How Must We Worship God?

-What Does Worship Look Like?

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “worship”? What images does that word “worship” create for you? There are roughly 450 verses, in Scripture, that contain the word “worship” or “praise” in them. So, it’s a frequent Bible theme! Most often, it’s used as an appropriate outpouring response, of the human heart, toward Yahweh, who is worthy! At other times, it’s used negatively, by the writers of Scripture, because the worship & praise is directed at “idols” or “false gods” or “human kings”; or, some other created thing!

-Let’s Define Worship!

The dictionary definition for worship goes like this:  “worship is rendering honor and homage to God or to any object regarded as sacred; it is adoration, devotion & praise.” While true, that definition seems a little stale & sterile to me! It lacks the key element of a personal relationship! I much prefer this definition:  “worship is a redeemed heart, occupied with God, expressing itself in adoration & thanksgiving.” Much better! Or, what about this definition, by A.W. Tozer:  “True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God, that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.” True worship is always about GOD! He is always the focus of true worship! He is the object of our worship! We are to “be occupied with Him.” We reverence, honor, and adore Him—NOT because of what He does for us; but, because of WHO He IS!

-True Worship Changes Us!

We worship the God who entered the world, He created, to save & redeem His people, who are lost in sin! And, here is the bottom line about worship—when our worship, of God, is true & genuine, our heart & our life will be CHANGED! True worship changes us! I would suggest that it begins in our head with knowledge of the “who”, “why’s” and “how’s” of worship! Then, our knowledge of worship makes it’s way to our heart; and, we know when it’s arrived, in our heart, because our hands quickly follow! It’s seen being lived out in the deeds & actions of a changed life! That’s what happens when genuine worship takes place! If we don’t worship God rightly, we become guilty of disobedience to His commands!

-God Commands Us To Worship!

God commands us to worship Him & no other! And, He’s instructed us what our worship ought to look like:  “I am the Lord your God…Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself…You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” Exodus 20:1-5; and, “Fear Yahweh your God, worship Him” Deut 6:13.  A clear picture, of the worship God accepts, is the story of Israel returning to a gathering of praise, around the Ark of God, under King David. In 1 Chronicles 16, David recites a Psalm, of worship & praise, directed at Yahweh! As the recently appointed king, of Israel, David made it a priority to lead Israel back to faithful worship of the LORD. This is what worship looks like—it doesn’t matter if it’s Israel in the O.T.; or, the church in the N.T. Read it again!

 

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Longing For Something Bigger

-Living A Conflicted Life

When I came to faith, in Jesus Christ, as a 13-year old boy, I suddenly had this longing to live for something bigger! Like my life had suddenly taken on a bigger meaning than it had before; and, I didn’t want to waste it. My spiritual mentors taught me about Jesus’ 2nd Coming; and, challenged me to be looking for Him with eager anticipation! Instead, I found myself becoming this double-minded man—if Jesus returned, while I was 13 years old, I’d never have the chance to grow up & be an adult. That meant I’d never experience marriage; never have kids; never fulfill all my dreams! So, I was conflicted!

-Aware Of Our Brokenness

It wasn’t that I didn’t want Jesus to come back… I just wanted Him to wait 20 years or so! Perhaps that resonates with you because you thought the same way if you knew the Lord Jesus as a teenager. For those of us truly “born again”, we live in that tension between today and eternity, don’t we? God created us with this survival instinct; so, if we’re mentally and emotionally healthy we wanna live! But, spiritually we’re aware of our brokenness; and, we long for something bigger!

-Made For Vertical Worship

In his excellent book, Vertical Church, James MacDonald starts the 1st chapter with these words:  “Deep in the soul of every human being is a longing for transcendence created within us by God Himself.” Our ministries are not primary; nor, is our fellowship with our faith community! Vertical worship is primary! We are called to make much of our Awesome God! He has called believers out of this world to be His “worshippers”!

-Nothing Bigger Than Pursuing Jesus

Because He alone is worthy of worship, theologically we speak of His “Transcendence”—that He surpasses & exceeds the universe, time and space! His wisdom transcends human wisdom and logic! Scripture puts it like this:  “His ways are not our ways” Isaiah 58:9.  The Apostle Paul’s words to the Church of Ephesus probably define what we mean by God’s Transcendence as accurately as any:  “One God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all” Ephesians 4:6. That’s what we mean by His Transcendence—God is “above all”; He is “through all”; and, He is “in all.” As believers, there’s nothing we could pursue in life that’s bigger than Jesus! Chase Him!

-All Of Life Is Sacred

The book of Ecclesiastes details Solomon’s experimental pursuits of the intellect, of wealth & luxury, of politics & religion; and, he concluded that all of life’s pursuits are futile by themselves! Solomon concluded:  “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity.” (ch. 12:13) He learned that you can’t “compartmentalize” life! You can’t separate the “spiritual” from the rest of life; or, you can’t separate the “sacred” from the “secular.”! He’s saying that ALL of life is “sacred.” “Fear God & pursue Him” in all things! Otherwise, life is futile!