A – TRUE WORSHIP – 1
Jhn. 4:24 This verse and the 3 previous verses mention “worship” eight times. Worship is of great importance to God.
First we want to define worship. It is the reverent love and allegiance given to a deity, idol, or sacred object. We know from Scripture that worship given to an idol or object would be sin in God’s sight. Ex. 20:4 It is humble devotion. It includes honor, dignity, reverence. (American Heritage Dictionary) Other definitions include respect, praise, adoration given to a superior being. The common Greek word in the N.T. means “to kiss the hand, to bow down, to prostrate oneself.” To put it all together, we give honor to a superior being, which to the Christian is God and God alone. Ex. 20:3; Isa. 42:8
The thrust of this series is to understand what we do and don’t do when we worship, as well as when and where our worship takes place. Our worship goes up to Almighty God. We do not come together to worship the preacher, the song service, the building, the teachers or anything else but God. On the other hand, our worship is not just in a church building or with a certain group of people. Our worship can be any time and any where.
We should live a life of worship. Let us begin with some Bible examples.
The O.T. contains a recipe for a lovely fragrance to be used in the Tabernacle. It was a very specific recipe with certain spices in certain amounts. It was so fragrant that it would have made a lovely scent for their private tents; however, they could not dare mix it or use it for anything but the purpose and place of God’s instructions or they would be cut off from their people. Ex. 30:37,38 This fragrance rose to God and was set apart just for Him. It was a form of worship in humble devotion and adoration.
Another example is found in the N.T. It also was a fragrant offering but was offered to Jesus Christ, the living God in human form. Jhn. 12:1-3 The spikenard was very costly. It is said to be worth a year’s wages. Yet Mary was willing to give it all to her Lord. She washed His feet with this costly ointment and then she wiped His feet with her hair. Her act came from a worshipping heart. This was something she did not have to do. In fact Judas was quite perturbed that this ointment was wasted in such an extravagant way. Jhn.12:4,5 Judas did not have a heart of worship which was soon shown to be true. Mary was willing to give her all in true worship.
As God commanded that the Israelites have no other gods, he described Himself as a jealous God. Worship is to be for Him alone. Ex. 34:14 God had to remind them over and over, for heathen people all around them had many idols and gods. Even Aaron made an idol at the request of the people when Moses was on
. Deut. 9:16,20 God was ready to destroy His people because they worshipped something besides Himself. Worship is important to God. How often do we make a molten calf for ourselves—we put “stuff” or “entertainment” before God. We love and honor our time with our own interests rather than loving and honoring God with our time in worship of Him. Mt. Sinai
A place of worship was very important to God in the O.T. It took 7 chapters with 243 verses to discuss the establishment of the Tabernacle. It took 31 verses to describe the creation of the universe. That’s how important the worship of God’s people was to Him.
The priority of worship was evident in the setup of the Israelite campsite each time they stopped. The priests were closest to the Tabernacle. They were in charge of worship. After the priests were the Levites who were in charge of the service and taking care of the Tabernacle. Then came the twelve tribes surrounding the Tabernacle. Worship took the highest priority.
When a young man reached 20 yrs. of age, he could be a soldier. A Levite could begin serving in the Tabernacle at the age of 25. A priest had to be 30 years of age. It’s interesting that Jesus was 30 when He began His ministry. The priest had to be of spiritual maturity. Again, worship was priority.
Worship remains a priority in the N.T.
12:1 God wants and expects acceptable worship from us as Christians. Our physical body is not a spiritual sacrifice. God wants our whole being. Rom. 12:2 That is what is good and acceptable worship. We hold back on God. We think if we take out an hour of our week that we have given God an acceptable sacrifice. After all, we could have taken that hour and done something that we wanted to do. This is not acceptable nor true worship. Does that one hour weekly honor the sacrifice that Christ made for us? When you were raising your children, did you feel acceptable to love them so much that you gave them one hour a week. Reality check! Rom.
1 Pet. 2:5 What a description of God’s people. Now Christians are priests. We are to be a holy priesthood. Just as Paul in Romans spoke of a living sacrifice, we are to be living stones to build a house that is spiritual—not a house of cement stones. God doesn’t want a church that is cold and not responsive to the needs of people. But most of all, God doesn’t want Christians to forget the salvation through Christ, His Son. Do we realize where we would be without Christ. This memory should make us love, honor, praise, and adore Him in true worship—not just an hour on Sunday morning but every day of our lives.
There is acceptable worship and unacceptable worship but everybody worships. Many worship idols. Others worship material things. Some that don’t believe in God and even some that believe worship ideas and philosophies. Some even worship themselves. Whatever we worship begins with the mind. Prov. 23:7 We need to focus our mind on God and His will for our lives. We need control over our mind for from it will begin acceptable or unacceptable worship. We can have acceptable and spiritual worship if we regard the filter for our thinking in Phil. 4:8