Saturday, May 28, 2011

What Is True Worship?

We live in a day where few seem to understand what true worship is all about. Many people attend church for the social value more than learning of Christ and what He expects out of us. True worship must center on God and not on man’s desires. According to William Wilson in his Old Testament Word Studies the word worship ultimately means to pay adoration to God. The Psalmist in Psalm 95 calls for the people of Israel to praise and worship God because He is their Creator, Protector, and their Shepherd. The Psalmist proclaims in v.6, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” Then again in Psalm 96:9 the Psalmist proclaims: “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.” God is worshipped because of who He is and what He has done for us an undeserving people of His grace.

So we see worship is about God. Anywhere in the Bible that we see biblical worship or praise, it is focused on God. In true worship the worshiper is totally focused on God (or Christ) and nothing else. Remember Isaiah in Isaiah 6, his total focus was on the Lord because he got a glimpse of God’s power and glory. Interestingly in v.3 even the angels worshipped God with total reverence. In 2 Samuel 7 God told David that he could not build the Temple, but that his son would (vv.12-13). David was also told in v.16 that his throne would be established forever. Then in vv.18-29 we find David praising and worshipping God because of His greatness and mercy. The praise was all about God not David. In Luke 2:21-35 we find the story of Simeon who whole heartedly worshipped God in the Temple when He took up the baby Jesus in his arms because God promised him that he would not die until he saw his salvation. Let me offer one more example. The Apostle Paul’s life since his conversion was dedicated to the worship of God, for it was he who wrote; “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31) From what we can gather from the biblical record, Paul lived a worshipful life.

We see then that worship should be a natural outcome of a saved person who appreciates all that God is and what He has done for him or her. Believers need to dedicate their lives to worshipping God His way because we will be worshipping God for all eternity. In the Book of Revelation chapters 4 and 5:8-14 we find heavenly worship of God during the Tribulation Period. The four beasts and the 24 elders are worshipping God because He is worthy of the honor for He created all things for His pleasure (Rev. 4:11). I believe that this heavenly scene will be repeated continually for all eternity. We have the blessed privilege of worshipping Christ forever.

Implementing true worship in our churches can be a difficult task. It starts with solid biblical preaching and teaching. We are dealing with people who are strongly influenced to think more of themselves than of others. Many people come to church for what they can get out of it instead of focusing on the Lord in true worship. We need to teach our congregations about the glories of God and Christ. We need to help them to take the focus off of themselves and to look to Christ.

We need to build an atmosphere of worship. We need to choose songs that are theologically accurate and true to God’s character. Our music leaders can explain the richness of the hymns they choose and help the congregation to focus on what they are actually signing. This is not popular in most churches today, but I believe it is healthy to help people to learn to keep the noise down in the sanctuary so others can prepare their hearts for true worship. Many of our sanctuaries are very noisy and disruptive. I am not arguing for a false piety, but I do believe there should be a proper atmosphere for worship.

We need to teach that every aspect of the service is a part of the worship. Pastoral prayers should be meaningful and not just something we do. The offering time is a special time of worship as we give back to God in thanksgiving for how He has provided for us. Nothing should be done as a filler, but everything with a purpose.

What is our attitude about worship? We need to understand that life is about Christ and not about ourselves. We must go to church and live our lives to glorify Christ!!

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