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Summary: Worship is declaring in word, thought, or action the greatness of God and your submission to Him.

The Heart of Worship

1. What is worship anyway?

July 24/25, 2004

Don Jaques


Kids say funny things sometimes when they are trying to master bigger words. Ryan loves animals and recently was telling me all about the “bohen nastrictor”.

Sometimes we say words without really knowing what they mean.

One of our 3 values as a church is worship. “We are devoted to worshiping God as a lifestyle.”

But what does it really mean to worship? We come here every week to ‘worship’. But what is it really? Is it singing songs? Is it listening to an explanation of God’s word? Is it drinking coffee? Well, yes, and no. Before I give you my definition of worship let me get some input from you. What do you think worship is?

Here are some other definitions:

Musician Louie Giglio in his book on worship entitled “The Air I Breathe” gives this excellent definition of worship.

Worship is our response, both personal and corporate,

to God – for who He is and what He has done,

expressed in and by things we say

and the way we live.

[Louie Giglio. The Air I Breathe. (Sisters:Oregon, Multnomah, 2003) p. 12]

Greek Proskuneo (translated worship):

1) to kiss the hand towards one, in token of reverence

2) among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence

3) in the New Testament by kneeling or prostration to do homage (a show of reverence and respect) or make obeisance (a gesture of respect or deference) to express respect or to make supplication

Worship is declaring in word, thought, or action the greatness of God and your submission to Him.

THOUGHT: We’ve all seen this kissing of the hand in movies depicting earlier times. We also know that the outward sign of kissing the hand or bowing before a ruler often masks the true intentions of the person performing this worship.

God does not want this type of worship any more than the rulers of days gone by did. In fact he says he hates this type of worship.

Isaiah 1:10-15 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11"The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations-- I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood.

Wow! Strong words. God does not desire meaningless rituals from us. In fact he hates having people come before him and perform rituals without meaning.

TRANS: So we know what type of worship God hates. But what does he want from us? How can you know your worship is pleasing to Him?

1. Offer your body as a living sacrifice to God. (Rom. 12:1)

Rom. 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.

Throughout the OT we know that when the people of God came to worship – a main part of it was the offering of a sacrifice, usually some sort of animal, which would be slaughtered and then burned on the altar as an offering to God.

What the NT teaches is God doesn’t need the blood of animals to cover our sin anymore (Christ blood has paid for our sin once and for all) – but that we are to make our life a LIVING sacrifice for God’s use.

However, the problem with living sacrifices is that they keep wanting to crawl off the altar.

To offer myself as a living sacrifice means that I come before God and say “my life is yours – all of it”. It means that just like the sacrifices offered to God under the Jewish sacrificial system, we are offering ourselves to God for his pleasure. (The sacrifices are called “a pleasing aroma” throughout the Old Testament. Think BBQs!)

When we come to him and offer ourselves, not just a formal sign or outward activity – this brings pleasure to God just like the smell of a BBQ brings pleasure to us!

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