Lesson 5 An Everyday Expression

MAIN IDEA: We worship God by serving Him in our everyday lives with reverence and awe.

In this class we have been exploring the expression of our worship, particularly our expression of worship in the corporate worship service. Now let’s focus on our expression of worship beyond the sanctuary.

Paul Lived a Life of Worship and Service
As we have emphasized throughout our study, worship is to be a lifestyle. The apostle Paul understood this clearly because he lived a life of worship and service, as these words in his letter to the Romans indicate:

God is my witness, Whom I serve with my [whole] spirit [rendering priestly and spiritual service] in [preaching] the Gospel and [telling] the good news of His Son, how incessantly I always mention you when at my prayers. Romans 1:9, AMP

The word serve used here is the Greek word lateuro, which also can be translated “worship.” Paul’s ministry itself was an expression of worship. It was not something he did because tradition required it. Paul served — worshiped — because he had a personal revelation of God.

You probably know the story: Paul had an amazing encounter with God on the road to Damascus that changed his life completely. At the time, his name was actually Saul, and he was one of the most notable persecutors of Christians in his day. But on the road to Damascus, he received a firsthand view of God’s overwhelming power, grace, and mercy. This encounter ultimately changed his entire direction in life:

As [Saul] traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” “Who are You, Lord?” he said. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. Acts 9:3-5

In that moment, Saul received a revelation of God — of who He is and what He had done — and his life would never be the same. Having been blinded by the light, Saul made his way to Damascus; and there God opened His eyes — not only to see the world around him, but also to see the ministry to which he would devote the rest of his life.

As we know, Paul paid a great price for his worship and service of the Lord Jesus. Yet as his revelation of God grew throughout the years, Paul responded with more and more worship and service. Paul knew the hopeless condition from which God had rescued him — he had a clear revelation of who God is and what God had done in his life — and he was determined to live a lifestyle of worship and service.

Worshiping with Godly Fear, Reverent Awe, and Expectation
We in the Gentile world continue to benefit from Paul’s courageous lifestyle of worship, and we can respond to God’s revelation with equal fervor and dramatic results in our own lives. When we worship the Lord, we have the privilege of responding to His greatness and to the grace God expressed when He reached down to us in love. And as we worship, we can expect His presence to be revealed.

What are some ways that God reveals His presence to you today?

Although God is our loving Father and our Friend — which He has demonstrated to us through the suffering and the shed blood of His Son, Christ Jesus — we should never worship Him without godly fear and reverent awe, acknowledging the overwhelming power and glory of His presence:

Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

God is a good God, and He wants to hear your voice proclaiming adoration, appreciation, desperation, and expectation. He wants that voice to be expressed not only once a week but also every day, demonstrating a lifestyle of worship — a life that is being transformed by His Word.

As we draw near to God, we must come with a pure heart in response to who He is and what He has done. Words and actions that fit the worship mold but come from hearts that are not surrendered to God are always offered in vain.

However, when we come with words of praise offered from hearts that are fully surrendered to God’s truth, we can count on God to respond, and the cycle is complete: God initiates, we respond, and He responds to our worship with His glorious presence!

“These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men” Matthew 15:8-9
Take a few moments to read the full account of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus found in Acts 9:1-19a.

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

“Who are You, Lord?” he said.

“I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting,” He replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Then Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Here I am, Lord!” he said.

“Get up and go to the street called Straight,” the Lord said to him, “to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, since he is praying there. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands on him so he can regain his sight.”

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.  And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”

But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites.  I will show him how much he must suffer for My name!”

So Ananias left and entered the house. Then he placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Have you ever had a similarly “intense” encounter with God — an experience of God in which you received a powerful revelation of who God is and/or what God has done? Those who traveled with Paul that day must have been completely shocked by the experience as well. Have you ever had a friend or family member who had an intense encounter with God?

If you answered yes to either question, please share the story a family member or friend. A personal testimony — such as Paul’s testimony and the testimonies of his traveling companions — is a powerful tool with great purpose in God’s hands. If you have never had an “intense” encounter with God, you still have a story — a testimony — to share! Whether it is intense or less dramatic, any encounter with God can be equally powerful when it is freely shared with others. Serving others and sharing your story with them as you live your life day by day is an expression of worship.

