Summary: Our worship to God should involve thanksgiving and praise to Him.
Worship, I believe, is the missing jewel of the evangelical Church. Sunday after Sunday we come to worship services, but are we truly worshiping God? In many churches the Sunday morning event is considered a “preaching service” in spite of the fact that the official title in the bulletin reads “Morning Worship.” In our churches we have failed to study worship, or give attention to the theology of worship. Principles of biblical worship are not sought as the foundation of local church practice. Ministry leaders are attending seminaries that don’t even offer full courses in worship. Yes, we have been zealous to reach the world for Christ to build up the body of Christ, while at the same time being negligent in giving our first, best love to God Himself, which is what worship is essentially about.
The worship of God is the most blessed of all earthly vocations. There is no higher or nobler task to which we can give our energies and devote our time. God is first. God is worthy. And we are privileged to enjoy personal fellowship with Him.
What is worship? What’s involved in worshipping? I promise we’re going to get into the text, but we must understand what worship is, if we are to do it with thanksgiving and praise. When you hear the phrase worship service, is your reaction “Oh that’s Sunday morning at eight and eleven”?
• To some people the phrase worship service serves only as a means to distinguish the Sunday morning service from the Sunday evening BTU, and from Wednesday night Bible study.
• But what do you think when you hear that phrase?
• Do you see images of a lofty building, soft lighting, and humble people kneeling quietly and communing reverently with God?
• Or maybe the words worship service might lead to thoughts of a storefront church filled with joyous music, people swaying from side to side, with smiles, laughs, and shouts.
Does the word worship make you think of robed priests with incense and candles, of color and ceremony? Does worship make you think of preaching or communion? Of singing or praying? Of praising or meditating? But a worship service does not happen just because a certain time period in the church schedule of events is so labeled. I’m sure we’ve all been in worship services where, by appearance at least, there seemed to be little true worshiping of God.
So, what is worship? Worship is an active response to God whereby we declare His worth. Worship is not passive, but is participative. Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response. Worship is not just a feeling; it is a declaration. Worship means “to attribute worth” to something or someone. Because of who God is and what He does, we attribute to Him the glory that is due His name. The essence of worship is the celebration of God, we celebrate Him. We extol Him, we sound His praises, we boast in the Lord. When we enter into the presence of God, worship is our active response to Him.
• When Moses met God at the burning bush, he worshiped.
• When the Israelites were delivered from bondage in Egypt, they worshiped.
• When King David was walking with God, he worshiped.
• When Joseph and Mary were told, they would be parents of Jesus they worshiped.
• When the Shepherds came to the manger, they worshiped.
• When Jesus was taken to the temple to be dedicated Simeon worshiped.
Worship is our active response to God, and it helps us to experience the reality of the presence of God. But worship is about God, not man. The worship of God does many things for us as individuals and as a community, but true worship puts God first. Worship is about God, and worship is what God desires from us.
• Worship is a style of life, and if we are to be true worshipers, we need to renew our relationship to God and to each other. I’m not talking about making changes to our worship services, because that’s an attempt to deal with the art of worshiping and not the heart of worshiping. We are the ones who need to change; we need a renewed reverence for God, a practice of the presence of God, and a deepened sense of community of God.
When we change in these areas, then we will come to worship no matter who is preaching, or singing, or visiting. When we improve in these areas, then staying out late on Saturday night and being tired on Sunday morning won’t keep us from coming to the house of God to worship Him. We will live a life of worship and know that worship doesn’t only take place on Sunday mornings, but that all we do should be an active response to God. And when this is done we can worship through our jobs, worship in our schools, worship through our conversations, and worship through our service and love toward others.