Worship and Warfare
What do these two things have in common?
Synopsis of Bible Study 12/8/10
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
After completing the series Angels and Demons, all of us can testify that there demons that exist to prevent the manifestation of God’s will into our lives. Just as we accept the fact that there are angels that God has encamped around us, we must acknowledge that there are demonic forces (demons) who attempt to prevent God’s will from coming to pass in our lives.
Worship is the tool that allows us to transcend the attacks that occur in our lives.
A good framework for worship is:
Who God is (on one side) ———————————————————— Relationship (on the other side)
Worship is built out of a response to our revelation of who God is. How do we know who God is? We know who God is by experiences God allows each of us to go through. We think about the names of God and we know that the names of God come to us as adjectives (names that are descriptive of God’s nature). These names of God were given to us by people who had gone through certain events and consequently they called God by what those experiences meant to them. Ex- God never called himself Jehovah Jireh. Instead it was Abraham who called God this in Genesis 22 after he saw God make a way out of no way. Abraham said he would name this place Jehovah Jireh, because it was here that the Lord did provide for him. This is what we call experiential knowledge. We experience something, we come into knowledge, and God’s nature or character is revealed to us. Without those experiences, we would never have this revelation of God.
So God gives us a series of things to go through. If we were to interview everyone that is reading this and ask them who God is to them, each one would give a different answer. Ex- For somebody, he is a rent payer, for another he is tuition payer, for another he is money between jobs, and somebody else he is peace in the midnight hour. When you look at who God is, you will notice that your definition of God came out of some of the experiences you had. Now that we understand this, know that who God is to us might be different compared to who God is to another. God might not be the same from person to person, but we all agree that God is. This is not a denial or defense of God’s existence. We believe by faith according to Heb 11.6 that no man goes to God without first believing God is. Hebrews 11:6 6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
So the question is not in knowing who God is. The idea is because we know through experiences that God reveals himself to us by bringing us into the knowledge of who he is. Now that we realize who he is, it solidifies, strengthens us, and pulls us into relationship with him. We have a sense of religion, a religious model, or a religious institution that is supposed to pull us closer to God.
How does this happen?
Religion – God comes and delivers us from religion through Jesus Christ and bring us into relationship. So the revelation of who God is one thing but the relationship is a result of the revelation. This means you can be in church all your life and never have a true relationship with God, because you have never known who he really is for yourself. In other words you can end up knowing who he is based on second and third hand information, but that is not your revelation. Your revelation must be personal.
Hold on to these words. On one hand we have who God is and on the next hand we have relationship.
- The enemy wants to make your reality so messed up, you stop focusing on who God is and start focusing on what’s happening around you. Who God is remains the same no matter how or what you go through changes.
- The enemy tries to get you out of relationship with God by asking, “If God is who you say he is, then why are you experiencing this?”Ex- If God is a healer, why are you still sick? If God is a deliverer, why are you still in the same situation you are in? The warfare is in your mind. The devil gets you to question why you are still in the same situation you are in. When we really have a relationship with God based on our experiences that we’ve had, we recognize that who God is doesn’t change even if our situation changes. So if God doesn’t deliver us, he’s still is deliver. If he doesn’t give us the job we wanted, he is still a provider.
- You can’t get bogged down. The warfare is always in what, how, when. What is happening to me? How am I going to get out of this? When is it going to happen for me? This is all warfare.
- Worship doesn’t deal with that. Worship deals with who? We may not know how or what or when, but what keeps us in our right mind is who? We may not know the how, what, or the when, but we know the who and as long as we know who, we know that God has it all in control. Worship then is who he is and Relationship is a direct result of knowing who he is.
Some Hebrew Words:
- Shachah (7812 shaw-khaw) – The word meaning bow down before an object of honor. It is a show of humility. Nehemiah 8:6 says 6And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. – In this scripture, Israelites bowed low and worshipped the Lord. Psalm 95:6 says 6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. – People will come to a place of humility in worship
- abad (5647 aw-bad) – This means service or work for God. Deals with as long as I am in the purpose of God, everything I do in his will is considered worship. Ex-When we go on our job, our job is worship to God, because we want God to get the glory. As a result, every day we wake up and go to our job, we say “God is awesome because he allowed us the opportunity to have what others wished they had.” We understand that we must go to work on time, because God doesn’t get the glory if we represent him in a trifling manner. We must finish our projects. We shouldn’t strive not to be as good as, instead we should strive to be better than. We must operate in the spirit of excellence. We must change the environment on our job. We must be the one that is speaking positive about things instead of negative so that God is glorified. We don’t get caught up in calling our boss names in the break room. Even though we don’t get along with folk on the job, we want to worship God, so everything that we do, we try to do our best, because we want to worship him. Everything you do in purpose is abad.
