July 31, 2022
And when you go beyond Acts 2:42 into verses 46 and 47 you find the other 3 things that the early church found essential to their faith and to ours as well. We talked about being devoted to small groups and Serving together.
The last of those in verse 46 is that they gathered together in the temple to worship. Different translations say different things about what they did in the temple to be called worship in some. So that really caused me to ask myself what did their worship look like and what should our worship look like?
I mean do we even know what it means to worship and is there true worship? Are there right ways to do it and wrong ways to do it? I would say that every single one of us has a different picture in our mind’s eye of what that worship would look like right? What does it include and what does it not include? We can have everything we want or it would be a very long service. The Black and Hispanic community worship for several hours.
So, I guess what I am asking is…what are the worship essentials according to the Bible not our preference if that makes sense.
Psalm 100:4 says “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” Lots of church including ours use that wording of praise and worship. But what is praise and how is it different than worship? One writer says that Praise is acknowledging and thanking God for the things God has done in your life. We offer praise to God as thanksgiving, remembering the wonderful works God has done. The word praise in the dictionary means to express warm approval or admiration. When we praise God, we are expressing our admiration to God. Anyone can do this. You don’t have to be a Christian to offer praise. You can see something God has done and praise him for it.
So then what is worship? To some people, worship is about modern bands with keyboards or guitars and drums. To others, it’s about hymns, organs or solemn reverence and ritual. People have expressed worship in many ways in various denominations, traditions, cultures, and throughout the history of the church.
What if biblical worship is not mainly about music or an event? What if it’s not even mainly about the sense of the presence of God, freedom to express emotions, or following a certain form? These can be related to worship, but what is really at the heart of worship? And it seems to me if we are going to find the heart of worship then where do we have to go? The Bible right.
What is worship according to the Bible? Well in the NT the most common words translated worship in the Bible mean to kneel or lay face down before someone as an act of reverence. Biblical worship is acknowledging that God is the King and results in living lives in light of that truth. to lay one’s self before God.
What is the word worship in Hebrew, in the Old Testament? worship means to bow down, prostrate oneself, before a monarch or superior, in homage, etc. Both of the primary words in Hebrew and Greek for worship in the Bible mean the same thing: to bow down or lay one’s face to the ground. It’s an acknowledgment of God’s glory. There is someone who is transcendent and glorious and God is worthy of our full allegiance and devotion!
Webster's defines worship in a way that encapsulates the priority we should give to worship as a spiritual discipline: Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission. The Biblical words describe the actual act of worship, that of kneeling, bowing, or lying prostrate on the ground. The English translation describes the reason we would do what the Bible says. Psalm 95:6 describes the act of Biblical worship with two synonyms.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! So worship is to bow down or lay our face before God. This physical act is worship when it reflects the heart’s posture to follow the King according to the Psalmist. And worship becomes a beautiful and powerful reality if we understand it from God’s perspective more than ours which we find throughout the Psalms which many are songs of worship. And I have included a list of 72 scriptures
So even though they are often grouped together, worship goes beyond praise. Worship is reserved for those who are in fellowship with God. Biblically only those who belong to the body of Christ can truly worship God. We as followers worship God not just praise God for the things God has done but because of who God is. Worship is a spiritual act that happens when your spirit connects with God’s Spirit.
This is what Jesus means in John 4:24 when talking to the woman at the well about the place to worship says: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."
To worship in spirit is to be led by the living God and to know the joy that comes from fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Our experience of worship can be alive when we worship in spirit. True worship must first be in spirit – led by the Spirit and involves our spirit, the in-most part of our being. Then what is it to worship in truth? Truth what is truth? To worship in truth is to ground our life in God’s truth, in God’s eternal Word, the Bible. We cannot worship however we want and do whatever we feel like. To worship is to bow before God and to delightfully follow His orders. G.O.D Grateful Obedience Dependence.
You have to both for the heart of worship. Spirit and truth. Because if we worship in Spirit without the Word (the truth) then we might love Jesus, but if we don’t do what He commands, we don’t really love Him. It’s merely lip-service. And if we worship in truth without the Spirit, it becomes legalism. We might be doing the right things, but if our hearts are not encountering the living God, then we miss the most important thing.
