Summary: Understanding the meaning of true worship will allow us to better serve God.
The Heart of Worship
Intro: There are many misunderstandings about what worship is and how we should worship. Some people believe that worship is music. Some think of worship as a weekly gathering of believers. Worship has a much deeper meaning.
The heart of worship is the human response to the presence of God.
“The direction of worship is from believers to God. We magnify Gods name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to him.”
The Purpose Driven Church
One episode in the life of Abraham is a great picture of love and commitment to God.
Abraham is 75 years old when God promises to give him a son. When his son Isaac is born, Abraham is 100 and his wife Sarah is 90. Now, some years later, God calls Abraham to an incredible act of obedience.
“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’”
Genesis 22:1-2 (NIV)
God has called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Even though he was the child God had promised, he was now going to be a sacrifice to God.
What happens next paints a great picture of the heart of a true worshipper of God.
“Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.”
True worship begins with obedience.
There is no hesitation to do what God asks Abraham to do. He doesn’t argue, complain, bargain or beg. He simply obeys.
In our lives we worry so much about what we have to give up that we fail to recognize the presence of the divine. Abraham is immediately obedient to Gods command.
Jesus defined obedient worship as being worship in spirit and truth.
“But the time is coming and is already here when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23
True worship, when confronted with truth, is demonstrated by obedience.
Your obedient life is a demonstration of worship.
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
Is your life defined by worshipful obedience?
“He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
True worship expects God to do something.
Abraham told his servants that he and Isaac were going to worship and then they would return. Abraham had no idea of how to get out of this but he trusted Gods promise and provision.
God had promised Abraham that Isaac would be a son to provide him with many descendants.
“Yes, your wife Sarah will bear you a son and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” Genesis 17:19
When we truly worship, we should expect God to show up.
“And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” Matthew 18:20 (The Message)
When you gather for worship are you expecting God to show up and do something?
“Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, ‘Father?’ “Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘The fire and wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” Genesis 22:6-10
Abraham and Isaac travel up the mountain with all the elements of a sacrifice except an animal. Isaac, who doesn’t know the plan asks his father about it. Abraham believes God will provide what is needed.