Did you know that in 1524, Martin Luther decided to take bar songs, drinking melodies, and put Christian lyrics to them? You go, oh, I can't believe it.
Sure you can. They're classics now. One of those songs is The Mighty Fortress is Our God. Another song, Away in a Manger.
They're classics now, but they were considered really on the edge back then. And welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition with Pastor Skip Heitzig as we continue our series Church Who Needs It and a look at worship today. You know, worship and love go hand in hand. Our expressions of love include sentiments like how we worship the ground they walk on and so forth.
But if we're willing to express our love to people in such a manner, what's keeping us from expressing the same kind of passionate, worshipful love to our God? Well, Skip Heitzig explores this aspect of worship in today's study right here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. But before we get started, here's what we have for you this month in the Connect with Skip Resource Center. There's a top 10 list for just about everything. But what about a top 10 list that can actually impact your faith?
Skip Heitzig's top 10 messages will really make a mark. Here's a sample from What Most People Don't Know About Heaven. Somebody once said there are going to be at least three surprises in heaven. First of all, who's there that you thought would never make it?
Second, who's not there that you were sure would make it? And then number three, the fact that you yourself are there by God's grace. Hear Skip teach on heaven, hell and the end times and topics like the Holy Spirit and true happiness. And when you give $35 or more today, we'll also send you Reload Love, Lenya Heitzig's book about the founding of a ministry that's been helping children victimized by terror for nearly two decades.
Visit connectwithskip.com to give today and get Skip's top 10 messages on CD, plus your copy of Reload Love by Lenya Heitzig or call 800-922-1888. Now if you'll mark your Bibles once again in Acts Chapter 2 and Revelation Chapter 4, we'll join Skip Heitzig as he begins today's study. You can, should you choose, maybe I should use the Christianized form of that, feel led to bow before the Lord, even in a time of worship like this. I know space is limited, but if you've got the space around you to do it, it's perfectly biblical to do so.
Just don't draw attention to yourself, all the attention is drawn to Him. That's one form of physical worship. There are other forms the Bible speaks about. The raising up of the hands, like we sang just a moment ago.
In 1 Timothy Chapter 2 verse 8, Paul writes, whenever you assemble, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God. I remember the first time I saw somebody do this, honestly, I thought, that's goofy. I can never see myself doing that.
I'm just not that kind of person, that's what I said. And I often tried to figure out what that was about, what that was about. And maybe you're even thinking, Skip, help me out on this. What's the deal with the raising of the hands?
Here it is. First of all, raising up of hands is a sign of welcome. What does a little child do when his or her parents enter the room?
They haven't seen him for a few hours. They do that, reaching up to embrace them. What do adults do when they first meet somebody? They put out their hand to welcome them.
We do that with people. It's also a sign of surrender. When your hands are up, come out with your hands up.
You're surrendered. Your hands are visible. Because when your hands are up, you can't do anything else. You can't text a friend. You can't talk to somebody next to you.
It's very difficult to do that when your hands are sort of covering that availability. So it's a sign of welcome. It's a sign of surrender. And Paul said, I want men and women to do it. Also, the Bible speaks about kneeling down. Psalm 95, come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord. Like bowing, it's a sign of humility. It simply says, I am preoccupied with God.
I am not thinking about school or work or problems or finances. I'm preoccupied with God. Here's another form the Bible speaks about.
We'll raise a few eyebrows. Dancing. Dancing is a form of worship. Psalm 149 verse 3, let them praise His name with the dance. They did that, did they not, in the Old Testament at some of the great festivals of the Jews.
They would gather together. They still do it, by the way. As a form of worship, they dance.
Now this isn't the hip-hop. This is a holy, worshipful dance. Picture Exodus chapter 15, when they crossed through the Red Sea and Miriam took a tambourine out and got a few gals and they, in a worshipful manner, did a dance expressing their joy for the victory God had given them. Standing is also mentioned in the Bible as a form of worship with the body. Psalm 135, praise Him, O you servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord. Just like, again, royalty, you would stand up when God enters the room.
Now I think you see where I'm going with all this. In the West, we're the West, in Western culture, we have so guarded ourselves against any type of physical expression in worship except for one, sitting. That, we say, is acceptable.
That I can do because it's most comfortable to us. But all of these other forms are acceptable and biblical. Also, the lifting of the eyes is another one. Psalm 123, unto you I lift up my eyes, O you who dwell in the heavens. Guess what?
Closing your eyes and folding your hands? Not in the Bible. Sorry to share that with you. It doesn't mean it's bad. It just didn't make God's top five.
People do it and it's fine, it's really a matter of the heart, but the body can correspond with the heart. And here in heaven, it was perfectly acceptable. In fact, it was right for them to cast their crowns and bow before the Lord. Because worship is fundamental, it is intellectual, it is physical, and number four, worship is musical. It's musical.
Look at chapter five, verse eight. Now when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb, each having a harp. A harp, that's a musical instrument.
