The Meaning of Worship
Before summarizing the meaning of worship, let’s begin by reading some scripture which comes from the gospel of Mark, chapter 12.
Verse 28: And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
Verse 29: And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
Verse 30: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Verse 31: And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Verse 32: And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
Verse 33: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Verse 34: And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
Those commandments set the conditions or basis for worship. The following will help to define the meaning of true worship.
The direct acknowledgement to God whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving or by deed done in such acknowledgment.
Any act performed by man because God has commanded it, is worship.
The Christian who endeavors to teach another the gospel, obey civil law, and practice holiness is worshipping God, in a broad sense of the act.
Genuine worship is a direct meeting with the Holy, Almighty God and will result in life changes in the worshipper, not just an emotional experience for the moment.
True worship is a choice made by the worshipper, not something that happens. True worship is not measured by emotional responses, but by a change in the life of the worshipper.
What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. This is what He wants instead of the ritualistic, half hearted sacrifices that the Israelites offered Him.
When we walk humbly with God all of the time, worship will come naturally to us. It won’t be simply a ritual but an outpouring of love for our creator every day.
We must prepare our hearts for worship by having a right relationship with God. We serve God throughout the week. What we do for others, we do for Him. The heart of the worship is the worship of the heart.
Jesus called us all to model His life. He was the greatest example of a servant which came to serve and not be served. A true worshiper seeks to live a complete Christian life. He is not one who worships only when he wants to, but is worshiping through his obedience every minute of every day. By taking our eyes off of us and placing them on God and others.
When we take our eyes off of what we do and place them on God and His will, we will begin to understand what it means to be a true worshiper. By striving to be like Christ, worshiping Him daily and serving our fellow man and brothers before ourselves.
To model to all a worshiper lifestyle that is reflective of Christ.
We are to worship God with our entire being not holding anything back. Not caring what others think about us.
If there is a contradiction between what we say that we know to be true and our actions or external expressions, we are guilty of deception. We are hypocrites.
People who do not know about God or have a false knowledge of God cannot worship him in truth.
In its simplest form, worship means telling or showing God how important we think He is.
We are not called to simply be “Christians”. We were created with the sole purpose to glorify God; all of us were made to worship. The reason we must define worship is that worship defines us. It defines our entire purpose for living.
Worship must extend to our individual lives, seven days a week. Worship involves our entire lives.
Worship can be defined as the continually repeated self-surrender of the Christian in obedience of life.
Sunday morning has only the “potential” to be a time of true worship. If people’s hearts are not focused on God and if they haven’t been living their week for His glory, there is no great reason to suppose they will suddenly change all this on Sunday morning. They may act as if they are very excited and enthusiastic about God, but as we have been taught, God looks at the heart.
If we are giving God your heart and it’s coming out of a life of worship, it will be what he delights in and requires.
Worship is something that needs to go beyond our corporate gathering times. (Sunday or Wednesday). Our corporate meetings should simply be the culmination of an entire week of obedience and glorifying God in our small, daily choices. So, the most genuine, meaningful and passionate corporate worship times, will be when the congregation has been living worship all week long.
Expressions of worship should not be limited to church buildings. Anywhere you can think, speak, or act, you can also worship.
God is not impressed with our worship on Sunday morning at church if we are practicing “cruise control obedience the rest of the week. You may sing with reverent zest or great emotional fervor, but your worship is only as pleasing to God as the obedience that accompanies it.
As hard as this is to swallow, worship is not a nice little thing we get excited about once every week or so. It is our whole life.
Romans 12 verse 1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (rational) service”.
This verse instructs us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. This is our spiritual service or act of worship. If we truly follow the first commandment which I read from Matthew at the beginning, this simply means that everything we do should be done as if we do it for God every waking minute.
God looks at the heart of those who sacrifice. We are to give sacrificially and it shouldn’t be mindlessly as something we are required to do but it should be a joy to give back to the Lord for all that He has done for us.
Here’s another example of worship in Ephesians chapter 6.
Verse 5 “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ”.
Verse 6 “Not with eye service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”.
Verse 7 “With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men”:
Verse 8 “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free”.
These scriptures tell us about what is expected of servants. Everyone is answerable to someone. We must answer to our leaders, we must answer to the judicial system and the police, and we answer to our bosses. As long as what we are told to do that does not go against God’s word, we must be obedient.
The following three paragraphs are the key to true worship of God. You will notice that the majority of this is not done at the church but in our everyday lives.
When we serve others, we serve God. In obeying and doing these things, we are worshiping God by our actions.
The key to knowing God better, the key to loving Him more, and the key to worshiping Him in a manner that pleases Him all revolve around obedience. How does this relate to worship? If we fail to get on our knees before the Lord, we never will truly understand humility and servanthood. We use the excuse that it may offend someone if we were to do it in our church, and yet we fail to see that God may be offended because we don’t. If we truly believe that worship is about Him and not us, why does it matter what someone else may think?
A true worshiper seeks to live through his obedience every minute of every day, taking our eyes off of us and placing them on God and others. If we will take our eyes off of what we do, and place them on God and His will, I believe we will begin to understand what it means to be a true worshiper. Striving to be like Christ, worshiping Him daily, and serving our fellow man and brothers before ourselves.
Although unbelievers cannot truly worship, they can watch believers worship. They can observe the joy that we feel. They can see how we value God’s Word and how we respond to it. But we cannot do what we want and call it worship. It must be the things which are done by our obedience to God.
Then those unbelievers can hear how the Bible answers the problems and questions of life. They can notice how worship encourages, strengthens and changes us. They can sense when God is supernaturally moving in a service, although they won’t be able to explain it. When unbelievers watch genuine worship, it becomes a powerful witness.
We should be living our lives so that others will see Christ in us through our actions, speech, and obedience.
Our corporate times of worship on Sunday, our church meetings, should be the natural outcome of an entire week of worshiping God by our actions and obedience to Him. He knows the difference between hearts truly passionate about Him and someone who is only caught up in the music or the excitement of people singing together.
Worship shouldn’t stop when we leave the church doors. Worship is something that needs to go beyond our corporate gathering times. Our corporate meetings should simply be the culmination of an entire week of obedience and glorifying God in our small, daily choices. So the most genuine, meaningful and passionate corporate worship times, will be when the congregation has been living worship all week long.
Let us always seek to grow in our worship to the Lord. May we ever allow His spirit to move in us as He directs our actions and responses in Worship. After all, it’s about Him and for Him. What we receive is a heart of humility, grace and reverence before the God who saved us from sin to be His children forever.