Points to Ponder
• God delights in our unique expressions of worship in response to His revelation.
• God created music and musicians to precede and proclaim His presence, His power, and His Word; and to prepare His people to receive Him.
• God created singers and musicians to be “lead worshipers,” but the pastor is the true worship leader.
• Four key parts of the worship service and one special element of worship can help us to express our worship.
• We worship God by serving Him in our everyday lives with reverence and awe.

• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?

Resources used for this class:
• Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for lateuro (Strong’s 3000).” Blue Letter Bible [online]. 19962008 [accessed 26 August 2008]. Available from the Internet: cf.blueletterbible.org.

Lesson 4 Worshiping Together – The Corporate Worship Service

MAIN IDEA: Four key parts of the worship service and one special element of worship can help us to express our worship.

As we have seen, music is a crucial part of the corporate worship service. Much more than a longstanding tradition, music fulfills a specific, God-ordained purpose in worship: it proclaims God’s power, presence, and Word — preparing the hearts of His people to receive Him. Music is a vital element in many parts of the worship service, yet there is much more to the service.

Dr. Robert Webber, one of the most highly regarded teachers on worship of our day, breaks the worship service into four major or distinct parts:
• The Coming In
• The Proclamation of the Word
• The Table of the Lord
• The Going Out

The Coming In
As we come into the sanctuary, we are literally and figuratively setting ourselves apart from the world. If you’ve ever tried to get a family of toddlers or teenagers to church on time, you understand how “worldly” Sunday mornings can be!

We have been out in the world all week long, so to speak. Now, we are coming into the house of God to encounter the King of kings. We sing at the beginning of the worship service because music and musicians were created to precede the power, presence, and Word of God. We sing as we separate ourselves from the world in order to prepare our hearts to encounter His presence.

What happens to you personally — mentally, physically, and spiritually — as you begin to worship through singing in a church service?

In addition to singing, we also pray and read Scripture during this part of the worship service. The Coming In is our opportunity to fully turn our attention to the Lord — not something to get out of the way so that we can get on to the sermon! Once the coming in — the separating from the world — has occurred, we are ready to proceed with the worship service.

The Proclamation of the Word
The second part of the worship service is the proclamation of the Word of God. Have you ever noticed that a service of praise music without some proclamation of the Word just seems incomplete? That’s because it is incomplete. Music was created to precede the Word, not to replace it. When we gather in God’s name without the reading or the preaching of the Word, the worship service is incomplete.

Jesus will always be the cornerstone of our worship; He is the Living Word of God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. John 1:1-3

Our understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done is determined by teaching and preaching from the written Word of God. As we grasp the depth of His sacrifice and His promises to those who believe, our worship expression will increase in consistency and freedom — and our lives will continue to be changed forever.

The Table of the Lord
The table of the Lord is given as a visible reminder of God’s eternal sacrifice in Christ Jesus. The Lord’s table must never become a ritual or just a tradition. It is a vital and crucial worship expression. The shed blood and broken body of our Lord will never lose its power.

Whether we call it the Lord’s table, the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, the Lord’s table continues to unite us. Whether we observe it weekly, monthly, or every now and then, remembering the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ is crucial to our worship. Jesus is the full revelation of God, and He initiates our response of worship. Jesus has been the center point of worship for the church throughout the centuries for good reason, and the table of the Lord brings our entire focus back to Him — inspiring further worship and proclamation of His gospel!

The Table of the Lord is observed at different times during the worship service and with different frequency throughout the Body of Christ. Whenever it occurs in the service, remembering the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ is indeed crucial to our worship.

The Going Out
The worship service concludes with the going out. This is a crucial part of the worship service during which we now precede the Word of God out into the world in which we live.

