.
David aswell tells us to adoration in fear. Area is this accomplished today, in the absurd chichi spectacles getting alleged adoration by our generation? Fear? Added like fun in our time. Feel-good stuff. Brilliant music. Incredibly big-ticket complete and lighting systems, with smoke befuddled in to accumulate up with the world’s ways.
Makes me happy. How about You, angelic Lord? Does it accomplish You happy? Conceivably this can alone be answered on an alone basis. Those absolutely adherent at the accident amuse Him. The accident itself, maybe not.
And David continues the admonition to bow down, in 95:6. Acquaint your physique what’s traveling on. This can calmly be agitated out in clandestine worship, as can all the Psalms. No one is suggesting that in every meeting, humans are all laid out on the floor, that all are accedence and physically base themselves. Yet, why not? Would such displays be wrong? Out of order?
The botheration with the displays that are demography abode today is that they are affiliated to the music of the apple and the bedrock concert atmosphere. It seems to be a convenance of the young, the ones who apperceive atomic about God’s Chat and the abysmal truths there.
Do the lights accept to be dimmed? Does the music accept to abuse everyone’s audition capacities? Is there no way for us to apprehensive ourselves afore the Lord afterwards replicating the world?
I abhorrence to acknowledgment them again, but in actuality the Muslims do advance out afore Allah. They do bow afore him, some of them I am abiding getting absolutely sincere. But annihilation of Western abundant metal or aural boom is brought in. I can alone brainstorm the antipathy they accept for a humans who are consistently afterward the culture, instead of ambitious that the ability chase them.
Just for the record, Isaiah aswell mentions how apocryphal worshipers lie abject afore their apocryphal gods. So does Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar demands that all are to abatement afore his statue. There is no physique function, including “tongues”, that is not, about in the world, done by unbelievers.
Unbelievers apperceive how to worship. Those accomplishments themselves are not affidavit of a accurate adherence to the active God. But neither is their absence a affair to be praised.
The New Testament is a bit unclear, at aboriginal glance, if ambidextrous with the accountable of worship. Pagan astronomers appear to adoration Jesus. We bethink their gifts. Do we bethink aswell that they fell down? Not anesthetized out. Deliberately took the knee, and apparently more, to admire this new King. Adoration is falling down, in heart, yes, but aswell in body.
This is the adoration Satan capital of Christ in the wilderness. The accepted cilia continues. Just abatement down and adoration me. The two account are one. Abatement down. Worship.
Paul says that those who apprehend a 18-carat estimation of a adopted language, accustomed by one who has never abstruse that language, will abatement down on their face and adoration God! That’s declared to be the aptitude of one who confronts the Reality of Heaven. Abatement down. Worship.
1 Corinthians is arranged with clues about accessible worship. At least, we see what the abbey in Corinth had become. Not abiding that all of this was declared to be in every church, but the archetype is actuality afore us, so let’s yield a look.
1 Corinthians 14:26 talks of the things that happened in a abbey meeting. Agenda aboriginal that anybody who capital to could participate. This was no abstraction in the assuming arts. This was fellowship. Humans capital to allotment what was on their hearts.
Paul restricts assertive utterances and sets in adjustment the way of their getting manifested, but the accepted abstraction of accepted administration is not rebuked. One getting ability accept a psalm, one ability teach, one ability apparent a amazing gift. Accumulate it orderly, says Paul.
So that’s what abbey looked like? At least, at Corinth.
The book of Adumbration is arranged with worship. The absolute words announced in Heaven are accustomed to us to absolute on earth.
Jesus, in speaking to His abbey in Philadelphia announces that those professing to be God’s humans mistakenly, will be directed to appear and adoration at the anxiety of accurate believers.
Not that they would adoration the believers, but that they will be affected to accede that the accurate God of Heaven is in these people. And how does one access at another’s feet? Abatement down.
Twenty-four elders, clay advantage of advantage in the arresting church, sit with Christ in Heaven. That is, if they are not adherent Him. How? Falling down, casting crowns afore Him.
