Does that describe how you come into the house of the Lord? Does Psalms 95 begin to describe what happens here at Antioch when we gather inside the house of the Lord? I dare say that if all of us went to an athletic event together we would not be shocked if someone verbally cheered the home team, and we might even stand up and raise a cheer ourselves. How strange, then, that a similar enthusiasm about God does not take place when we come together on Sunday morning.
This morning I want to challenge this paradox of enthusiastic participation in sports and silent sitting in church. Today I want to suggest that we do not come out to church to visit with God, we come out to worship God as the Bible describes worship. That means that we have come to rejoice before God, to give thanks to God, to sing our praises to God and to humble ourselves and kneel in the presence of God.
We do not come out to see or speak with one another; we come out to lift our thanksgivings unto the Lord. We do not come because church attendance is the proper thing to do; we come because God has been good to us and we want the world to know it. We were sick and God healed us, we were sinners and God saved us, we were overwhelmed by the burdens and cares of the world and the Lord made a way somehow. The words of Psalms 95ought to establish our reason for being here today; "O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker). If you have not come to church to worship the Lord you have come to church for the wrong reason!
The question we need to ask and answer is what we mean by the word worship and what action is required in order to engage in worship? In order to address those issues, I want to use the old approach to writing a good news story, the writer task is answer six questions in the first two or three sentences; who, what, when, where, why and how. Let me apply those same principles to a discussion and a description of Christian worship. There are several things to consider when you begin a discussion about worship. On the one hand, there are matters that pertain to the forms of worship. Therefore, you are concerned with what you do, where you do it, when you do it and how you go about doing it.
These are important considerations, and they involve such things as the type of music that is used, or the order of worship that is followed or the version of scripture that is employed and many other matters of form.
However, it is important to remember that worship is not primarily about form. Before you get caught up in the issues of form and formulas (what, when, where and how), you need a compelling answer to the other two questions which are who and why. These two questions deal with the function of worship, and once you can answer the question of function the questions about form will take care of themselves. As in aerodynamics and other forms of engineering, form follows function even where worship is concerned. Once you know who is being worshipped and why such worship is deserved the matters of how to go about that worship can quickly be resolved.