Summary: Our worship of God is not merely a good thing to do; it should be the goal of our life. Worship is often treated casually, when it should be at the center, at the core of our life. The Scriptures plainly teach us that worship is to be first priority in ou
The Priority Of Worship
Copyright © August 1991 by Rev. Donnie L. Martin. All Rights Reserved.
Text: Ps. 95:6, 7a; John 4:23, 24
Intro: As we read the passages of our text, did you notice that these verses speak of the fact that God is the sole recipient and object of worship? John also brings out the idea of how that worship is to be offered: “…in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24b). More often than not, Christians, under the guise of attending church to worship God, attend church with far less lofty goals and motives. In many cases, it’s more about, “What’s in it for me?” I’m not saying that we shouldn’t expect to come away with something when we worship. We should. But the fact of the matter is that God is the object of real worship. However, if our heart is right, when we focus our worship and attention on Him, we are blessed and edified. But our blessing and edification should be understood to be the “gifts of worship,” not the “goals of worship.”
John MacArthur, pastor of the Grace Community Church in Panorama City, California, speaks plainly about the misconceptions concerning worship. He says:
Well, if you go to church for what you can get out of the music, or what you can get out of the sermon, or just to get blessed, you’ve missed the point. The music and the sermon aren’t ends in themselves; they are but stimuli to cause you to worship God. And if you have any thought less than that, you’ve missed the point!1
Bro. MacArthur is absolutely right. Too often we come to church to “get blessed” by God, or to fulfill our perceived religious responsibility, rather than to focus our praise, adoration, and attention on the One alone who is worthy of worship.
What is true worship? In a general sense, worship is “…honor paid to a superior being. It means ‘to give homage, honor, reverence, respect, adoration, praise, or glory to a superior being.’”2 Though worship can be directed toward almost anything, only God is truly worthy of it. God’s Word is very clear about this. The NLT drives home this thought as follows:
Deut. 10:20 “You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone.
21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.”3
Now that we know what worship is, and what it is not; I want to move on to the crux of the message; that being, the priority that should be given to the worship of God. Since the Bible places much importance on worship, so should God’s people. There are biblical reasons for making worship a high priority in our lives. Look at a few of them with me today.
Theme: The high priority God attaches to worship is indicated by:
I. THE SUBSTANCE OF GOD’S FIRST COMMANDMENT
A. Worship Belongs To God Alone.
Ex. 20:2 “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
Ex. 34:14 “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:”
NOTE:  Just as no loving and loyal person would willingly share their mate’s affections with another, neither does God willingly share the affections of His worshippers with false and fictitious gods. God’s name and nature are defined by a holy jealousy (Ex. 34:14), for He alone is worthy of worship and honor. God has said, “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isa. 42:8).
One of the greatest definitions of worship ever laid down was laid down by William Temple: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”4