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The Southgate Christian Fellowship

SCF What About

What about Praising God?

For some years now, God's Holy Spirit has been bringing Christians into a new experience of Praise and Worship. Actions like clapping and raising hands, dancing and the like, together with emotional expressions of joy and gladness, have disturbed and challenged more traditional forms of worship.

However, this new experience of Praise and Worship isn't just an exchange of modes of worship - these are just outward expressions. Rather, the Holy Spirit is bringing Christians into a new experience of freedom from our natural inhibitions so that we can enjoy God and love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

St Paul says "now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2Corinthians 3:17).

A delight

One of our greatest delights as Christians is to come together to praise and to worship God.

The Bible says that he made us in order that we might sing his praises at all times (Isaiah 43:21; Psalm 34:1). Sometimes this is a sacrifice because of how we feel, but we are encouraged to "continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name" (Hebrews 13:15). In other words, when we give God thanks and praise we are agreeing with him - what he says about himself, what he says about us, his assessment of the situation we are in.

Come into his presence

It is through thanks and praise that we enter the presence of God. David the Psalmist says that we "enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise" (Psalm 100:4).

Thanks and praise involves three things:

1: Expression - as we sing, speak and shout our thanks and praise to God.

The Bible says: "Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!" (Psalm 81:1) "...your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might" (Psalm 145:5).    

2: Action - as we clap, raise our hands, dance, and jump for joy.

The Bible says: "Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy" (Psalm 47:1). "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord" (Psalm 134:2). "Let them praise his name with dancing..." (Psalm 149:3). "...Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God" (Acts 3:8).

3: Emotion - whether we sing or shout, clap or dance, all are channels for our emotions of happiness, joy, gladness and rejoicing in our God.

The Bible says: "But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful" (Psalm 68:3). "Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs" (Psalm 100:2).

With instruments

In addition, the Bible mentions the accompaniment of musical instruments. "Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre" (Psalm 81:2-3). "Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord" (Psalm 150:3-6).

Why do churches like our have this type of worship?

Through thanks and praise we enter God's presence and then the Psalmist says: "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psalm 95:6).

Jesus said that God is looking for those who will worship him in spirit and in truth. "God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24). St Paul says: "...we worship by the Spirit of God, glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3).

Why do we sing choruses and repeat them ?

We do sing hymns, but mainly choruses (short, often one verse songs). St Paul told the early Christians to "sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). When we sing we use the song as a vehicle for what we want to express from our hearts to God, and so we sing them a number of times in order to gain maximum benefit from this.

Why do we sing in tongues and in English?

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, God gives us a heavenly language (speaking in tongues), and there are times in the service when we sing together in our heavenly language because we want to express something to God that we can't find the words for. "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed no-one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit...He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself...For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind" (1Corinthians 14:2,4,14-15).

 

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4).

 

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