Summary: Our Worship of God is deeply rooted in our entire life. If He is first in our lives, everything else, including our corporate worship will fall in place.
What Does It Mean to “Worship”
Text: John 4:19-24
Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says, “The Worship of God is not clearly defined in the scriptures.” (Page 1247)
In the Greek language there are five verbs and three nouns that are translated “Worship.”
The first and primary verb is the word Proskuneo which is formed from pros (toward) and kuneo (kiss) so in its purest form it means to come forward to kiss.
All of us can identify with that experience. Probably all of us at one time or another have had the pleasant experience (the key word is experience) of coming toward to kiss someone we deeply cared about.
In my daughter Michelle’s family we have developed a tradition. When the girls were very little each time I would kiss one of them I would say, “Wow!” Then one day after they were old enough to begin speaking one of them said to me, “Papaw, I want a wow.” Needless to say the word wow has replaced the word kiss in our family vocabulary.
That feeling of “WOW” is exactly the meaning of Worship. When we come to Worship God we should experience the feeling of WOW. It is what we as worshippers should seek. It is what our worship leaders should strive to provide.
God himself has promised that, “Whenever two or three of us gather in His name, He will be in our presence.” (Matt. 18:20). It is our act of Worship to experience His presence in our midst.
When we come to Worship we should experience God. If we do not do it then, at what point in our always busy weeks will we ever experience God.
In her book, Worship Evangelism Sally Morgenthaler says, “Real worship is a lot more than this week’s production. It is where we allow the supernatural God of scriptures to show up and to interact with people in the pews.” (Page 23).
When church attendance is on the decline and we are losing the interest of our people, the reason is usually very simple. It is because our services are doing very little, if anything to help our people meet God.
Paul told the Corinthian church that if they were doing things right and an ungifted man, probably meaning unchristian man came into their midst he would fall on his face and worship God saying, “God is certainly among you.” (I Cor. 14:25). It is that feeling that God is among is and we are interacting with Him that will fill our churches with vibrant, dynamic Christians. The question of where is God in our hectic busy lifestyle is the key element to success or failure in ever aspect of life.
If people do not experience God at church, when will they experience him? In a recent poll taken in America, people were asked how often church worship services brought them into the presence of God. Twenty-seven percent answered, “Always,” twelve percent responded, “Usually,” twenty-seven percent said, “Sometimes,” or, “Rarely.” The real shocker was that thirty-four percent of those polled said, “Never.”
A different study revealed that one out of every six Christians has never experienced God’s presence, inside or outside of the church. What a shame that is. It is especially disgraceful to the churches to have never brought those people into the presence of God.
When a church is not bringing people into the presence of the Divine the people will all drift away, unless all they are looking for is the security of going through the forms of religion. Paul warned Timothy that, “in the last days people would hold to a form of religion but would deny the real power of it.” (II Tim. 3:6).
I want to stop at this point and stress that the type music (with instruments or without instruments) is not fundamental to worship. However, what we do as we sing is fundamental. Our music should create an atmosphere where people can experience God, not just go through the motions of singing.
The communion service in particular should be a special moment each week when each partaker has an opportunity to experience God through the blood of Christ.
We should have a time of prayer that will also usher us into an experience with God. It should not be limited by time. Each worshipper should feel welcome to participate and open about sharing needs with the others present.
The sermon is also not fundamentally important in experiencing God, except that it should be conducive in helping us realize his presence in our lives. Not just while we are in church. It should prepare us to see God in the entire week ahead.
At some point in our worship we should give a special invitation to worshippers to give themselves wholly to God and experience Him in a personal way leading to baptism (the ultimate and consummating experience with God in this life) and salvation.