Several of the Psalms in the Old Testament call upon us to worship. For example, Psalm 95 opens with these words: “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95:1) Then, a few verses later, we are further urged to worship God: “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” (Psalm 95:6)
But why? Why should we worship God? This Psalm offers two compelling reasons. First, we should worship God because: “The LORD is a great God, and a great King about all gods.” (Psalm 95:3) None of the gods of the ancient world were real, nor are the modern gods of the various world religions. They all are lacking in real power, but the God we worship is “a great God, a great King above all gods.”
Second, we should worship God because “He is our God.” (Psalm 95:7) Not all men can say this, but Christians can. God is our God and he recognizes us as His people. What a great reason to worship and praise Him.
Much of what goes under the name of worship today is designed more to entertain than to praise God. Entertainment rather than praise is often the driving force behind modern changes in worship style. Sometimes it is even called a performance and accompanied with a round of applause from the audience.
This, however, is nothing new. The prophet Amos condemned his generation for their worship at Bethel and Gilgal adding “for this liketh you,” that is, they worship the way they liked – not the way God liked. (Amos
Our worship must be God-centered, not man-centered. Do not ask, “What worship style suits me?” but rather, “What has God
There is a tension in the modern church between those who hold to the traditions of the past and those who want to be more contemporary. While one group values the religious traditions that have developed through the centuries, the other group would change the church to be more in step with the modern world. Many churches have sought a compromise by offering both contemporary and traditional services. But there is another alternative – a better alternative. Return the church and Christianity to its original faith and practice discarding all human innovations whether ancient or modern. Man’s ideas in religion whether old or new, traditional or contemporary, are not acceptable to God. We should not look to the past or the present, but rather to God’s Word.
In an effort to be contemporary we must not plunge ahead of the teachings of Christ. (2 John 9) On the other hand the traditions of men should be given no place in Christianity. (Matthew 15:1-9) In the clash between traditional values and contemporary thinking, the church must not yield to either; but rather stand as “the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15) We must not allow ourselves to be “tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14) whether it arises from the traditions of our forefathers or the forward thinking of our contemporaries.
The world of worship is rapidly changing but are the new innovations sanctioned by the Word of God? Worship style is not good just because it is new, nor is it right just because it is a practice of long standing. Rather, is it approved of God?
Jesus taught that true worship must be “in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) To worship “in spirit” means that it must come from our inner self, that is, our heart. To worship “in truth” means that our worship must conform to God’s revealed truth.
In the current struggle over worship style we should not ask, “Does it suit my personal taste?” Nor “Is it meeting my felt needs?” Nor “Is it something I’m comfortable with?” But rather, “Is it sanctioned by God’s Word?”