Summary: What is worship? This sermon looks at four aspects of worship and how it affects the human heart (thoughts taken from "How God Evaluates Worship" by Jack Hayford).


What is worship?

extravagant devotion to an object of esteem

a form of religious practice with its creed/ritual

reverence offered to a divine being

Starting point in our efforts to understand worship …

Jn 4:24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." NASU

What does it mean to worship God in spirit/truth?

Spirit- breath or wind- something ethereal, invisible, w/o material substance.

Truth speaks of something that is inherently right, an absolute principle, something understood w/mind.

Perhaps you could look at this verse as man worshipping God both with his heart and his mind.

In our culture- do not always trust issues of the heart.

Jer 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? NASU

As a result- try to understand worship intellectually.

Implication- the mind is less susceptible to deception than the heart- not true- both open to deception.

We also often tend to see the mind as the main vehicle through which we contact/communicate with God.

Yes, human intelligence contributes to worship, but God’s Word indicates he is not looking for something brilliant but something broken (Jack Hayford)

Man is both heart and mind, rational and emotional.

Psa 51:16-17

Look at four aspects of worship …

1. Worship treasures God’s presence

God welcomes those into His presence who want Him

There are many things that might drive us into His presence- desperation, need, delight, hunger.

Regardless of our motivation- God welcomes us.

Mtt 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. NASU

Consider Moses as he is leading Israel …

Ex 33:1-3, 12-15

The cry of Moses heart was to have God’s presence.

He did not want to go- Canaan- w/o God’s presence.

Ex 33:16

What makes the people of God different from other people groups? The presence of God!

The type of worship that welcomes the presence of God provides an environment for people to …

experience the love of God and

fall in love with God themselves.

This is the type of worship we desire here at COTR.

It is difficult for some to speak about God in terms of “falling in love with Him.”

If the phrase fall in love offends anyone perhaps we might learn to be equally offended by reason that distances the heart from a passion to simply know and love God. (Jack Hayford)

2. Worship humbles the heart

Isa 6:1-5

Isaiah found himself in the presence of God.

We see in Isaiah’s response to God deep humility.

He did not arrive at this place of humility through intellect but through being in the presence of God.

Mtt 18:3-5

Humility of heart is a very important part of worship.

Pride holds us back from expressing worship to God.

How does pride hold us back in corporate worship?

I would encourage people to become more expressive in worship- it will challenge your personal pride.

It will also challenge that sense of self-importance that produces in us a concern of how we will look.

David- expressive in worship- Michal’s response?

2 Sam 6:14 And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. NASU (she despised David)

Too often we equate personal dignity with pride.

Pride always tries to justify and preserve itself.

We need to learn- come before God- as little children.

Aside: COTR- chosen to make room for people to express themselves openly in worship.

For some this causes an anxiety of what someone new coming to church might think.

We need to make room for God to encounter, confront, and work in people’s hearts.

One verse to remember …

Pro 14:4 Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox. NASU

Wherever God is moving- flesh and spirit.

3. Worship sacrifices with expectations

Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. NASU

In worship, first we must first “come to God.”

There is the sense in the Bible that when we go into the presence of God to worship Him,

that we do not go without a sacrifice.

Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. NASU

There is a laying down of our life before God, where we say, “Here I am Lord, I am all yours.”

Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

We can also believe that in giving ourselves and our life to God, that He gives us something in return.

He is a willing rewarder of those who seek after Him.

Look at the OT admonition concerning giving …

Mal 3:10 " Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. NASU

Even in our giving, we sacrificially give to God and He willing desires to bless us in return.

Worship is a gift God has given to us and is intended for our blessing.

4. Worship extends God’s love

As much as worship is a gift that God has given to us, it also extends beyond us to touch others.

Mtt 22:37-39

The second commandment comes out of the first.

To love and worship God extends itself into loving and worshipping the people God created.

How do we show this love towards others-


living a godly life before them,

serving and caring.

Jn 13:35 " By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." NASU

All men will know that we love and worship God by the love we show towards others.


Worship is …

a private act of the heart,

an outward expression of the body, and

an act of love towards others.

A true worshipper of God …

desires the presence of God,

embraces a spirit of humility,

presents himself to God as a living sacrifice,

and extends God’s love to others.

(thoughts for this sermon come from an article entitled, How God Evaluates Worship, by Jack Hayford)