This morning we are going to begin a 6 part series on worship. Today we will be talk about worship itself and in the following weeks we will take a look at the 5 things that are apart of public worship which are teaching or preaching, the lords supper, prayer, giving, and singing.
The first thing I want to point about worship is that has beginning and an end. Worship to God is something we do as specific act at a specific time. This is true in both the OT and the NT. First lets look at an example from the OT.
Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."
Now in context Abraham was following Godís instructions and was going to sacrifice his son to God of course we learn later that was just a test of faith and God did not allow his son to truly be sacrificed. But notice the plain truth of the verse† I just read. Abraham was going to worship which means that his worship to God would have a beginning and would be at a specific place. When he returned this specific act of worship would be done.
Now in the NT when Paul was giving his defense before Felix the governor in Acts 24 he says this,
24:11"because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I
went up to
Paul wanted the Felix to
know that he was doing no wrong and certainly didnít have enough time to stir
up a great deal of trouble. But thing I want to point is that Paul went to
Now in the OT God
designated the Sabbath day which would be our Saturday as a special day the
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,† 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. †
In this passage the writer is stating the importance of Christians to assembly with one another. Notice the command is not to forsake assembly. The fact the we are to gather together indicates that we have a specific time and place that we will meet which means worship to God has a beginning and end.
We have several other passage that show that the first day of the week is the special day that Christian assemble with one another for the specific purpose of worshiping God.
1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also:† 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
We will have complete lesson on giving latter so I all I want to point out is that Paul wanted to let the churches know that on the first day of the week that were to give as they had prospered. Now if there wasnít a specific day that they came together to worship then why would Paul choose the first day of week? It obvious that he knew that when the saints would assemble.
Acts 20:6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.† 7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
according to Acts 20:16 Paul was in hurry to get
So hopefully you can see that worship to God has a beginning and an end and for the Christian we are to gather together on every first day of the week to worship God. Now the reason why I am stressing that worship has a beginning and an end is because there is new teaching out there that says that all of life is worship to God but this simply is not true. Common sense would tells us that this is not the case or else we could say that playing golf is worshiping God or picking our nose is worship to God. Surely we can see that not all life is worship to God.
Another thing we need to realize is that there are about 6 different Greek words that are translated as worship in our Bible. Some carry the meaning of a specific worship to God while others simply means a reverence or respect for God or for man. So, when we as Christians are not in public worship we are still to show reverence or we could say we need to still serve God in other areas of our life. This all goes back to the fact the we are servant to God. So when do a good deed for someone or we do the right thing instead of the wrong thing we are paying respect and honor to God. Rightly did Paul say,
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.† 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. †
So, surely we can see the difference between specific worship to God and reverence or service to God that we have in our ever day lives.
Now lets take a look at what David has to say about purpose of worshiping God in,
Psalm 122:1 A Song
of Ascents. Of David. I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go into the house of the LORD."† 2 Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O
Even though David was under Mosaic law his words here capture the very essence of what worship of God is all about. Notice he was full of Joy when it was time for him to go to the house of the Lord and notice verse number 2 they standing within the gates ready and waiting with all kind of anticipation to begin worship to God. Now I want you to think about this for second how many of us have this mentality. Do we arrive at the building early with anticipation of worship God or do we just allow ourselves just enough time to make it just as services begin. What happens when we do this? Well, any little unplanned delay can cause us to be late for worship God. I think we all need to be prepared before hand so that we can make it to worship before it begins. David goes on to say the reason why he so glad to be at the house of the lord is to praise him and thank and pray to him. Notice the focus is on God and nothing else. You see when we come together the primary reason for it is to worship God. Worship is not a social hour. Now yes we can have good fellowship with one another and enjoy each others company but this is just by product of our primary purpose. I have heard other say they come to worship so they can recharge their batteries and while agree that this an effect that we can walk away with it is still a by product of primary purpose. If we come to worship just for entertainment or to be social then we have missed the entire purpose for worship.
Now that we have talked about what worship is, when it happens, and the purpose of worship lets now look at,
How we are to worship.
Do you remember when Jesus was talking to† the Samaritan woman by the well in John 4. Jesus revealed to her that he knew about the husbands that she had in the past that the man she was with right now was not her husband. After he said this notice her response.
John 4:19 The
woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.† 20 "Our fathers worshiped on
this mountain, and you Jews say that in
She perceived that Jesus was prophet and wanted to understand more about worship and Jesus doesnít disappoint her because he tells a time a coming when people will worship God in spirit and in truth. Now he was talking about how Christians from the starting of the birth of the church would worship God. Our key verse that we want to focus in on is 24. Notice when we worship God we MUST worship IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH. These 2† elements† be in place for true worship to occur. When we worship in spirit this means we are worshiping from sincere heart. Our thoughts are upon God. We must also worship God is truth which is the word God.
John "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Now putting this all together our worship to God must come from a sincere heart and be regulated after the patter set out in Gods Word. It is the authority and our guide. Thatís why Paul tells Timothy,
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,† 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Since we have a guide to go by thatís why Paul further states 1 Corinthians 4:6 that we should not to think beyond what is written and he says in,
Colossians 3:17 †And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
You see our authority for what we do in public worship must come from the word of God. If God allowed us to worship anyway we wanted to it would end up in confusion and Paul told the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Now that we have seen how we must worship God and how Gods words must be our guide let us now look at,
Vain worship.† It should be obvious that if there is right way to worship that there is also a wrong way to worship. We can see in action in Mark 7. The Pharisees were questioning Jesus of why his disciples were eating without washing their hands. Notice Jesus response.
Mark 7:6 He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.† 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'† 8 "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men -- the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do."† 9 He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.'† 11 "But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban" -- ' (that is, a gift to God),† 12 "then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother,† 13 "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."
Here† we see that these Pharisees had taken it upon them selves to corrupt the word of God by making their own tradition take the place of Gods way. Notice Jesus say that they worshiping God in vain. This kind of worship is not acceptable to God. So, we must be careful of who worship with. If the church you go to is not regulating their worship service according to Gods will then it will consider vain worship and he will not accept it.
Paul expands up on this type of self-imposed religion in,
Colossians 2:18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,† 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.† 20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations --† 21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,"† 22 which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men?† 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
Paul makes it clear that no one is to invent the own religion and as Christians we should not allow ourselves to be deceived by man and take part in man made doctrines or you will lose you reward. The reward Paul is talking about is making it into heaven. This warning should strike fear in those who call themselves denominations because a denomination is broken branch from God where man has added or taken away from Gods pattern of worship.
Another kind of vain worship is ignorant worship. We can see example of this in Acts 17. Do remember how these people had all kind idols and they were worshiping them even an alter to unknown God.
Acts 17:22 Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;† 23 "for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
Paul took the opportunity here to explain to the people who the true and only God was so that they could render proper worship. Of course only few listened to him. When Paul was writing to the Romans he also said this about those who ignorant of Godís plan.
Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for
Folks we donít have any valid excuses today for worshiping God in ignorance because we have Gods† written word and it can be understood.
Acts "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
So worshiping out ignorance is still vain worship.
Our final example of vain worship comes from what the soldiers did to Jesus before he crucified.
Mark 15:19 Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him.† 20 And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.†
These men were making a mockery of God and Jesus. Than are many who do this today because they donít take God word or God himself serious and they make light or even fun of his perfect will.
Those who blatantly disregard God by worshiping him vain will not make it to heaven and they will face the wrath of God.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 †when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,† 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.† 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,