We have separated ourselves for a time to receive the Word and the table. Now it is time for us to take that Word back into our homes, schools, offices, and neighborhoods. We often sing as we go. We also pray as we go. We have been reminded of the great blessing and favor God has brought in our lives, and now it’s time take His presence everywhere we go. We are the body of Christ and the light unto the world:

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

During these four key parts of the worship service, we experience many biblical elements of worship — prayer, praise, thanksgiving, charity/giving, confession, preaching and teaching, and Scripture reading, to name a few. All of these are appropriate and necessary elements of the worship service which you most likely experience on a regular basis. But there is one other central expression of worship that, although it may not be a regular part of the weekly worship service, can never be overlooked: baptism!

Baptism: A Central Expression of Worship
No other worship expression of the church captures the essence of our Christian journey quite like baptism. It is indeed the visible demonstration of the grace gift of salvation and the Great Exchange — our total immersion into the life of Jesus that He has given in exchange for our life of sin. Baptism should be a time of great joy, celebration, and worship.

Not long ago, my coauthor Stan told me about one of the most amazing worship services I’ve ever heard of, and baptism was the focus. Stan and his wife, Sue, stood for over five hours one Sunday morning worshiping, watching, and rejoicing as over 400 people entered the waters of baptism! The room was simply electric with the presence of the Lord, as you can imagine.

Individuals, couples, and entire families made a public declaration that day — their lives had been immersed with Christ, and all things were new! I grew up with somber baptism services, and Stan’s description helped to reinforce the reality that baptism is an act of exuberant and joy-filled worship. “Listen in” as he describes the experience:

The singers and musicians surrounded the pool. They sang, they cheered, and they led us all in worship as we witnessed this unique worship expression of so many people. Those who entered the water that day came with great expectation and joy! They symbolically left their old sin patterns, addictions, and failures “dead” in the pool that day. They believed that God is indeed faithful, and they arose from the waters as new creations.

Words could never describe the effects of our collision of faith and expectation with the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the sanctuary that day. Those 400 dear saints had a revelation of who God is and what He had done — and nothing could stop them from expressing their deep gratitude to God as they experienced baptism. And as they honored God with their lives, we were all changed.

After reading this amazing account of the baptism service, don’t you want to stop and worship God for the gift of your own salvation? I know I do! Think of a recent baptism service at your church. What made it memorable for you? Did you consider it an act of worship at the time?

You see, there really is a Redeemer. He is holy and just, faithful and true. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness, and it cost Him life itself. He has given us the freedom to respond to His great grace by exchanging our flawed and failed lives for His life of liberty and victory over sin and death! We are the redeemed, and God’s love and sacrifice for us know no limits. Once we truly understand this, there should be no limit to our expression of worship. He alone is worthy!

Read More About
John the Baptist baptizes in the wilderness: Luke 3:1-6
Jesus is baptized: Matt. 3:13-17
Buried and raised with Christ: Rom. 6:1-4; Col. 2:11-1

• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?

Lesson 3 The True Worship Leader

MAIN IDEA: God created singers and musicians to be “lead worshipers,” but the pastor is the true worship leader.

As we have seen, singers and musicians play a crucial part in preparing the people to express their hearts in worship and receive the power, presence, and Word of God. We commonly refer to the leader of a group of worshipers as the worship leader. However, we must be careful not to overlook the true worship leader. Consider these two examples from the Old Testament:

David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring the ark of the LORD to the place he had prepared for it. Then David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their relatives as singers and to have them raise their voices with joy accompanied by musical instruments — harps, lyres, and cymbals. 1 Chronicles 15:3,16

At that time Solomon assembled at Jerusalem the elders of Israel — all the tribal heads, the ancestral chiefs of the Israelites — in order to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD up from the city of David, that is, Zion. … . Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the entire congregation of Israel … . When Solomon finished praying, fire descended from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 Chronicles 5:2; 6:12; 7:1

The model God gave us for worship includes a major role for the singers and musicians. But the true worship leader in each of these instances was the one who presided over the whole event. In the first example, the worship leader was King David; in the second, the worship leader was King Solomon. Presiding over such gatherings was part of the king’s role as the spiritual leader of the nation of Israel. Similarly, the one who presides over the worship service today should be the spiritual leader of the congregation.

