Worship That Pleases God
(taken from the teaching given by Warren Van Kampen at the Tehillum School of Worship in Karachi, Pakistan; November 2017)
If we want our worship to please God, what do we need to do?
First, our lives must match our words. We should be developing holy habits that begin to root out sin in our lives. We should be living pure lives, compassionate toward others. See this instruction: “Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:16-27)
Jesus carries this teaching into the New Testament when He admonished the priests of Israel because they performed the traditional tithe, yet missed the bigger points of the law such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness (from Matthew 23:23). In other words, He pronounced judgment on the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, for doing their “worship” for show, their evangelism for prestige, and their criticism of others to demonstrate their “spirituality”.
The way we live affects the acceptability of our worship. We do not have to be perfect to worship God, but we do have to be committed to moving in a direction of purity, humility, and compassion. Here are a few particulars:
· God is the focus. Whether we are in the congregation or part of a worship team, we should remember that worship is not about impressing or pleasing other people, it is about reaching the heart of God. He is our only audience.
· It’s about love: The overarching attitude we should have in worship is love. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that whatever we do without love, we are just noisy gongs and clanging cymbal – mere noise.
· In spirit and truth: Our worship must include our spirits as well as the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, “ . . . true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (John 4:23b)
· Truth matters: What we pray, sing, chant, and recite must be consistent with the Word of God. We should be aware that there are worship songs written that state things that God did not say. Or sometimes they include words that are inconsistent with our lives or our intentions. Maybe we should not be singing, “In all I do, I honor You.” Do we? Can we? Probably not in this life. One worship leaders suggested revising words we can’t sing truthfully. In this case, the sentence could be changed into a prayer: “May all I do honor You.”
· Thankfulness pours out: Gratitude should be a dominant attitude we have as we worship the God who has given us everything we need for this life and the next. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
· Examine yourself: We should look honestly at our condition before a holy God. “Behold, thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom.” (Psalm 51:6)
· Be reverent: True worship must always be reverent. “…let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28)
The Bible gives many instructions about worship as it is central to our relationship with God. We were made to worship. We are most joy-filled, most effective and most fulfilled when we learn to worship well!