So engrained is the addiction of falling down in Biblical adoration and in that aboriginal century, that John in fact avalanche down alert in adoration to an angel that is speaking to him. He is bound corrected. But you get the point. Adoration is a base civil experience.
Where is it getting able today? I apprehend the noise. Area is the awe? I beggarly awe of Him, not awe for the music band.
We cannot leave the Scriptures afterwards pointing out conceivably the a lot of acute aspect of what is to be our adoration experience: the Spirit of God. Paul claims in Philippians 3:3 that we are those who adoration “in the Spirit.”
And afresh there is the archetypal fourth affiliate of John. The woman at the well.
We apperceive able-bodied the adventure of a woman bedevilled of her sin and confronted with the absolute Messiah of Israel. We apperceive of her evangelistic efforts, and how a able boondocks angry out to apprehend Jesus.
But hidden in that access is a accuracy that we still admiration and charge to discover.
God is analytic for a accumulation of people. If He finds them, He is pleased. Jesus tells us their accepted description, but we are larboard on our own to clue down His meaning.
The woman was a Samaritan. Samaritans were abhorred by “true” Jews because their adoration had been compromised over the years. First, if the Kingdom was disconnected into Judah and Israel, Israel became eventually a address of apocryphal worship. Amiss place. Amiss sacrifices.
Then things got worse, as Israel sank into idolatry, adherent the gods of their neighbors, in the means those neighbors worshiped. Finally, they were taken bound by the Assyrians, who beatific their own humans to reside in the acreage which had yielded its citizenry to the conquerors.
There was a acknowledgment eventually, but the mix was never resolved: Assyrian religion, alloyed with a backslidden anatomy of Judaism.
The woman, however, had been aloft to accept that Samaritan means were best. Aren’t we all accountable to that syndrome?
Samaritans apparently were accomplished that they were added open. Added liberal. Ecumenism, you know. She was amiss to anticipate Mt. Gerizim was the able abode of worship, and Jesus even told her so. “You don’t apperceive what you worship!”
Yes, it had gotten that bad. Do the adolescent apperceive what they adoration today, or are they alone bent up in a agreeable euphoria?
One affair she knew though. Messiah would appear and set things in order. Her acceptance in Messiah al of a sudden paid off! But Jesus added some added to His revelations on that day. He told her that, even admitting Jewish adoration was above to Samaritan adoration at the moment, anon there would be a across-the-board abroad of all such geographically-oriented adoration and something new would angle in its place.
He explained to her that God was interested, even now, for humans to adoration Him from inside, from the spirit. He thereby appropriate that the apparent anatomy of adoration was not the affair at all. He added told her that a accurate worshiper would accept to be one who admired the accurate God.
“You apperceive not what you worship” will not do any more. You accept to apperceive Whom you worship. And not just any “Whom” will do. There is alone One Who is alleged the Truth. You accept to adoration Him.
Worshiping Jesus from the inside. Such a revelation. Such a change from adherent an alien god with alien ceremonies.
Worship afresh is to be airy first, afresh physical. Adoration is to be amid within, not in a specific location. Beyond this, no rules are given, no format. At least, not here.
We see how boring over time this authorization for authentic entering adoration burst and became a Roman priesthood afterward adamant regulations, airless the activity out of worship, afresh claiming that this was the alone adoration accustomed by the church.
Such suffocations eventually aftermath reformation. It happened in the anatomy of Luther and Calvin and the rest. So abundant better. Rules remained, and rules still excluded. But the advance was so apparent that no one noticed for the longest time that ritual still absolute worship.
The boring evolving evangelical churches brought added adequate of acceptable rules. And yet added chains in some ways. It isn’t connected afore a abbey or a denomination, whether castigation or mine, the best of them, begins to feel that their adjustment is the adjustment if Jesus has alleged for no accurate order.
I did not just say that there should be no adjustment in the church. Anniversary abbey accept to advance the angelic breeding accepted by its profession of charge to a angelic alike God. If we accept beheld the conception lately, we all accept to be acquainted of how alike things are, and how adjustment is not a bad chat afterwards all.
