Summary: In this sermon, we focus on three important questions about worship. What is worship? Why do we worship? And when and where do we worship?
A. I enjoying listening to children talk and explain things. Sometimes their insights are very perceptive, other times they are just so funny.
1. Here are some children’s responses when asked to quote the Lord’s Prayer:
a. Our Father, who are in heaven. Hello! What be Thy name?
b. Our Father, who are in heaven. Hollywood be Thy name.
c. Our Father, who are in heaven. Harold be Thy name.
d. Give us this day our jelly bread.
e. Give us this day our daily breath.
f. Lead us not into creation.
g. Deliver us from weevils.
2. One preacher asked the children to tell him what the “Amen” means at the end of a prayer. One little boy said, “It means ‘Tha-tha-tha that’s all, folks!”
3. Obviously, children are not the only ones who have misconceptions and misunderstandings about God and worship, we adults have our challenges as well, don’t we?
B. Today I would like us to ask several very basic questions about worship, and I hope we can arrive at some helpful, biblical understandings.
I. WHAT IS WORSHIP?
A. Most basic of all questions is “what is worship?” How can one define it?
1. In reality, it is hard to give a simple definition, because the Bible does not give one.
2. The term “worship,” like many other great words, such as “grace,” defies adequate definition.
a. The meaning of these words, like the perfume of a rose, or the taste of honey, is more easily experienced than described.
3. Yet, we can look at scripture and examine the many words translated “worship” in our English versions, and begin to define worship.
4. So, let me briefly review a few of the most prominent Hebrew and Greek words which come into our English translations as “worship.”
B. The first is Histahawah (his-tah-a-wah).
1. It occurs 170 times in the Hebrew Bible, and is the most common word in the OT for worship.
2. It means “to bow down in reverence and humility” whether before man or God.
3. Bowing down, or prostrating oneself, was the common way to expressing one’s unworthiness before another.
4. In Genesis 18:2, Abraham “bowed low” before the three strangers who had come his way.
5. In Exodus 12:27-28, the people “bowed down” and worshiped.
C. The Greek equivalent to histahawah is proskuneo (pros-kun-e-o).
1. It has the same overtones of submissive lowliness and deep respect.
2. It literally means “to kiss toward,” but also means to prostrate oneself, to reverence, and to show humility.
3. It is found 59 times in the NT, and is the primary verb used for worship.
4. It is used in the passage in John 4, where Jesus discussed worship with the Samaritan woman
5. It is found in Revelation 4:10-11, where the 24 elders fell down and worshiped God.
D. The second most frequently used Hebrew word in the OT to describe worship is abad.
1. It means “to serve,” and that is the way it is often translated into English.
2. It is from the same root as the term “slave” or “servant,” but it is important to understand that the Hebrews could think of no higher privilege than to be called a servant of God.