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Sunday, October 26, 2014 am                    Basics Index

BACK TO BASICS (34)
Worship - 1
True Worship

 Today we resume our study of our theme, “Back to the Basics 2014.”   We have examined a number of fundamental subjects with a few lessons on each one.  Today we will begin a brief study of worship. 

Worship is an important subject as it involves how we address and acknowledge God.  It includes many important elements such as obedience, attitudes, priorities and authority. 

The subject of worship is a controversial one as the religious world seeks to define it.  Some see worship as an emotional occasion that is based upon experience.  Others see it as ritualistic form with little interest in the understanding of what is being done (Catholicism will carry out rituals, at times done in foreign languages and liturgies), some reason that everyday activities are worship and seek to casualize the “worship experience”.  All of these concepts are foreign to scripture.

 I.                    What is Worship?

a.        Worship is a challenge to define because it involves many things and is used in different ways.  The Bible does not give a clear definition of worship, (e.g. “Worship is…”) but we find it all throughout its pages, from the early history to man to its culmination in heaven as recorded in Revelation.  By studying passage about worship, as well as examples of worship in scripture we can learn how to worship God and how NOT to worship God.

b.       There are several different words that are translated “worship” both in the Old and New Testaments.  Together these words give us a good understanding of what worship actually is and what it involves.

Greek words translated worship include:

                                                   i.      Προσκυνέω (proskuneo) – “to make obeisance, do reverence toward” (Vine’s) (lit. “to kiss toward” as one who might kiss the hand as a token of reverence.)
“To express in attitude or gesture one’s complete dependence on or submission to  a high authority figure” (BDAG)
Almost always, this word is used about 60 times in the New Testament, almost always in reference to worshipping God. 
It is the idea of understanding that you are in the presence of one greater than you and rendering to Him reverence that He is due, especially in performing acts directed toward Him.
John 4:24 – we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Matt. 4:9-10 (one of the times it is used of worshipping the devil, and the other worshipping God).
Also Heb. 1:6 – angels worship Him, Heb. 11:21 – Jacob worshipped, Rev. 4:10 – 24 elders in heaven worship God; Rev. 5:14 - the four creatures around the throne worshipped Jesus.

                                                  ii.      Σέβω (sebo), which means to express in gestures, rites and ceremonies one’s allegiance or devotion to deity (BDAG) (L&N, 53.53)
Matt. 15:9, “in vain they worship Me…”
Acts 16:14, Lydia worshipped Go, Acts 18:7, Justus worshipped God.
Romans 1:25 speaks of those who worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.

                                                iii.      εσέβεια, (eusebia)- a word that means to demonstrate awesome respect toward God, devoutness, piety; godliness (cf. BDAG)
The word is translated “worship” in Acts 17:23 where it is directed toward the gods of the Athenians.   While the word is not used in reference to God, it is found some 17 times, most often translated “godliness” (1 Tim. 2:2, 2 Peter 1:3, 6-7).  IT DOES demonstrate an attitude of reverence that is present in TRUE worship. 

                                                iv.      Λατρεύω (latreuo) – a word that primarily means to serve, and is often used in the sense of rendering religious service.  As worship, it deals with obeying God (doing what He says HOW He says it) out of reverence toward Him. 
Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,” (Philippians 3:3, NKJV)

But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.” (Acts 24:14)

“For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.” (Hebrews 10:2)
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”” (Matthew 4:10)   NOTE: IT is the word “serve” that is this Greek word.  I note this passage because we need to understand that as we worship God we ARE serving Him.
NOTE: There are some today advocating that everything we do is worship to God.  Typically, this is offered by those who wish to make our worship assemblies less formal.  They point out that sometimes “worship” is defined as “service.”  While worship does involve service, a  study of the use of these words in their context negates this concept and makes a distinction.

                                                 v.      It would do us well to consider these different words as we think about worshipping God.  It TRULY is fundamental to our faith.

 II.                  Worship Is:

a.        Sacred – it is a holy act.  It is doing something for God the way He prescribes.   It is a solemn occasion that should be treated with the greatest of reverence.  
Heb. 12:28.
We can see how sacred it is by noting various accounts of worship in scripture.

                                                   i.      The consecration of the tabernacle – Exodus 40:34-38, when the tabernacle was completed, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle in the cloud.  This demonstrates the presence of God and show He hallowed the place.   Rules were in place to demonstrate how sacred it is. 

                                                  ii.      Nadab and Abihu – Lev. 10:1-2, they were burned to death for offering profane fire before God.  We read in vs. 3, “And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ” So Aaron held his peace.” (Leviticus 10:3)

                                                iii.      Cain and Abel – Genesis 4 records the murder of Abel by his brother Cain.  What led to that was the sacrifices they both offered to God.  God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected Cain’s.  VERY early we learn that God takes worship serious and so should we.

                                                iv.      Exodus 20:8-11 describes the Sabbath day, a day the Lord blessed and hallowed. 

b.       A way for man to draw near to God
Hebrews 10:22 says, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

A study of the history of worship demonstrates that it is something God has always demanded as a way to recognize and appreciate Him. 
Since our worship is to be directed toward Him, when we worship Him we can know that He is pleased with us and we grow to appreciate Him all the more.
 Heb. 13:16 speaks of how our sacrifices are pleasing to God. 
Phil. 4:18 speaks of how Paul had been provided for and described it as “a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.”  While not dealing directly with our worship, this shows how when we do what He asks of us (which would include worship), He is pleased with us. 

c.        A way to give back to God – it is an expression of our gratitude for what He has done for us.
It is not secret that God has abundantly given to us (James 1:17). 
David demonstrated an understanding of this when he was receiving offerings for the building of the temple.  1 Chron. 29:10-19 records his praising God.  In vs. 13-14 we read, ““Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You.” (1 Chronicles 29:13–14)   A realization that God gives us all, and what we return is but a token of our gratitude for His blessings. 
At the threshing floor of Ornan, David is offered everything he needed to sacrifice to God.  He replies, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.”” (1 Chronicles 21:24)

As Christians, we understand this.  Because of grace, which we can NEVER repay, we still ought to want to give back to Him what we can.  ONE way we do that is through worshipping Him.  Again, Heb. 13:15-16 says, “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. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

d.       Is deliberate – worship is something we enter into.  There are some today who say everything we do is worship.  That is not what the Bible teaches.  We find that worship is something that has a beginning and an end.  Israel had feasts they observed at various times.  They had a beginning and an end.
Heb. 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together – it indicates a time when we come together.
Acts 20:7, the disciples came together to break bread (the Lord’s Supper)
1 Cor. 11:17-26 indicates they ought to come together to “eat the Lord’s Supper”
1 Cor. 16:1-2, speaks of on the first day of the week laying by in store.

 

 And thus we can see what worship is.  While not necessarily an easy subject to understand, it is VERY basic and fundamental to our faith.    In our next lesson we will address the seriousness of worship.  This will be followed by a lesson on the five acts of worship and then a lesson dealing with some errors in worship we need to address. 

For today, I leave you with this simple question.  Is your worship in spirit and in truth?