Summary: Worship is--adoration, celebration, spiritual, proclamation, offering, togetherness, transformation, and involves preparation.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the church. It’s an appropriate time to talk about worship. This is something that is in flux among Protestants. There are fewer and fewer traditional services as many churches are moving to contemporary worship. The structure is simple; there are basically two elements: singing and sermon. A praise band has replaced the organ and there’s no liturgy. I find this regrettable. I think this contemporary format works fine for conferences, retreats, and seminars, but not on Sunday. We have liturgy because we want worship to be structured, substantive, spiritual, and centered on honoring God.
I remember a church I used to attend where they called the Sunday worship a “preaching service.” The pastor was eager to get the “non-essential preliminaries” over with so he could get to the important part--the sermon. Yet all elements of worship are equally important. Together--each thing we do in worship--forms a unified act of praise to our God.
So what is worship? I’d like to define worship, because it is so important, and not just for this life. We’re going to be spending eternity worshiping God.
1. Worship is adoration. The word “worship” means to bow down before God. It comes from the Old English word “worthship.” This word brings to mind the proclamation of Revelation 5:12: “Worthy is the Lamb to receive honor and glory and blessing.” When we begin to glimpse the reality of God, the natural reaction is to worship Him. In our worship…
We are declaring God’s worth.
We are paying reverent homage and respect.
We are offering praise.
We are responding to God’s greatness.
Worship is the highest form of love. Worship is our reply to what God has done. It is a “thank You” that refuses to be silenced. We’re taking God seriously. God is enthroned through the worship of His people. “O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”
2. Worship is celebration. In Luke 14, Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a party! God is the Host, and we’re invited. We do so with joy and enthusiasm. God is alive, and He’s caused us to come alive in the new birth. Worship is not the funeral of a dead deity; it is a celebration of the exciting, exhilarating presence of a living Lord who makes possible our hope and joy. Worship celebrates what God has done in Christ, and what He is now doing in the world. Because we take God seriously, we approach Him in worship with expressions of joy!
3. Worship is spiritual. Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and truth,” Luke 4:24. Worship is a sacred time, set-apart…
Reminding us that there are matters of eternal significance;
Reminding us that we answer to God;
Reminding us that we need Him every hour.
Worship involves both faith and feeling. It is both spiritual and spirited. Professor Jack Davis of Gordon-Conwell Seminary writes: “American evangelical churches need to recover a sense of the holiness and majesty of God, and of the real, personal presence of the risen Christ in the midst of His people in the power of the Spirit as the central realities of biblical worship.” Warren Wiersbe writes, “We’re not worshiping God because of what He will do for us, but because of what He is to us.”