Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
Tributad al Señor la gloria debida a su nombre;
traed ofrenda, y venid delante de El; adorad al Señor en la majestad de la santidad.(LBLA)
Let us begin today with a question¹; What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 ) and to enjoy him for ever. ( Psalms 73:25 Psalms 73:26 ). True worship of God must be built upon the understanding that God is entitled to and deserves to be worshiped.
In the 96th Psalm David quotes from our main text in verses 7-9
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
So the question must be asked what is Worship? Today it can mean anything from dancing and waving flags in the isles to very solemn and ritualistic ceremonies. In other words from one end of the spectrum to the other. The correct answer as usual is somewhere in the middle.
Looking again at the Puritan Catechism we see this: Question 2 What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify him? Answer The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments ( Ephesians 2:20 ; 2 Timothy 3:16 ) are the only rule to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy him. ( 1 John 1:3 ). In other words it is scripture not some worship leader, youth pastor or the tread of the month club that dictates how we worship God. This applies to both our personal most importantly (as this is where the abuse is so prevalent) corporate worship)
There are hundreds of verses and instances referring to Worship in the bible we could look at but I will focus on three:
Vain Worship: Jesus calls out the Pharisees and scribes for worshiping according to the traditions of men; Matthew 15: 7-9 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” It concerns me that a large percentage of “Evangelicals” in America today fall into this category. One only has to read the survey results from showing church attendance, positions on Abortion, LBGTQ and other anti-biblical ideas.
Ignorant Worship: Paul informs the people at Mars hill how foolish they are to erect and idol to an unknown god, just in case they might have missed someone or something Acts 17:23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. This is the reason for Matthew 28:18-20 the Great Commission. It is our job to share the Gospel message to all who are ignorant of the truth of Christ.
True Worship: Jesus makes it clear that soon only those who worship in Spirit and Truth will be acceptable to God John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” This worship is God centered, is never about me, my experience or my feelings. It is rewarding not because “I” but because “HE” was glorified there are no other motivation for this type of worship except God and Him Glorified.
To be objective there are two common types (or principles) of worship seen in “Christian” churches the Regulative and Normative Principles. The Regulative principle basically says that it is scripture that dictates what we can do in our worship. An example nowhere in scripture do we see a church service being held in conjunction with a day at the beach or pool party so the Regulative would say it is a no go. The Normative says if scripture does not forbid it is is good to go so grab your swim suit. An extreme example, maybe but you tube it 😦
I am a strong advocate for the first, or Regulative Principle. God is sovereign and as such His Word (Sola Scriptura) dictates to us how we are to live and act in our daily lives. Most Evangelicals accept this, but want to worship god their own way not His (See Vain Worship above)
The bottom line if you desire Biblical Contentment you can not exempt yourself from personal and corporate Worship of God and it must be all be done in Spirit and Truth.
What Is the Regulative Principle of Worship?
The Regulative Principle of Worship by Derek Thomas
The Freedom of the Regulative Principle by Kevin DeYoung
Regulative Principle of the Church by Sam Waldron