THE MEANING OF WORSHIP INTRODUCTION:
One writer notes that:
"Worship in our time has been captured by the tourist mind set. Worship is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church. For others, occasional visits to special services.. Some, with a bent for Christian entertainment and sacred diversion, plan their lives around special events like retreats, rallies and conferences. We go to see a new personality, to hear a new truth, to get a new experience and so, somehow, expand our otherwise humdrum lives. We'll try anything -- until something else comes along."
Does this describe our attitude toward worship? What is worship all about?
I. WHAT IS WORSHIP?
A. A look at both the original language and the origin of the word in English will help us understand the meaning.
1. The primary Hebrew word for worship.
a. Shachah - "to depress, i.e. prostrate (in homage to royalty or God): bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship."
2. Three Greek words.
a. Proskuneo - "meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand), to fawn or crouch to, homage (do reverence to,
adore): worship." It occurs 59 times in the New Testament. It originally carried with it the idea of subjects falling down to kiss the ground before a king or kiss their feet.
b. Sebomai - "to reverence, hold in awe." Used 10 times in the New Testament.
c. Latreuo - "to render religious service of homage." Used 21 times in the New Testament.
3. The word in the English language.
a. Literally means to ascribe worth to something.
4. True worship begins with a deep respect or reverence for God, a frame of heart, an attitude. This must be fixed in one's mind before we go further. An "act" of worship is an act proceeding from or the result of that attitude.
B. The Bible talks about several "kinds" of worship.
1. Ignorant Worship--Acts 17:22-31
a. Acts 17:23 - "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:
b. Paul perceived that they were very religious but he warned them that their religious service was not pleasing to God for it was done without knowledge of what God wanted or even who God was.
c. Ignorant worship is like throwing darts at a bulls eye while blindfolded--sure you might hit the mark but more than
likely you will do a lot of damage
d. ignorant worship is not pleasing to God for he is not glorified by accident, but by a conscience praise of His name.
e. Such worship will never be pleasing to God, for His will has been revealed (John 4:24).
f. God does not wink (tolerate) ignorance - Acts 17:30.
2. Vain Worship
a. Matthew 15:7-9 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 - 'These people draw near to Me with
their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9- And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"
b. The Pharisees made their worship Vain (useless) because they had layered on the commandments of men to their
c. This is the attitude which changes what God has said, does not respect what God has said, and not obey what He has
commanded. See Leviticus 10:1-11.
3. Will Worship
a. Colossians 2:23 - Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (KJV)
b. Colossians 2:23 - 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.
c. This is worship that centers in satisfying self. This is the same type of worship that we often have today, that
which calls for "audience centered" worship.
4. True Worship.
a. John 4:23-24 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 - "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
II. THE CORRECT ELEMENTS OF WORSHIP
A. Worship is God centered.
1. Psalms 95:6 - Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
2. Acts 17:23 - "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:
3. Hebrews 13:15 - Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our
lips, giving thanks to His name.
4. One of the great errors in modern worship is making it worshiper centered. Worship is to be centered on praising God, not entertaining ourselves.
a. We need to understand that the blessings we receive from worship are a by-product of our worship and not the focus. In worship we come to do and give, not receive.
b. The effort to "get more" out of worship has led to all types of artificial, superficial, and unscriptural gimmicks to "liven up" worship periods. Such IS NOT WORSHIPING GOD; it is bowing to altar of the social gospel.
c. Our problem is that we have determined that we have a problem but have not correctly diagnosed the problem. The
problem is not with the content of our worship. The problem is with our hearts. We are so materialistic and carnal minded that we cannot center our minds of praising God and need artificial stimulation to "feel" spiritual.
B. The correct place of our worship.
1. Anyplace where God's people dwell.
2. Acts 17:24-25 "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25- "Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
3. This is the truth that Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman.
a. John 4:20-21 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." 21 - Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father."
C. There must be a combining of reverence toward God and worshiping according to the truth of God's will.
1. John 4:24
2. Joshua 24:14 - "Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!
CONCLUSION: The child of God does not need special stimulants to bring about proper worship. He centers his life on pleasing God, therefore he is always happy to come before the throne of grace in praise to the King.