|By: Jim Davis; ©2002|
|Jim Davis discusses the different aspects of sincere worship.|
How sincere is your worship? We have probably all been guilty at some time or another of sitting through a church service and mouthing the words of some song without taking thought about the significance of those words or being mindful of the One to whom we are addressing them. And how often our minds wander while God is being addressed in prayer. How live is your relationship with the Lord and how well do you worship?
Worship is not explicitly defined in the Scripture. It is however, demonstrated throughout the Old and the New Testament. Proskuneo is the primary Greek word used for worship. Kuneo means to kiss and pros means towards. It suggests the idea of prostrating oneself in reverence to kiss the ground before the object of worship.
Worship is intended to focus upon the Lord and proclaim praise, exultation, and adoration to Him. It is ascribing to God the value that is due Him and acknowledging His worth. Images, nature, animals, men, angels, and God Himself have all been objects of worship. The Bible however, restricts worship to God and to His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:5-6; Colossians 2:18; Acts 14:11-15).
There is a corporate and public aspect to worship and there is also a personal and private aspect to worship. Community worship was prescribed to the nation of Israel and the practice was carried into the institution of the local church in the New Testament. Acts of worship in the early church included prayer, singing, and the reading and exposition of Scripture (Acts 2:42; Colossians 3:16; 4:2). This was similar in format to the worship that was customary in the Jewish synagogues. In addition to the Jewish format used in the synagogue, the church ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper were also practiced. They were both related to Jewish ceremonies as well. Also, the day of public worship was changed from the Sabbath (Saturday) to the first day of the week in recognition of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:7). In the book of Revelation Sunday is called the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10).
There is an individual and personal aspect to worship as well. Jesus taught the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:20-24) that “an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers” (v. 23). Jesus did not abolish corporate worship but He did put emphasis upon the necessary inner transformation that permits a personal and intimate relationship that is directed to God alone. The gospel was intended to regenerate spiritually dead men to new spiritual life. When we are born again spiritually, worship is no longer dead ritual but we worship in spirit and we can worship anywhere and everywhere. Our bodies become the temple of the Living God and He takes up abode within us (John 14:17,23).
We also worship in truth, meaning we worship in accordance with the dictates and principles of the revealed Word of God. When we worship in truth we worship with sincerity and without pretense or hypocrisy. It is this personal aspect of our relationship with God in Jesus Christ that enables us to worship sincerely in the corporate setting. Without the experience of spiritual rebirth provided in the substitutionary death of Christ our worship is merely dead ritual. It should be noted that God instituted the local church and fully intends
for us to gather together corporately in order to publicly express praise, exultation, and adoration to Him with pure and sincere hearts.
Sincere worship of God should be expressed publicly in word and in deed. In our prayers and in singing we ascribe to God that which is due Him. We proclaim His worth. Our deeds also express the genuine relationship that we have with God. With sacrificial gifts of service and sharing our material blessings we acknowledge that all the good things we enjoy come from His hand. It is easy to give back our time, our money, and our life when we understand that everything we have is a gift from Him.
Those who worship well are those who glimpse God’s majesty. They enjoy His presence and consider all of His attributes. It is easy for us to bow at the feet of Him who is all-powerful, and all-knowing when we know who He is.
There are two things that are absolutely necessary in order to worship God. First, you must approach Him through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). We cannot come to the Father because of our sin. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For the wages of our sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). In other words we cannot know Him personally and we cannot enjoy His presence until our sin problem is removed. Our sin problem cannot be removed by righteous deeds that we do but only by the work that Jesus did on the cross of Calvary. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7). Jesus death on the cross in your stead has justified you before a holy God. Salvation takes place when we acknowledge our hopelessness before God and believe in the Lord Jesus. What He has said He will do. Those who receive Him are given eternal life.
The second thing necessary is that we must know God. Eternal life is defined in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” There is an intimacy that we may have with God because our sin and guilt is removed. And those who truly know God are compelled to worship Him. Once we see His majesty we will adore Him and willingly pay homage to the Almighty. So how well do you worship?