Summary: God is looking for and demanding true, sincere worship.
Originally to worship meant simply to “attribute worth”; worship could be directed to God or to a person to whom honor and respect should be given. In classical Christian writings it referred primarily to our chief goal in life, that is, rendering grateful homage and dedicating our lives to God rather than to any other person or object. This included a person’s private religious devotions. The word has also been one of the main terms used for public religious services: many church notice boards list the hours for “divine worship.” In charismatic circles the word has mainly come to signify the time of extended praise in church, generally led by a “worship team.” In popular speech and song the word is frequently used of any extraordinary expression of devotion, for example, a person or group may “worship” a sports team or rock star, money or power. In some places the word is even used as a form of address, as to a judge in a law court or to an officeholder in a secret society. From a biblical point of view there are legitimate and illegitimate, acceptable and unacceptable, objects of worship (Genesis 4:3-7; Isaiah 1; Romans 14:17-18; Hebrews 12:28-29; Hebrews 13:16). Discernment is necessary to distinguish true from false objects of worship.
People’s feelings about what takes place in church services vary greatly. Some regard such corporate worship as primarily a duty; others as a delight. For some it is chiefly a matter of feeling inspired by or intimately connected to God, for others of being instructed or motivated to action. An increasing number of people today find traditional church services boring and irrelevant. This is particularly true of the younger baby-buster generation but also of many seekers, inquiring about or returning to church. Some find new styles of charismatic or contemporary worship appealing and uplifting. Disputes about appropriate and inappropriate styles of worship have divided many congregations, generally along age lines or according to different views of the Holy Spirit. Surveys of congregations across a wide denominational spectrum, such as those conducted by the Search Institute in Minneapolis some years ago, found that corporate worship is generally regarded as an oasis or refuge from workday demands, rather than as a base camp for equipping members to integrate faith and everyday life. This is why even many committed believers find churchgoing disappointing and un-empowering. Perhaps part of the problem is that our definition of worship is too narrow.
It is important that we keep the main thing, the main thing, and the main thing of the church is simply this, to glorify, or to worship God. Worship is important to God, so much so that out of the 10 commandments, the very first one deals with the subject of worship. Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. In Exodus chapter 34, the commandments are re-instated and God says in verse 14: Exodus 34:14 - “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”. The insinuation here is that while we do not worship other gods, there is One God Who is to be worshipped. When you read the Old Testament, you can not help but see the importance of worship in the lives of the people of God. Abraham worshipped (Gen. 22:5), Jacob worshipped (Heb. 11:21), Moses worshipped (Exodus 34:8), Joshua worshipped (Joshua 5:14), and of course David the king worshipped (2 Samuel 12:20). Worship was an integral part of the lives of God’s people through out the Old Testament. Worship was so important that God Himself designed and established the very first worship center, set up exclusively for worship in the Garden of Eden.
We find in the New Testament that worship is still important. Jesus told the woman at the well that God is seeking for worshippers. John 4:23 “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him”. God is looking for and demanding true, sincere worship. The disciples worshipped the Lord (Matthew 28:9), the New Testament church worshipped (Philippians 3:3) and at the end, when God wraps up this world in the completion of His redemption plan, worship will still be important. Revelation 4:10 – “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him… “
Our highest priority as Christians is to give glory to God, to exalt Him by giving Him worship. The very first proclamation that we make in our mission statement is that God has called us to worship and exalt Him.
We know that we are called upon to worship, we know that the reason that we gather together here today is to worship the Lord and I believe that when God’s people gather in worship that God does great things for them. Here’s what I want you to understand, our worship begins long before we enter into this sanctuary. Cooperate worship is important, but it hinges upon our individual worship. The devil knows that if he can defeat us in individual worship, that it will hinder our cooperate worship. In Psalms 24, we find that David outlines for us some very important aspects of what our approach to worship should be. It is believed by most scholars, that this psalm of David was written not long after David had captured the city of Jerusalem. David’s desire was to build a religious and political center for his kingdom and Jerusalem was to be it. David wanted to establish a permanent place of worship for God. The ark of the covenant had been placed in the house of Obededom the Gittite and God was blessing his house (2 Sam. 6:10-17). However David desired to bring the ark to Jerusalem and set it up upon the Mountain of Zion and so he does. The ark is placed upon the “holy hill”. After the ark is set in it’s place, the question is raised, “who can ascend to the hill of the Lord?” to worship. In other words, what are the conditions to approach the Lord of Hosts in worship? Here David shares the conditions for the approach of worship.