Wednesday, July 6, 2016

WHAT IS WORSHIP?

WORSHIP (Pt. 1)

Worship is something that is becoming more and more foreign to the average Christian. They attend church services on Sundays, some of which are called a ‘worship service’, but for many there is no clear understanding of the nature of worship.

I find that we have moved further away from the biblical teaching of worship as when I first came into the things of the Lord.

Remember, all you have to do is just be ‘off’ less than a degree but if you continue on that path, you will eventually be way wide of the mark—and we are now way wide of the mark for true worship.

Our understanding has become limited by our language. Since we no longer receive teaching on many of the key aspects of the Christian life, we are left with extrapolating from what we see and hear.

When the leader constantly intones, “Let us stand and worship the Lord” just before the singing, people come to equate singing with worship. Some have learned to add, “Now, let’s worship the Lord with our tithes and offerings.”

If that is all we ever hear, then most will equate worship with singing and paying.

Ravi Zacharias speaks to this when he writes,
“It is the teaching that guides and guards the integrity of worship. It is the teaching that gives understanding of how to be a worshiping community and calls us to remember how God has led in the past.”
And,
“Without the teaching, the rest of the components (of worship) become prone to heretical expressions.”

Worship is MUCH more than just those two elements mentioned above.

The reality is that our entire life is to be an expression of worship (Rom. 12:1-2). Everything that you say, think and do should come under the umbrella of worship.

But, that is not the purpose of this study.

I want to focus on the corporate gathering of believers as they come together to worship the Lord.
  • What is worship? 
  • Why do we gather? 
  • What are we supposed to do? 
  • Does God command our gathering?  
  • Where did the idea of corporate worship come from?

These are just some of the questions we will attempt to answer in this course of study.

What is Worship?

Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission (Webster’s Dictionary, 1828).

“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose—all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable. (Archbishop William Temple)

So, I will encapsulate the foregoing with my own definition:
Worship is the full expression of a heart and mind in adoration of God.

The full expression of your heart and mind, then, will include your voice and your body.

The mind is made aware of the greatness and goodness of God, while the heart is filled with joy, love, admiration and awe in response to His presence. (Think of all the theophanies in the Bible and the response of those present.)

Let me illustrate with a very weak analogy (and, remember, all analogies limp)—
When you attend some live event that features a celebrity, as soon as the celebrity is announced there is wild applause and cheering. The celebrity hasn’t even done anything yet, but the crowd is excited. (praise) Then, as the celebrity does whatever it is they were supposed to do, everyone continues with the applause and cheers. The crowd becomes almost mesmerized by the presence on stage. (worship)
When you go into the house of your local assembly, there should be an eager expectation of what is about to take place.

For me, personally, that eager expectation begins with the anticipation of getting together with my spiritual family. This anticipation is so strong in me that my blood family has always been bothered by my desire to “get there early.” I don’t want to be “on time,” and I certainly despise being late. I want to be there as each member arrives so that I have time to glean and gain from their presence. (Psalms 122)

For me, that is the beginning of what we ordinarily call a worship service in today’s church.

I will begin to deal more specifically with this aspect of worship as we continue this study.

2 comments:

  1. "For me, personally, that eager expectation begins with the anticipation of getting together with my spiritual family. This anticipation is so strong in me that my blood family has always been bothered by my desire to “get there early.” I don’t want to be “on time,” and I certainly despise being late. I want to be there as each member arrives so that I have time to glean and gain from their presence."

    Wow - what an awesome statement!!! I never knew that this is the reason that you are so early. I love this about you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks. Been that way for more than 40 years now.

    ReplyDelete

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