Hand Clapping – Is It Authorized, by Mike Riley (Part 1)

Today, we are living in an entertainment crazed society that expects to be entertained almost twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Hand clapping, whistling, and yelling are expressions of approval at various sports and entertainment events, and indicate satisfaction of the entertainment presented. Unfortunately, this worldly influence has crept over into the Lord’s church where people want to clap during the worship or at a baptism, to show their approval of the “entertainment” they are receiving. As Christians, we need to realize that we are not in the worship service to be entertained, but to humbly offer our worship to God “in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 95:6; Psalm 29:2; Psalm 96:9). Brethren, we are not mere spectators, but participants, as we worship our Heavenly Father.

Honoring God In Our Worship To Him

As we come to worship the Lord, do we not understand how great He is? The Bible tells us, “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth” (Psalms 96:9), and we are to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). Since we worship an awesome God, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8). Hand clapping may be acceptable in various entertainment arenas, but it shows utter disrespect and lack of reverence for God in our worship service. The Psalmist tells us, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him” (Psalm 89:7). The vast majority of the denominational world thinks their worship to God is acceptable, but Jesus says, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7). When we ignore what God says and worship “our way”, then our worship to Him becomes vain or empty (Matthew 15:8-9). It becomes “will worship” (Colossians 2:23) because we seek to worship God according to our will rather than God’s will (Matthew 7:21). If we expect to be pleasing to God and go to Heaven, we must pay attention to what God says in the Bible as to how He desires to be worshipped. The Hebrew writer tells us, “Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29). If our worship is not acceptable to God, then the end result will be disastrous as we spend eternity in “everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:41).

End Part 1

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