BY T. F. TENNEY
Some time ago I was in a conference. There were a couple of individuals sitting right on the front that were constantly manifesting-a jerk, a jig, a run, a whoop, a holler.
Several of us were uncomfortable.
Finally, we addressed it. The question was, “Was it worship?” Collectively, about 150 years of ministerial experience discerned it was not. It was motor emotionalism. It was exhibitionism. Yet, when you address this subject someone is usually quick to say, “You’re trying to stop worship.” No, I’m not trying to stop worship; I am trying to produce true worship.
Jesus himself spoke of the “true worshippers”-which indicates that there can be a false. People can be wrong and honestly not know they’re wrong. Worship needs to be directed toward God and not toward exhibitionism. I tell our young people at youth camp frequently, “I’m going to put up with a whole lot of you but you’re going to put up with a little bit of me.” Right now, you’re going to be a captive audience while I talk about worship.
Real worship is what type of value we place on God. It comes from the word “worth.” What is the ship or the object worth? God is the object and He is worth our highest adoration. All worship should bring attention to Him and not to self.
In the New Testament, the word .’worth” was often translated from the Greek “axios.” One writer observed that axios referred to the weight of the coin. Axios was the real weight and the worth of the coin. The atual weight of the precious metal in the coin set the value stamped on its face. The weight determined the worth. The face value was the actual value.
It’s not just what kind of face we put on’, but what is the actual worth of worship? Jesus said, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.” You cannot separate worship from service. Anyone who is not truly serving and loving God is not worthy to worship Him. That becomes hypocrisy.
Consequently, noise and physical manifestation is not all there is to worship. You can be still and know that He is God. Yes. I’ve often said, “It is not all in the shout…” but then I have added, “-it’s not all in just sitting there, either.” There has got to be a balance of spirit and truth, word and worth, manifestation and service. Anything that has breath can praise God but only those who know His worth can worship Him.
Brother Charles Grisham makes an interesting observation in his booklet, ” Which Way From Here?” He said.
Another dangerous trend is when worship becomes more recreational than spiritual. Gospel singing has been replaced by those who are called ‘Christian artists’, their songs are written more from a commercial appeal standpoint than those born out of heart-felt experience with God. This confusion has caused man), in the church to feel compelled to whip something up that makes everyone feel good. Massive demonstrations of recreational worship may continue for minutes or hours and never one time think of Jesus. Worship that doesn’t focus upon Jesus will ultimately become a form of self-worship-doing what feels good and what seems fun. Could it be that we have raised a generation of Pentecostals who have never learned to woo the presence of God?
I have often said we need to mix the modern choruses with some of the old. The old-time hymns had theology in them and we need that today. All worship should be focused on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that brings His presence like singing about Christ. His blood. His name.
Your inner self and performing self must be distinguished. Your inner self can be depleted. Your outer self can become pretentious and plastic. We polish the outer self to the detriment of the inner. We could be totally spiritually depleted within, still having a lot of motion without meaning, and calling it worship. Remember, character comes before charisma. We need the will today to confront professionalism, which leads to elitism, even in worship. There is an evaporation of tenderness for Jesus that must be restored.
I honestly believe there are people who need to repent over their addiction to false worship. All they want to do is “see if I feel good.” Worship is designed to glorify God, not ourselves.
There you have it. Nothing can happen through you until something happens to you. Those who love the least hold the most to exhibitionism in worship. It’s fine to shout-it’s fine to dance. But
just remember, it’s got to always be, “Thine is the kingdom, the power, and glory. Amen.”
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE APOSTOLIC ACCENT, REPRINTED FROM THE LOUISIANA CHALLENGER, NOVEMBER, 1993, PAGE 4. THIS MATERIAL
IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.