The Pastor as Worship Leader
We commonly refer to the music leader or minister of music as the worship leader, but the true worship leader is the spiritual leader of the church: the pastor. Every part of the worship service must be under the pastor’s authority and direction. The pastor is the one who is charged by God with the overall welfare of God’s precious lambs, including God’s servant who is in charge of the music.

Singers and musicians have a very specific purpose in worship: to prepare our hearts to receive the Word. They are created and called to be “lead worshipers,” and that is a crucial role in the worship life of the church. But again, it is the pastor who is the true leader in worship. When this distinction is clearly understood, the congregation benefits greatly.

I have served in full-time worship ministry in seven churches across the southern part of the United States; and now as Director of Worship for LifeWay Christian Resources, I regularly attend worship services and interact with pastors and music leadership across the country. One thing I have observed is that when the pastor and music minister or leader understand who is the true worship leader and work together, walking in unity, the songs selected for a worship service support and strengthen the Word of God that is preached or taught in the service. And when this happens, the congregation indeed benefits greatly!

Let’s read 1 Chronicles 6:
They brought the ark of God and placed it inside the tent David had pitched for it. Then they offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings in God’s presence. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh. Then he distributed to each and every Israelite, both men and women, a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake. David appointed some of the Levites to be ministers before the ark of the Lord, to celebrate the Lord God of Israel, and to give thanks and praise to Him. Asaph was the chief and Zechariah was second to him. Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel played the harps and lyres, while Asaph sounded the cymbals and the priests Benaiah and Jahaziel blew the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God.

David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving
On that day David decreed for the first time that thanks be given to the Lord by Asaph and his relatives:
Give thanks to Yahweh; call on His name;
proclaim His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him; sing praise to Him;
tell about all His wonderful works!
Honor His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
Search for the Lord and for His strength;
seek His face always.
Remember the wonderful works He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced, 
you offspring of Israel His servant,
Jacob’s descendants—His chosen ones.

He is the Lord our God;
His judgments govern the whole earth.
Remember His covenant forever—
the promise He ordained for a thousand generations,
the covenant He made with Abraham,
swore to Isaac,
and confirmed to Jacob as a decree,
and to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
“I will give the land of Canaan to you
as your inherited portion.”
When they were few in number,
very few indeed, and temporary residents in Canaan
wandering from nation to nation
and from one kingdom to another,
He allowed no one to oppress them;
He rebuked kings on their behalf:
“Do not touch My anointed ones
or harm My prophets.”

Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Proclaim His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonderful works among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and highly praised;
He is feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens. 
Splendor and majesty are before Him;
strength and joy are in His place.
Ascribe to the Lord, families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to Yahweh the glory of His name;
bring an offering and come before Him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness;
tremble before Him, all the earth.

The world is firmly established;
it cannot be shaken.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord is King!”
Let the sea and everything in it resound;
let the fields and all that is in them exult.
Then the trees of the forest will shout for joy before the Lord,
for He is coming to judge the earth.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
And say: “Save us, God of our salvation;
gather us and rescue us from the nations
so that we may give thanks to Your holy name
and rejoice in Your praise.
May Yahweh, the God of Israel, be praised
from everlasting to everlasting.”
Then all the people said, “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”

So David left Asaph and his relatives there before the ark of the Lord’s covenant to minister regularly before the ark according to the daily requirements. He assigned Obed-edom and his 68 relatives. Obed-edom son of Jeduthun and Hosah were to be gatekeepers. David left Zadok the priest and his fellow priests before the tabernacle of the Lord at the high place in Gibeon to offer burnt offerings regularly, morning and evening, to the Lord on the altar of burnt offerings and to do everything that was written in the law of the Lord, which He had commanded Israel to keep. With them were Heman, Jeduthun, and the rest who were chosen and designated by name to give thanks to the Lord—for His faithful love endures forever. Heman and Jeduthun had with them trumpets and cymbals to play and musical instruments of God. Jeduthun’s sons were at the gate. Then all the people left for their homes, and David returned home to bless his household.

Can you see in this chapter that David, God’s appointed leader, was in charge of the whole worship service (which lasted for several days)? The singers and musicians were crucial to the service. They were the lead worshipers. But the Ark of the Covenant — the resident place of the power, presence, and Word of God — was the centerpiece of worship. And the musicians were clearly directed by the true worship leader: King David.