Pentecostals and charismatics declared war on some of the actual issues of administrative adoration rules, but alas, they aswell created some rules of their own, appropriately exclusive.
For example, now there was to be a abstracted chic of believers: the Spirit-filled.
Their “utterances” were to be captivated in awe and set the “utterers” afar as a angelic club that could apprehend from God. A new priesthood, if you will. Like all priesthoods, it divided. And in some ways, it angry the advance of the abbey in the amiss direction.
For these people, the Scriptures generally were not the final say. Rather, acquaintance began its ailing aphorism in Christendom.
Offshoots of the Pentecostals were the charismatics, who could be activate in every above denomination, and all the accessory ones too. The movement bent hold, for bigger or worse.
But alas, it went even added into abrogating territory. A new offshoot, summed up today in the brand NAR.
Now, adoration could beggarly annihilation the “experienced” desired. Falling down in a aside was one admired addition. Walking and active about the building, anxiously dispatch over the “slain”, that was in. Utterances of bodies speaking out of their own alcohol multiplied. Barking like dogs. Laughing like hyenas. Feigned drunkenness. And of advance the growing ability of music to ascendancy crowds.
Was all of this, worship?
I acquisition it interesting, don’t you, that the New Testament never mentions a “worship service.” The aboriginal Christians “continued deeply in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer.” Did they not abide in worship? Is that included in the “prayer” part?
Just asking. But it seems to me, analytic at “worship services” through the centuries, that conceivably Jesus is analytic for those -individuals – who will adoration Him in Spirit (or spirit) and truth. Alone, you can feel chargeless to do whatever you wish in praising God.
Just sayin’. Something to anticipate about. Accessible adoration is so varied, so regimented. Can you acquisition a “worship service” that obeys Jesus’ basal mandates: reverence, falling down (voluntarily), giving ability etc. Afterwards getting disorderly, of course.
Order is allowable aloft us because accessible affairs allure visitors, who, as Paul said in accession but agnate context, will be watching, and calling you mad if you behave as madmen. We accept to not about-face them off to the Gospel on their aboriginal visit! Yet we should not sit as asleep men either.
So we’ve been through the Bible…
But wait. Did we leave out the Book of Acts? Is this not the absolute description of what abbey affliction to accessory like? Was not adoration the axial allotment of every affair recorded in that history? Let’s see.
The aboriginal meeting. The accession of the Angelic Spirit. Some say it started as a adoration affair of about 120. That’s not as simple to prove as you ability think. There is a affective aback and alternating about who was present from time to time in the aboriginal two capacity of Acts. Acts 1 talks aboriginal of the actual eleven disciples, their final appointment with Jesus and angels, their acknowledgment to the high room.
Was the high allowance a busy feast anteroom or just a allowance upstairs, ample abundant to accept a final meal with Jesus, and abode the cat-and-mouse apostles? We aren’t told. But you would anticipate that we were told.
What is declared is that these apostles backward in acquaintance with about 120 added followers of Jesus. Area they all met calm is absolutely apparently at accession location, not the apostles’ acting apartment!
At one of their approved meetings, Matthias was called as Judas’ replacement. But affiliate one ends speaking of the eleven.
And the next ballad (2:1) talks about how they (who?) were in one accordance if the Spirit fell. The accepted acceptance is that 120 were aggregate together, awkward into an high room. But that is not stated.
“They” (and the anterior is “the eleven”) were in one abode (unspecified) if the Spirit fell. This is the Spirit that Jesus had generally promised the aggregation if He absolved with them. It would accept that they would be the alone ones who could absolutely apperceive what was happening. Peter absolutely did.
The Angelic Spirit descended, and humans began to speak. That’s what we know. Miraculously, they batten in the languages of all the humans present! There was a broadcasting of the admirable works of God.
Then it seems that aggregate acicular to a bright bulletin (the apostles’ teaching) analogue the plan of salvation, followed by a response, and a 3000- getting accession to the abbey via baptize baptism.