- yir’ah – This means reverence. Fear and reference. It is recognition of a higher authority. Until you truly reference God, you will never really worship him. Ex- When you go to court and the bailiff says “all rise”, you stand up. Why do you stand up? It is because you give honor and reference to the authority of the judge. Whether you met the judge or not, you respect the authority. How can you give the judge that much authority on the bench, but sit during worship? It is a labor for you to stand up when the presence of the Lord is in this place but you never question standing up for a judge. It is only when you reverence and come under the authority of God, that you will reference him. You will honor him, because you know him. Experiences have pushed you to this place.
General Concepts of Worship
- Honor, respect, devotion, reverence, veneration, adoration, and admiration towards an object, are all parts of worship.
- The first two concepts that we looked at the beginning of this lesson was “who God is” and “relationship.” Ex – Let’s assume that the pulpit in a church is God. Now let’s examine how we get into relationship with God. We look at the church as a tool to point us towards God. We come to church to get closer to God. Every day we desire to get closer to God, and then we backslide and take 3 steps back. We come back to church (one step forward) and we backslide again (3 steps back). We get caught in this cycle of back and forth. It is hard to get in the infinite space with God. That’s why a lot us don’t reverence or worship God. We can’t worship God at a distance. We need to get closer to him. At a distance it just becomes a religious act to us. Ex- We lift our hands in worship just because the praise leaders tell us to and we stand up in worship because somebody told us to. This is because we are at a distance from God. Because God knows the struggle we have trying to get intimate with him, watch what he does. Ex- We pray (One step towards God) and then we hook up with our Ex (3 steps back). God says he will take us through some things and when we come out we will say, “I am closer now than I was before I went through this”. Then God will take us through something else again. You hate it while you are going through, but God knows why you have to go through it. When you come out of that storm, you will be so close to him, your worship is no longer manufactured by religion. It becomes real. Nobody has to ask you or force you to do anything any longer. Now because of our experiences, we know who God is and our relationship is real.
- When you worship, know that all worship is not worship to God. All of us have an innate desire to recognize something or someone beyond ourselves.
6 areas a lot of us mess up.
- Some people worship natural objects. In history there were sun worshippers.
- Some people worship constructed images (idols). In Acts 17:22 it says 22Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. Paul also told the church of Corinth in 1 Corinthians 10:20 20But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. – They had been sacrificing to devils. Paul warned that they should not be doing this.
- Some people worship human intellect. It is ok to have a great mind, be brilliant, and honor those with great minds, but you don’t worship them. Some of these people that have great minds don’t think they need God. Romans 1:25 says 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. – How can you worship the created over the creator?
- Some people worship material objects– These are things such as autos, stocks and bonds, and houses. These people are those who have changed stewardship to ownership. They missed the fact that God gave them a car or the house to be a good steward over it. The question should be raised, why did the Lord bless us with the home or car? Was the car just to drive us to work with four empty seats? Why did he bless us with the home? Though you have the deed to your house or the title to your car, it is still belongs to the Lord. We can’t worship this stuff, because if you do, you will wind up putting your tithe in your rims instead of giving it to God.
- Some people worship people– Some people worship preachers, heroes, politicians, musicians, and etc… Don’t worship your Pastor, just trust them. Here is an example of worshipping your Pastor; if you don’t want to come to your church when the Pastor is not preaching, you are border-line worshipping him. We say this, because through the God in him, you don’t believe that he wouldn’t leave you in good hands he isn’t going to be there. Ex- There is some people think Elvis is still alive. They have shrines built for him and everything. Because they worshipped him, they refuse to accept his death.
- Some people worship associations – Some people sororities, fraternities, and societies. They don’t touch their fraternity apparel. You are worshiping an object when you let it change who you are.
- Activity oriented– We come, we sing, we pray, we listen, and we serve.
- Emotion oriented– We like what makes us feel good.
- Intellect oriented worship – This is about how we think or believe. It is about our ideology.
- Benefit oriented – This is about what do we get out of it. Some people get strength, some get patience, some energy, and others blessings.
- Religious oriented worship can mess you up. What happens is you become event centered worshippers. There is a certain time you have to worship or you can’t seem to get into worship mode. Ex- Like the Jewish Sabbath (day of rest) or Christian Sunday. You feel if you can’t worship on this day, then you can’t worship. Jesus dealt with this when he said Sabbath wasn’t made for man, but man for the Sabbath.
- Place of worship– These are people that can’t worship unless they are in a building that looks like a church. Ex- Before the Old HB location was built, Mt Zion met at the world Baptist Center and then the TSU Gentry Center. Some folk complained that it didn’t feel like church in the gym. Remember, the church is in you.