I'll be honest with you, when I read through this or when I first read through this, this did not excite me. I did not get all jazzed about playing a harp in heaven. I mean, in fact, for me, the whole idea that I've tried to get away from of spending a gazillion years with a white robe on a cloud playing a harp never really stoked me, and I was really trying to get away from that, but here it says they had a harp.
But I did a little research. Discovered a harp, according to the Bible dictionary, is a trapezoidal instrument with strings that are plucked or strummed. So I thought, you know, that just sounds in modern terms a lot like a guitar. In fact, the Greek word is kithara, which even sounds like a guitar. And the Amplified Bible, I hope you don't think I'm stretching this too far here, the Amplified Bible renders this, each one having a harp in parenthesis, a lute or a guitar. So I read that and I thought, okay, heaven's sounding way cooler right about now.
Here's the point I want to make on this particular point. Musical instruments have always been a part of the worship of God in the Old Testament, and here culminating in the New Testament expression of heaven. It was used when they moved the ark, it was used when they held festivals, it was used in the temple, it was used during sacrifices, and here in heaven musical instruments are employed.
And so I think musical instruments are employed. Here's Psalm 150. Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet. Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes. Praise Him with loud symbols.
So next time you hear it and you go, oh, now you know what that's about. And praise Him with clashing symbols. Martin Luther wrote, next to theology I give to music the highest place and honor. If any man despises music, as all fanatics do, for him I have no liking.
For music is a gift and the grace of God, not the invention of men. And I will say that I've changed my whole perspective on the harp thing. I should throw this in that this week in the hospital there has been a harpist, the greatest thing. I've never seen it in the hospital, but a gal who's very skilled and proficient at the harp will go on the floor and play in front of rooms, and it is so soothing. And I asked the nurses station about it.
She said, oh yes, we have discovered that not only does this help the family, but it significantly lowers the blood pressure of the patients. Beautiful, beautiful expression. So worship is musical. There are musical instruments. Now I know that some churches are against the use of musical instruments. All I can say is they're going to be very surprised in heaven.
And the only way to get around this is to misinterpret and allegorize the texts that it makes no sense whatsoever. Music is a part of worship. Fifth, worship is vocal. Worship is vocal.
Look at verse nine of chapter five. And they sang a new song saying. Notice it was a song and notice that they sang it. They all sang it. The four living creatures sang it. The 24 elders sang it.
And in a few minutes, all the angels of heaven will bear the anthem. They sang. It doesn't say, and they watched others sing. They sang. They all joined into it. Now as much as I love a good choir, I love a good choir.
I love it. I love when beautiful voices are heard. Beautiful voices blend together. You ought to know that Calvary of Albuquerque has a choir.
I'm looking at them right now. You're the choir. All of you are the choir. And sometimes the statement a choir can make is we will select the best voices out of the congregation, put them up here, and you will watch them and listen to them. That's not the way it's supposed to be. The way it's supposed to be is all of us are the choir.
All of us join in. They sang a song. And something else, please notice in our verse, what kind of a song they sang. It was a new song.
The Greek word kainos. It's a song they had never sung before. It was brand new. A brand new song. And the lyrics are even written. Now, the whole concept of a new song, singing a new song, appears nine times in the Bible, where we are exhorted throughout the scriptures. Sing a new song to the Lord. Sing a new song to the Lord.
I've discovered a lot of people refuse to do this. And they will say, well, the old songs are better. The old hymns are better. And I agree, there's a depth of theology in our spiritual roots that are unmatched by many of those songs. But, if you refuse to learn and sing new songs and you will only harken back to the old songs, you're making a very indicting statement against the church. What you're saying is, God used to move 600 years ago, but he has stopped since those hymns were written. He's not moving anymore.
He's not working anymore. There's really nothing that we could ever add to that. Oh, and by the way, when those hymns were written, 400, 600, 200 years ago, they were considered contemporary worship songs in that generation. They weren't new. They were edgy. In fact, many throughout history have sensed the need to bring in new styles. Did you know that in 1524, Martin Luther decided to take bar songs, drinking melodies, and put Christian lyrics to them? You go, oh, I can't believe it.
Sure, you can. They're classics now. One of those songs is A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Another song, Away in a Manger.
They're classics now, but they were considered really on the edge back then. Martin Luther said this, how has it happened that in the secular field, there are so many fine poems and so many beautiful songs, while in the religious field, we have such rotten, lifeless stuff? Tell us how you really feel, Martin Luther. He sensed the need.
Let's just kind of update this thing. Then in the year 1690, a young boy by the name of Isaac, in coming home from a church service, complained to his father saying, dad, the songs at church are really boring. His dad got mad at him and said, if you think you can do any better, then you write some. And so young Isaac Watts did write some. And Isaac Watts wrote, when I survey the wondrous cross and joy to the world. Then there was William Booth, who wanted to reach people who didn't know Christ out on the streets with the Salvation Army. And he wanted the Salvation Army band to not have a church organ, but trumpets and drums.