I often explain the contemporary corporate worship experience this way: the pastor is to the worship service what the mother of the bride is to the wedding ceremony. If you’ve been to more than one wedding, you know what I mean. We all take our cues from the mother of the bride. When she stands, we stand. When she sits, we sit. When she leaves, we follow.

In the same way, members of the congregation take “worship cues” from the pastor. When the pastor is a worshiper and understands his role as worship leader, there is great freedom in worship.

Tom McCoy is such a pastor. Tom is the pastor of the church Teresa and I currently attend, Thompson Station Church. Tom and his wife, Leighann, have served the church for nearly 20 years. They started with a congregation of about 20 people; and when Teresa and I joined a few years ago, we became part of a church family of about 2,000 people.

Tom truly understands his role as worship leader. Although we have a wonderful music program with great music leadership, I believe the key to this lies in the fact that Tom is a worshiper. I enjoy being in services with Tom because I know he is going to worship. Whether he is on the front row or on the platform, Tom’s response to God’s revelation is clear: he worships! And we all follow his lead. His response to God brings great freedom to all of us.

I love attending worship services where the pastor and music leadership — the “lead worshipers” — are moving in unity. The impact on the congregation is obvious when leaders understand their God-given roles in the worship service. When they do, God’s people truly are the beneficiaries.

• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?

Lesson 2 Expressing Worship Through Music

MAIN IDEA: God created music and musicians to precede and proclaim His presence, His power, and His Word; and to prepare His people to receive Him.

Worship is often expressed through a song. In fact, music and musicians were created for worship. In 1 and 2 Chronicles, we are given a clear picture of God’s plan for musicians in corporate worship. Whether or not you are a musician, it is important for you as a worshiper to understand how God desires to use singers, musicians, and worship leaders in the local church.

Musicians in the House of the Lord
In the Old Testament, God set aside 38,000 Levites for His service in the temple. Their duties were numerous and ranged from ministering to the people and taking offerings to judging and making decisions when there were controversies (see 1 Chron. 23–26).

Of those 38,000 Levites, 4,000 (more than 10 percent) were appointed by King David as musicians. Music must be important to God!

Prior to the building of the temple, when the Ark of the Covenant — the resident place of God’s power, presence, and Word — was brought from the house of Obed-edom to the tabernacle in Jerusalem, King David commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their kindred as musicians. Since these musical Levites were selected by their peers, talent and skill certainly must have been a consideration. I like to think of this group as the first church music department! It was at that time that the musician’s role was clearly defined:

David, the elders of Israel, and the commanders of the thousands went with rejoicing to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom. And because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. Now David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, as well as the singers and Chenaniah, the music leader of the singers. David also wore a linen ephod. So all Israel was bringing the ark of the covenant of the LORD up with shouts, the sound of the ram’s horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and the playing of harps and lyres. 1 Chronicles 15:25-28

As the musicians led the procession, the purpose for which they were created was revealed:
• God created music and musicians to precede and proclaim His presence, His power, and His Word; and to prepare His people to receive Him. Shortly thereafter, King David created the first church music department when he stationed the singers and musicians around the Ark of the Covenant: David appointed some of the Levites to be ministers before the ark of the LORD, to celebrate the LORD God of Israel, and to give thanks and praise to Him. 1 Chronicles 16:4. In so doing, the rest of God’s purpose for musicians was revealed:
• God created music and musicians to lead His people as they celebrate, thank, and praise the Lord. God did not create and appoint musicians to worship for the people but to lead the people as they worshiped! God wasn’t interested in a worship experience for the people to sit back and enjoy. He set the musicians in place to lead the people in their own expression of worship.