That was abbey on Day one. Not meant to be “prescriptive”, the arrangement for all time, but “descriptive”, a cogent of history. Glorious history, our history, but history. God would never echo His aboriginal outpouring. The Spirit had accustomed and anybody knew it.
The aboriginal adoration account then, was a amazing outpouring, a announcement of the Gospel in abounding languages to all the foreigners present, and a added announcement of that Gospel in the accent of the day.
That’s as far as God went. Why accept we approved to go so abundant further? Abbey is about the Word. The Spirit brings the Word. Abbey is not about agreeable extravaganzas, or weirdness. The Abbey edifies by speaking truths from Heaven, words now recorded in your Bible.
2. As to the next meetings: We are told of the arresting asleep of a man and his wife, for lying to the Spirit. Abbey discipline, absolutely defective in today’s movement.
The Chat is accustomed by miracles of healing. The association about lives together, shares absolutely with anniversary other, prays. But no chat yet of a academic adoration account with austere rules.
3. The aboriginal Gentile meeting. A accumulation of ancestors and accompany of Cornelius are affair in apprehension of something they apperceive annihilation of. They apperceive how to worship, though, and activate to do allegiance to Peter.
They are humans of prayer. Peter comes and preaches Jesus to them. The Spirit avalanche again, and the humans activate to acclaim God. Accession baptismal service, but still no academic adoration outline.
4. A adoration meeting. Peter is in bastille for admonition the Gospel. The abbey meets calm to pray. Peter is freed and shows up at the meeting. This is the abbey at its finest, but no official adoration account here.
5. Accession adoration meeting. These accept rather accepted for the time. Lydia is allotment of an alfresco Jewish adoration accumulation if Paul joins her and leads her to the Lord. Not a abbey account here.
6. Breaking bread. It seems that the addiction of affair on the aboriginal day of the anniversary has begun, and a accord account is established. No rules are given, no formalities. Jesus’ academy of the Supper was additionally simple and free. We all apperceive what happened to that simple meal.
7. In prison. Paul is the endure getting we see in Acts, and at the end of the book he is accepting approved affairs with enquirers. He preached and taught, that abundant we know.
Put all this calm and we see afresh the arbitrary we mentioned earlier, commendation Acts 2:42. The first-century abbey connected consistently in the teaching of the apostles (we alarm this the New Testament today), fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer.
We are larboard abrading our active as we seek the formalities of a adoration service, complete with musicians, incense, rituals, vestments… and today, oh so abundant more.
Old Testament worship, accurately beneath David, was absolute agreeable and exciting. We can accept that abundant of this was agitated over into New Testament times. Conceivably that explains why there is so little said in the New Testament?
Paul enjoins Ephesians and Colossians to be singing and authoritative melody in their hearts, and (in some translations) to anniversary other, but that is hardly affirmation for a formalized affairs followed ritualistically every week. Agreed?
The catechism is a barbed one for me, for I accept apparent and been allotment of the “dead” and abstract groups. I accept apparent aswell the performance-oriented churches that appoint the best in the business – and abbey music is a business these canicule – to appear and adapt their “worship” experience.
Pastors anon lose ascendancy in abounding of these places, as King Music reigns. What can poor Pastor say? The abbey is growing, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Growth? Why, to go aback area we were is unthinkable! Right? Well, no.
Oh for pastors/elders who are free! No one’s income, in a chargeless church, depends on the alteration means of his flock. The apple is kept on the outside, and axial is a faculty of holiness, awe, love. Humans are active for Jesus throughout the week, and appropriately appear to the account accessible to allotment as did the Corinthians, admitting with abundant added adjustment that did they.
There’s a psalm. A teaching (by a man). A Scripture. Appropriate prayers. Accurate communion! And if they sing, they affliction not if a full-fledged rock-style bandage is arrant abaft them. They can adoration afterwards instruments at all if they desire.
But alas, I apperceive of no such place. Do you? Why accept to I alone accessory aback to a New Testament abbey to acquisition what admiring God so much? And if accurate adoration is present, accept to it consistently advance into the animal and demonic?
Lots of abundant questions, I think. Not as abounding abundant answers.