In our churches, we often refer to Members and Visitors – Members have rights and privileges; Visitors are not permanent. When it comes to worship, we need only one class of people, a worshipper, and worshippers have obligations – to give, to serve. It is not about them, but about the one they are worshipping. Here are just four key obligations of a worshipper.
1. BRING YOUR WORSHIP WITH YOU
The first obligation of a worshipper is to ‘Bring your worship with you’ – Coming to church to receive a blessing is the wrong attitude; your worship should come with you! You alone know what God has done for you in the past week and now you are excited to share it with others. “Come before His presence with singing. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100).
2. COME WITH YOUR TESTIMONY AND SONG
This should be our weekly act of worship, not just on special occasions. Notice that Paul says, “whenever you come together.” “Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm has a teaching, has a revelation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:26). The power of your testimony – These personal experiences are a key part in the struggle against the evil one: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:11). In addition to assisting us overcome the evil one, sharing our testimonies and, worship in general, will assist church growth. “And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3). As we worship together and the “strangers within our gates” are witnesses to it, they too will come to put their trust in God.
3. WORSHIP GOD IN ADVERSITY
Judah (“Praise”) was under siege, with no way of escape. The king and people turned their eyes to God in prayer. Jahaziel spoke under the influence of the Holy Spirit, saying “the battle is not yours, but the Lord’s.” They were to stand still and see how great God is. What followed is an example for us today. “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” “Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.” 2 Chronicles 20:21, 22 The lesson for us is that we should make the praise and worship of God our priority, and He will take care of your business.
4. BE RECONCILED WITH YOUR FELLOW WORSHIPPERS
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24) If we worship God with hatred or anger in our hearts towards a fellow worshipper, our worship has been in vain and therefore not acceptable to God. There’s no point in singing, “Lord, I Lift Your name on High” in one breath, whilst dragging the name of your brother or sister in the mud.