Last time in our series on worship, we began a study on what the Bible says about posture in worship.
So why is posture important? Why all the verses?
Why, in a day when we are called upon to worship God in Spirit and in truth, should we be concerned about our outward expressions of worship?
In our time together this evening I want to answer these questions. We will first discuss the importance of posture and then conclude with a right perspective on posture.
I. The importance of posture in worship
1. God made us to be both body and soul.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).
God created our bodies, as well as our souls. He made us of dust and breathed life in us. He made us to enjoy Him, not only in our souls, but in our bodies as well. He demands our obedience, not only in our hearts, but lived out in our bodies as well.
Paul refers to our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
God made our bodies to glorify Him. Paul exhorted the church:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).
He desired that Christ be exalted in his own life lived out to God’s glory.
For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:19–20).
We cannot separate body and soul. God has created us and wired us to be complete beings. What we do with the body affects the soul. What goes on in the soul is made manifest and expresses itself in the body.
Corporate worship of necessity involves the body.
- We speak God’s Word.
- We voice our prayers.
- We sing with our lips.
- We place our gifts and tithes in the offering plate.
- We eat and drink at the Lord’s Table.
When we worship God, we worship Him in our bodies.
Oh, but some might say, “God is Spirit.” And we are to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. God is concerned with my heart and so what I do with my body is of little or no consequence.
It is true that we are to worship God in Spirit and in truth. But God informs us in His Word that He has given His Sprit to make us alive—in our bodies. His indwelling presence has made our bodies temples of worship. We are living sacrifices, dead to sin but alive unto Christ.
We cannot escape our bodies if we are to participate in the elements of worship. We can get into trouble and become imbalanced we disengage our body and soul. This can happen two ways.
- We become so withdrawn or introspective that we no longer value what is happening around us—or concern ourselves with how we are reacting to what is happening around us. We think that we can hold our faith on the inside—in the domain of the heart—without caring that it ever shows on the outside.
- We become so extroverted that we content ourselves with just going through the bodily motions and we disengage the heart. We think God will be pleased with our outward show of faith without caring that we really mean it on the inside.
Both of these dangers lead us down the road of hypocrisy. When God truly pierces us with His Word, it affects body and soul!
Truth rightly understood in the heart—on the inside—will compel us to live out truth and rightly apply it—on the outside.
Worship begins in the heart—in the mind (focusing and directing our thoughts), then the will (determining our actions), and our emotions (flooding and spilling out into our feelings). As the truth of God’s Word dawns in our thinking by the illuminating power of the Spirit, we are brought to sorrow and repentance over our sin—we are brought to joy and faith in the salvation and forgiveness of sin found in Christ. And we are spurred into action and obedience as the reality of God’s work on the inside is expressed and lived out on the outside.
We need truth, but we need the Spirit to quicken us and make that truth alive and active in our hearts and in our lives. Truth is not just for the mind—it is for the whole of our being.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
Truth has implications and demands on our hands and feet as well as our minds and intellect.
Known truth must be practiced truth. Doctrine must find its way to devotion.
[This excerpt is from a sermon entitled “The Posture of Worship (Part 2)” in the series Thoughts on Worship. Continue reading the full sermon text here.]
Read also “The Posture of Worship (Part 1)”
See more Sermons and Articles by Ken Puls