And so he did. They created something new. But can you guess what the church called that kind of music at that time? Devil music.
That's what they called it. That's devil music. Then there was Dwight Lyman Moody from Chicago, who did Crusades. And his worship leader was one by the name of Ira Sankey, who took contemporary songs, like Luther. What was contemporary then was the Waltz, and add Christian songs or lyrics to them.
He took his music over to Scotland. The Church of Scotland was appalled. All they were used to singing were the Psalms of David. And they resisted any new expression at all, calling Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey's music steam kettle music. It just makes a lot of noise. God's not in it.
They did not want to sing anything new. But in heaven, it is a song, and it is a new song. So worship is fundamental. It is intellectual.
It is physical. It is vocal. And finally, and I close with this, worship is emotional.
Maybe I should have chosen a better word because of what that term conjures up. Maybe I should just say it's passionate. Real worship is passionate. I want you just to follow me with a few verses.
Verse 11 of chapter 5. Then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders. And the number of them was 10,000 times 10,000, and thousands of thousands, singing with a loud voice.
Just please notice that as we read. Phone megalae. A mega voice.
A loud voice. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and as such as are in the sea and all that are in them, I heard saying blessing and honor and glory and power be to him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. And the four living creatures said Amen. And the 24 elders fell down and worshiped him who lives forever and ever. Now as I read this, the picture that I get is this ever crescendoing cycle of praise where more and more join in this eternal anthem.
And it sounds to me like it's pretty loud. And I can only infer from the biblical text itself here and in other places that God is into volume. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll tell you I don't think God is into this.
Shout to the Lord all the earth. I don't think he's into that. You could say, well I'm just not a good singer. Get over it. That's all I can say. That's not the issue.
It's really not about us. I had a camp counselor who said if God gave you a bad voice, give it back to him. I've always followed that. And your voice given to you by God is an adequate instrument to worship him. Singing to the Lord, the Bible says that. It also says make a joyful noise.
Anybody can do that. I've watched kids do that and they can't carry a tune, but they are so happy. Maybe people around them aren't, but it is a joyful noise to them.
But here's the idea. There's emotion. There's passion.
Again, Jesus said you are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Put yourself into it. When you sing, sing like you mean it. Now I know people are wired differently. I know that people will say, I've talked to people. I used to even say this, well I'm not an emotional person.
I beg to differ. You might not be an emotional person singing worship, but you're an emotional person. When you got that birdie on the golf course three weeks ago, you didn't go, well that was nice. You jumped up. You shouted. When the Lobo scored or the isotope scored, you stood up and you shouted. When your kids received that award, you were emotional.
I guess it all depends what you're excited about. Why is it that Christians think that enthusiasm for the most worthy thing in all of the universe must somehow be carefully contained? You think God would be pleased?
You think God looks at us and we hold it all in and he goes, way to keep it all inside buddy. Way to do it man. Way to show nobody that you love me.
Way to go. Way to worship. I think anyone loves it when we have any emoting or passion at all in our love for them and so does God. I know we're all different. I know we're all wired different.
I know that some are more expressive than others. I'm just saying whoever you are and whatever your makeup is, please give your all to God. And if you are flatline and catatonic by nature, then give all of that to God. But give him your all. Give him your all. And don't let your worship be confined to visiting day.
Let it be the ongoing expression of your life. It's one of the things that marked the early church and it will mark the eternal church and thus it should mark our church. I read something, I've never seen the marker myself, but in England you know that there's church cemeteries that churches for years, even the early part of this country, had a church yard with graves in it. In Fairford Shire, there is a church yard with a monument to a cat.
A monument, a gravestone, a monument to a cat. And if you ask the townspeople about it, they will say, well you know, whenever this church was open for worship services, the cat would often wander in. In fact, the townspeople will say, we noticed that this cat attended worship services more than anyone in our town. So they built a monument to the worshiping cat. I read that and I said, I said, I will not be outdone by any cat. Amen.
None of us should ever be outdone by a cat. God is worthy of all of our worship. God is good all of the time. And all of these praise prompters that are constantly around us should grab our attention and our worship should be the natural flow to a God who is most worthy. Every time we worship God, we have an opportunity to express our love to the one who first loved us. And considering all He's done for us, why wouldn't we seize every opportunity to worship Him?
Well, that's all the time we have for today. But before we go, here's Pastor Skip with an important word for you. Simply put, God's Word has the power to change lives.
That's why together we're taking these Bible teachings to more people around the world, because we want to see lives transformed. If you've been encouraged by these teachings and have grown closer to Christ through His Word, then I want to ask you to give a gift today to help make these teachings available in more places and through more outlets. Your generous gift will help others experience the power of God's life-changing Word. Here's how you can do that today. You can give online at connectwithskip.com or simply call 1-800-922-1888. And thanks so much for your partnership with this ministry. And come back next time for another message from our Church Who Needs It series here on Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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