Jesus is building a church and talking about a church that worships in both spirit and in truth. Jesus is building a church that is neither motivated by legalism nor lawlessness. To truly worship in spirit and in truth is to love God and to keep His commandments (John 14:15). And this Companion is ? The Spirit of Truth.
This can only happen when people truly know Jesus, who He is and what He has done. This draws love from the very core of our being. Jesus is worthy of our worship. He is the Heart of Worship. It is all about you Jesus. In contemporary worship, sometimes we can talk a lot of times as if worship is almost synonymous with music. Worship is much more than music or an event like a worship service.
Music is a gift from God and has been associated with Christian worship since the beginning. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are part of being filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:17-21). But we can’t just get content singing the songs. Music is powerful and valuable as long as it fosters true worship, a heart that follows and obeys Jesus. Reverence.
The danger is this: it is possible to have music and everyone singing and even sensing God’s presence and never really worship according to the Bible. There is that fear of becoming a show. So, we have to examine ourselves to see if our thoughts, feelings, and traditions (whether traditional or contemporary) line up with Scripture.
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;” Matt. 15:8 (ESV) This is a hard word, but we have to remember that it’s possible to honor God with our lips, our words, our singing, but our hearts still be far from God. The call to worship is not a rally to come and watch a performance no matter the style. Or to come and see what we are going to get out of it. It’s the full surrender of a heart to God.
Worship can only be measured by the fruit of a transformed life. When we ask someone, “How was worship today?” the answer shouldn’t be about the quality of the music, rating the sermon, the emotion of the moment, or even our sense of God’s presence.
A biblical response would be: “Worship was great! My heart was convicted, I humbled myself, and I committed to obeying Jesus. I will forgive people who wronged me. I asked Holy Spirit to empower my heart to follow through with it.” If we follow through and worship brings us into a right relationship with God, then true worship has taken place.
Music is a beautiful gift from God and can be a powerful expression of true worship. But it’s not the musical skill or ensemble but the posture to follow Jesus in everything. Whether it’s one person strumming chords in a living room or a stadium full of worshippers, whenever people seek to observe all that Jesus commands, true worship can take place.
Because real worship is not about the songs that you are singing, it is about your spirit connecting. When you understand who God is, when you see God’s wonder and greatness, when you recognize the awesomeness of God’s splendor and the beauty of God’s holiness, then worship will happen regardless of whether it is between 8:30 and 12 on a Sunday morning. And we are not waiting to go to worship but to be in worship every hour every day.
Worship is the heartbeat of a disciple, or follower, of Jesus Christ. To come under Jesus’ authority, to follow Him with all our hearts, to do His orders joyfully because we know that’s where true joy and life are at. And so biblical worship involves our whole being: spirit, soul, and body. One writer defined Biblical Worship as not just a cerebral pursuit, an emotional exaggeration, or a mystical consciousness. Worship is a presentation of our entire being, ignited by the Holy Spirit, as a living sacrifice to God.
And we get sense from Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Worship involves our bodies. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 (ESV) reminds us: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
With our bodies, which are created in God’s image, we can express our worship to God. There are many words in the Bible that show physical expressions of worship.
Biblical expressions of worship can include kneeling (Phil. 2:9-10), bowing heads (Micah 6:6-8), raising heads (Psa. 3:3-4; Heb. 4:16), lifting up hands (Lam. 3:40-41; Psa. 63:3-4), and dancing before the Lord (Psa. 30:11; 149:3; 150:4).
Worship involves our minds. Worship engages our intellect as we allow our minds to be renewed by God’s Word (Rom. 12:2). Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Intellect cannot accurately lead us to God. We can only know what is knowable to us and what we choose to accept. But if we are truly led to God, our intellects will be satisfied and can more properly and fully appreciate the truth that God reveals.
True worship is spiritual. It goes beyond just intellect and emotions. God is Spirit, so our worship must involve our spirit, the in-most part of our being, as we’re led by the Spirit of God. The call to worship is before us. Let’s offer our bodies as a living sacrifice before the Lord. Let His presence fill your heart, let His glory transform your soul, and let His power be manifest in your life!
Let us truly worship God in Spirit and Truth.