Read More About It
• David commands the Levites to appoint their kindred as musicians: 1 Chron. 15:16-24
• Musicians precede the Ark of the Covenant: 1 Chron. 15:25-28
• David stations singers and musicians around the Ark in the tabernacle: 1 Chron. 16:4
• The singers, musicians, and people praise the Lord: 1 Chron. 16:7-36
• Music is a part of regular worship: 1 Chron. 16:37-43
• David appoints 4,000 temple musicians: 1 Chron. 23:1-6

Musicians Lead the People’s Expression of Worship
The same process of worship was repeated at the dedication of the temple under King Solomon. However, this time, as the musicians fulfilled their purpose in preceding the power, presence, and Word of God, the presence of the Lord fell on the people in such might that the whole service was disrupted:

The trumpeters and singers joined together to praise and thank the LORD with one voice. They raised their voices, accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and musical instruments, in praise to the LORD: For He is good; His faithful love endures forever; the temple, the LORD’s temple, was filled with a cloud. And because of the cloud, the priests were not able to continue ministering, for the glory of the LORD filled God’s temple. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14

The singers and musicians were one — harmonically and spiritually — and the King of kings responded with His presence! Now that’s what I want to see in our worship assemblies, don’t you?

Music is a great gift from God. Music and musicians serve a crucial purpose in our worship expression. In this era of recorded music and digital transmission through radio, television, cell phones, iPods, and computers, we have access to great worship music that can lead us into God’s presence throughout each day. Those recordings are often the work of musicians who are fulfilling their purpose in leading each of us into worship, praise, and celebration.

So, sing along, and sing loud! Proclaim God’s love, goodness, greatness, and imminent return. Don’t allow the stones or even the finest musicians to worship for you! God created you for worship, and He loves to hear your unique expression of praise.

Let’s review what we’ve just learned:
• Of the 38,000 Levites appointed in 1 Chronicles, how many were musicians?
• Talent and skill — which must be continually developed by even the best musicians — were important in the selection of the musical Levites, but as we learned in the last lesson, God looks not at the outward form of worship but at the condition of the worshiper’s ________________.
• Do you think God has a different standard for talented musicians on the platform during the worship service?

I hope you have been utilizing worship music throughout our study together. I know from personal experience that playing worship music, even on days that I don’t feel like worshiping, leads me into God’s presence. As you have opportunity to listen, be sure to join the musicians and raise your voice of worship.

• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?

Class 6 “Expression”

“Each of us was created by God for relationship with Him, but we can only enjoy that relationship by God’s grace. God’s great love for us, demonstrated in Christ Jesus, initiates our response. The only reasonable and adequate response is our expression of worship.”

Let’s begin to connect with this class by considering the following questions:
• Read Philippians 4:8 again from the last class: Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. What are some things that God taught you in this passage?
• In the last class we learned about Jehoshaphat. Is there a Jehoshaphat-like circumstance that you are struggling with right now? Are there some things the Lord has revealed that could encourage others?
• Was there a time when you were impacted by seeing God’s Word doing what He sent it out to do? Think about this experience.
• Has God begun acting on some of the prayers you’ve lifted up during this course?
• What worship activity has impacted you the most? Why?

Watch and listen as Mike sets the stage for our study on worship by explaining our “Expression” of worship to God.

Engage by reflecting on the following questions from the Word of God and Mike’s message:
• Read Psalm 100:4: Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. Can you think of times when we try to enter God’s courts in the wrong way? What does that look like?
• What are your thoughts about the comfort zone that Mike describes at Bessie’s church before her cancer trials? What do you think motivated them to accept Bessie’s new form of expression?
• Mike reminds us that “worship felt needs to be worship expressed.” With what forms of worship expression have you felt most comfortable? What are some that you personally would not feel comfortable expressing at your church?

Lord Jesus, I do want to worship You with all my heart. Please help me find new freedom as I lift my expression of worship for who You are and what You alone have done in my life. I want my response to show just how much I love You. Help us all to express our love to You. Amen.

Think about any terms or concepts that are new to you for this class.
• God delights in our unique expressions of worship in response to His revelation.
• God created music and musicians to precede and proclaim His presence, His power, and His Word; and to prepare His people to receive Him.
• God created singers and musicians to be “lead worshipers,” but the pastor is the true worship leader.
• Four key parts of the worship service and one special element of worship can help us to express our worship.
• We worship God by serving Him in our everyday lives with reverence and awe.