Hosanna in the Highest

Matthew 21:1-11
“Hosanna” - means to save or save us please
It became a word of praise
Today we remember the celebration of Christ riding into Jerusalem while the people worshipped Him
We know that Christ is headed to the cross and ultimately His resurrection!
For today, however, let us celebrate Christ!
So, the people worshipped as Jesus road into Jerusalem, let’s talk about worship...
What is worship?
Worship in both the Hebrew as well as the Greek literally means to be pronate…to be face down…or, to bow down...
Worship is when we are on our face before God...
I looked up the word worship in my software and read almost all of the results. The vast majority of the times that worship is mentioned, it is people falling down on their knees and worshipping whether is be kings or Jesus
Worship is bowing in the presence of a king, in our case God
When we worship, we are in a place of vulnerability and total submission
We bow down before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
When we worship, we are acknowledging who God is..
And we are praising Him!
Worship is not about coming to a building…or even a sanctuary..
It’s not about a worship team on stage...
It’s not about the singers or the instruments...
It’s not even about the songs that we sing...
Worship is about acknowledgement, praise, vulnerability before God and intimacy with God!
So, none of the things that I mentioned are worship...
To make the list longer, it’s not about raising our hands, singing, dancing, waving flags...
It’s not about any of those things....
It’s about coming to that intimate place with God out of acknowledgement of who He is!
Now, none of those things are bad!
And in fact, can be really good and helpful when we worship…they just aren’t exclusively worship...
The church and the sanctuary are a place dedicated to coming and worshipping God, and it’s a good thing…but we can worship God anywhere...
Y’all remember Paul and Silas were thrown into jail?
Acts 16:16–17 NIV
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
Acts 16:18–19 NIV
18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. 19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.
Acts 16:20–22 NIV
20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.
Acts 16:23–25 NIV
23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Acts 16:26–28 NIV
26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
Acts 16:29–31 NIV
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Acts 16:32–34 NIV
32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
You see, Paul and Silas were just beaten and thrown in jail… and what did they do?
They worshipped God...
You can worship God anywhere, it’s not about a building...
But, there are certainly places that we do and should set apart just to meet with God and worship Him!
Worship is not about the people on stage...
We are not here to worship them!
We are thankful for them! But they aren’t to be praised...
Just as much as I am not to be praised when I preach a message...
God is the one to be praised...
So, if something in the lives of the worship team members is not right…or in their relationship with God is not right....I can worship...
The worship team is not “leading me in worship”
We often say that: “and now the worship team will come up and lead us in worship.”
But, here’s the thing, they aren’t leading me to worship...
Worship is an outflow of the Holy Spirit in my life...
Jesus says:
John 16:13 NIV
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 14:6 NIV
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 17:17 NIV
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
The Greek word here is “logos” which is God’s revelation to us!
Logos is sometimes a spoken word or written word or Jesus…it’s God revealing himself to us!
When we worship, it is the Holy Spirit drawing us to the Son, who is Christ, who is our intercessor to the Father
Romans 8:34 NIV
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Hebrews 4:14–16 NIV
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Worship is us approaching the throne of God, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ!
So, it’s not the people on the stage leading us in worship, it’s God Himself drawing us to that place of intimacy!
And the songs that they play and sing are not worship, but they can help us!
Hopefully the words of the songs help us to get to that place of intimacy with God, where He is honored and praised!
How many of you ever hear a song during the music portion of the service that you don’t like?
Let’s be honest…this isn’t a slam at Derek or Sabrina or anyone else, it’s just that we all have songs we like and don’t like!
I used to get semi-upset when the worship team played a song that I didn’t like...
I would stand there the whole time thinking I don’t like this song…I can’t wait for it to be over…what song is next?
But you know....that isn’t worship....I may or may not like the song, but I can still worship...
So, I just started praying during songs that I don’t like...
And no, it wasn’t “Lord please end this song soon”
It was just authentic prayer! Where I can focus on Him and not get caught up in the song!
Likewise, and this is where people are going to get uncomfortable....
The worship team may play a song that I love! This is my jam!
And yet, I may not be worshipping...
I might be so caught up in the great song that I lose sight of God...
You see, the building, the instruments, songs, raising hands, dancing, bowing all these things are not worship....but they are a tool that can lead us to worship!
The sanctuary is a sacred place to worship Him. There is intentionality
The songs remind me of who God is and what He has done what He has done for us
Bowing down or laying face down reminds me of my submission to Him
Holding my hands out is a way to say I am ready to receive whatever He wants to give me
Raising my hands is an expression of how great He is!
So, please don’t get caught up in all those things and not worship Him!
You can sit quietly with your hands folded and worship Him!
Likewise, you can run, jump, scream (please don’t), and not be worshipping Him!
All of these things are an expression or an outflow of actual worship… not the other way around.
Here is my advice: do what helps you connect with Him, in His presence, and don’t worry about what others are doing :)
I want dive a bit deeper into what is happening in the intimate place of worship!
Let’s look at the narrative from the beginning
Adam and Eve die
separate due to sin
kicked out of garden
Only in God’s presence rarely
Holy Spirit
Worship is coming back to God’s presence
Worship is finding that place of intimacy with God
Show Video
Worship is saying “I want to be in the undistracted presence of God!”
It doesn’t mean that all distractions are removed, but that I will not be moved by the distractions!
I will remain in the presence of God!
So, when we come to worship, let’s be intentional about being in the presence of God!
As we celebrate palm Sunday, let praise the One who road into Jerusalem on a donkey!
Hosanna, the Lord who saves, in the highest!
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