February 8, 2016

Joyful Noise: Praise with the Volume Pumped Up

by Clint Archer

sound slidersOn 27 August 1883, the earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since. It was 10:02 AM on the island of Krakatoa. The erupting volcano was heard nearly 3,500 miles away in Mauritius. That’s like someone in New York hearing a noise coming from London, taking about four hours to cover that distance. A barometer in Batavia, 100 miles away, registered a spike in air pressure from which they calculated the sound at 188 decibels, an unimaginably loud noise, which ruptured the eardrums of sailors 40 miles away. The air pressure spike caused by the eruption was detected in weather stations of 50 cities, every 34 hours, for five days. This means that the sound waves circled the earth four times.

But there is something that generates an impact that reverberates through this world, the spiritual realm, and the Universe: a joyful church.

FROM PSALM 100: THREE WAYS EVERY CHURCH MUST WORSHIP

  1. God’s people are called to worship him… JOYFULLY

Ps 100:1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Every year my wife asks me what I want for my birthday. I’m a sucker for a good pair of athletic, foot-hugging socks. But for some reason socks seem beneath her standard of what a birthday gift should attain. So, inevitably, the day after my birthday I go out and buy myself the coveted accoutrement of good socks.

When God tells us what he desires us to offer him, we might be tempted to improve on the idea. Historically well-intentioned church leaders have concocted ideas of what God should have asked for in church worship services: flowing robes, stiff collars, pointy hats, golden staffs, elaborate rituals, holy water, Jedi-like gestures, tinkling bells, stations of the cross, confessional booths, etc., etc., etc.

But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. God tells us what he wants. He likes noise. Not just a cacophony of decibels for the sake of it, he wants our noise to be an expression of what is in our heart—a joyful noise, marinated in truth and generated by our spirits (John 4:24) directed toward worshipping him alone for who he is and what he’s done. And he likes it loud.

Ps 47:1 Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!worshippers

Ps 150:5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

(To those sound desk guys who are getting excited right now, bear in mind that Israel’s worship was outdoors without electric amplification!)

Does the voluminous aspect of worship expression apply only to Israel or also to the New Testament church service? Well, Paul writing to the Ephesian church instructed:

Eph 5:18-19 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.

Okay, so he didn’t say anything about the decibels, but can you imagine the New Testament church singing Psalm 150 quietly? {In a whisper…} “Praise him with loud clashing cymbals. Shhh.”

We all get that there is something inherently exciting about loudness. You see it at a football game, or a concert, or when kids play. Rambunctiousness is inevitable when we are happy and with others who are happy. Where do we get the idea that silence is worshipful? Yes, silence can indicate reverence and respect. But it’s not what God asks for in corporate worship. He asks for joyful music and lyrics sung by people who have much to be joyful about.

  1. God’s people are called to worship him… GRATEFULLY

Ps 100:3-4 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Contemplate who God is and who you are. The more you know your Creator, the more grateful you will be to have a relationship with him. God is not our buddy; Jesus is not our homeboy. He is our Creator and King. And our enthusiasm should never degenerate into disrespect.

1 Cor 14:33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints.

When you come to church, come in grateful that you are allowed to come in and grateful that you belong there because of what Jesus has done for you.

  1. God’s people are called to worship him… SINCERELY

Ps 100:5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.mic

This is the reason we worship: he deserves it. God is good, loving, and faithful. This is why we sing, this is why we make a loud noise – because he is worthy of worship. We can worship him sincerely because he is indisputably worthy of our worship.

Only in heaven we will grasp fully how worthy Jesus is of our worship. But here’s a glimpse…

Rev 5:11-12 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

But every Sunday we get a little snapshot of what heaven will be like when we get together and praise God—with the volume pumped up.

Clint Archer

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Clint has been the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church since 2005. He lives in Durban, South Africa with his wife and four kids.