- Procedures of worship – These are those who must have programs, art forms, and must light candles as part of their worship experience. For them, the preacher has to have on ecclesiastical garments. If the preacher is not dressed accordingly, then it is not worship to them. If it doesn’t fit the way they used to do it, then they can’t worship.
Christian Concepts of Worship
- It is not about event centered worship or activity centered worship. It is Christ centered worship. Christian worship must be Christ in action. Once we know who God is, and we have experiences that have brought us to this revelation, then our relationship with him is solidified and strengthened based on what we have gone through and as a result, now we know who he is.
- Based on who he is our expression of worship is no longer just a verb. It is noun. Worship is not just something that we do, it is something we are. We don’t’ just come to the church building to worship. Ex- This is like a husband who doesn’t come home, doesn’t say anything to you all day, doesn’t compliment you all week, and then he wants to be intimate. Just because he says come on, he figures you are supposed to be ready. The wife can’t be turned on and off like this. Work has to be put in beforehand. We do God the same way. We don’t pray, we half come to church, we half talk to him, and then we ask the Lord to step in on our behalf. If out of his mercy he does step in, soon after we go back to our normal routine.
- Wherever we go, worship is there. Wherever we go is where worship is, because we are worship.
- In John 12 there are two stories which are result of what happened in chapter 11. In chapter 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Mary and Martha were mad, because they thought Jesus was too late arriving there. They needed a revelation, because they clearly didn’t know who Jesus was. Jesus says I am the resurrection. He brought them into who he was. As a result, they entered into a greater relationship with Christ. In chapter 12 we see the manifestation of this relationship. Lazarus was in the house with Mary and Martha, about to eat. 6 days before the Passover came in Bethany; Lazarus who had been dead was sitting there. They made Jesus supper and Martha served it. Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Jesus. Lazarus the one who was dead had the mindset of “Now I am alive, so wherever the man who raised me up is, I will be.” When you been through some stuff, wherever God is, that’s where you want to be! Lazarus is hitched to Jesus. Mary took a pound of expensive oil and she bowed down and poured it on Jesus feet. She washed his feet with her hair. The aroma filled the whole house. Judas who would later betray him said they could have feed the poor with this expensive oil. He thought it was wasteful. Jesus said to religion; leave her alone, because she saved this worship for this moment. People who have relationship will offer their best to God. Religion will always say that’s too much. Jesus is on the side of relationship. People who have relationship know who God is. People who are critical are too far away to appreciate this expression of worship.
- Jesus is on the side of relationship, not religion. Jesus says the poor you will have always, but he reminds the disciples that they weren’t going to have him always. Much of the Jews knew Jesus was there and they didn’t come to see Jesus only. They wanted to see the evidence (Lazarus who was raised from the dead). This is why people don’t like us. We are evidence of what God can do. If the enemy can take you out, they destroy the evidence.
- Lazarus represents revelation. What warfare is trying to do is kill your revelation. Without revelation, people will never know who God is. You been through too much to have your revelation killed. You can’t kill someone that has been killed and brought back to life.
- Through revelation others are saved. The Scribes and Pharisees wanted to kill Lazarus the revelation. People will come to know Christ if we start talking.
- A lot of people came to the feast because they heard Jesus was coming. They wanted to be where Jesus was. They took branches and palm trees with them and they cried Hosanna blessed is the king of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
- Jesus when he found a young donkey sat on it. John 12:15 says 15Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.
- These things his disciples didn’t’ understand at first. John 12:16 says 16These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.- We went through things before we finally got it. They remembered that these things were written about Jesus.
- People that saw Jesus raise Lazarus up were witnesses. John 12:17 says 17The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.- When you worship the king, you are a witness of what he has done.
- The Pharisees say they can’t stop it, because the whole world has shifted their focus on Jesus. John 12:18 says 18For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.- When you can come to a place where you stop focusing on all the things the enemy is trying to throw at you, then start focusing on who God is in your life. This is where worship really easy. When you complain, you are glorifying the devil. When you can say, I know who he and I protest all the things that are coming at me, then you have chosen not to give them mental space or time out of our mouth. We give God glory for who he is.
- In verse 10 they wanted to know who Jesus was. Matthew 21:10says 10And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
- In verse 11 the multitude said this is Jesus. Matthew 21: 11 says 11And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. -You want to know why we lift our hands and give him glory; it is because we know who he is. We have a relationship him that is so amazing; no one can rob who he is from us. We aren’t too focused on what we are going through; we are focusing on giving him glory. If we give God glory, the enemy can’t prevail. The Pharisees wanted to kill Lazarus, but the worship was too great. If you worship God, he will fight your battles. If you learn to lift your hands in a real manner, he will fight that battle for you. There is power in worship. Your warfare can be won in worship.