Sunday, December 10, 2017 am                                        Church 2017 Index

Worshipping God (1)

     We have been discussing the work of the church.  We have addressed 3 areas of that work – evangelism, edification and benevolence.  Today we want to begin a study about worship. I have frequently stated that worship is a work of the church.  Typically, it is placed under the category of edification, and it does belong there.  But worship is more than mere edification.  Every act of worship we engage in is directed toward God and carried out with Him in mind.  Edification is a biproduct of worshipping God properly. 

     In our lesson today we want to begin addressing worship.  We will not engage in an exhaustive study of this subject, but we want to notice a few things: 1) What is worship? 2) What makes worship acceptable? 3) How do we worship God as the church? 4) Why don’t we use instruments of music? 5) When and why do we assemble? We may also address some other issues if they are inquired about.

 I.                     What is worship?

a.       Worship is a challenge to properly define.  There are many misunderstandings as to what it is and what it involves.  Our dictionaries define it with words such as expressions or feelings of piety or reverence, often it is defined by one’s own feelings and reasoning.  There are some who see worship as an emotional experience, while others see it as mere ritualistic acts, and still others see it as service thinking that in everything that we do we are worshipping God.  The result is such is attitudes where, as long as we dedicate something to God, then it must be acceptable worship to Him.  Biblical worship goes much further than that. 

b.       Several NT words are used to give us an understanding of its meaning;

                                                   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)
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.  This is the ACT of worship!
John 4:23-24 – we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Matthew 4:9-10 (one of the times it is used of worshipping the devil, and the other worshipping God).
Also Hebrews 1:6 – angels worship Him (Jesus),
Hebrews 11:21 – Jacob worshipped, Revelation 4:10 – 24 elders in heaven worship God; Revelation 5:14 - the four creatures around the throne worshipped Jesus.

                                                 ii.      εὐσέβεια, (eusebia), also the root σεβω (sebo) - a word that means to demonstrate awe and respect toward God, devoutness, piety; godliness (cf. BDAG).  This is the ATTITUDE of worship.   Acts 16:14 – Lydia, “worshipped God”; Acts 18:7 – Justus “worshipped God.”
Matthew 15:9, “in vain they worship Me…”

The word is also translated “godliness” (1 Tim. 2:2, 2 Peter 1:3, 6-7).  This demonstrates the attitude of reverence and piety that is present in TRUE worship and service to Him. 

                                                iii.      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 or optional.  They point out that sometimes “worship” is defined as “service.”  While worship does involve service (doing what He says and as He says it), a study of the use of these words in their context negates this concept and makes a distinction.

c.        True worship is:

                                                   i.      Directed toward God – John 4:24, Matthew 4:9-10.
Galatians 1:10 – Our goal is to please God in all we do - Including How we worship Him.
Broken and contrite heart – Psalm 51:17 will not be despised by Him.  The attitude of worship shows this direction. 

                                                 ii.      Sacred – it is a holy act.  Hebrews 12:28, we serve God with reverence and godly fear. 
A study of the dedication and work of the tabernacle shows this.  Exodus 40:34-38, shows how God entered the tabernacle at its dedication.  There were serious consequences associated with how worship was carried out. 
Leviticus 10:1-2 is an example where Nadab and Abihu were burned to death for offering strange fire.  In vs. 3 we read, 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.’ ”    Over and over we see in scripture the seriousness of worshipping God.

                                                iii.      Both in spirit and in truth – John 4:24. By this we mean, it consists of both a proper attitude AND actions as He directs us.  Next week we want to address this in greater detail. 

                                                iv.      Deliberate worship is something we enter into.  It has a beginning and an end.  The point is we choose to worship God, we do so with deliberate action. In scripture, we find that worship has a beginning and an end. 
Israel had designated feasts they observed at various times.  They had a beginning and an end.  The sacrifices were to be done at specified times and in specified ways.  There was preparations to be made. 
Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together – it indicates a time when we ought to come together.
Acts 20:7, the disciples came together to break bread (the Lord’s Supper).
1 Corinthians 11:17-26 indicates they ought to come together to “eat the Lord’s Supper”
1 Corinthians 16:1-2, speaks of on the first day of the week laying by in store.
Personally, study and prayer are acts that we decide to engage in. 

 II.                   Why is worship a work of the church?

a.       Because worship is first and foremost about God
1 Corinthians 14:25 – even in our assembling, when done properly is calls for us to worship Him. 
Hebrews 13:15 – the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips
Hebrews 10:22 – we draw to Him, James 4:8

b.       Because there are acts of worship we are commanded to do when we come together
The Lord’s Supper – 1 Corinthians 11:20ff
Giving – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
Also our singing and prayers are directed toward God – Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:19

c.        Because He has given us a pattern to follow in how we worship Him – in every act of worship, we have a pattern to follow.  This pattern is about Him – it directs us to Him.  And we are OBEYING him when we do that. 

d.       True worship DOES edify!  Typically, worship is placed under the category of edification, and rightly so.  When we worship God properly we are edified – built up spiritually.  
Every act of worship, in God’s wisdom does strengthen us
Hebrews 10:24-25 – in our assembling we provoke one another to love and good works.
1 Corinthians 14:12, 26 – let all things be done for edification.  In our worship, we seek to be understood
Colossians 3:16 – our singing teaches and admonishes each other
BUT, we must be careful to always remember the purpose of worship.  Otherwise, we are in danger of abusing it.  It can become will worship and vain worship.  We can find ourselves simply going through the motions or focusing on how we are perceived by others instead of God (cf. Luke 18:10-12 – the Pharisee; Matthew 23:2-7, etc.)

 And thus we can see that worship is a part of the work the church is to be engaged in.  Worship is designed to magnify God both to us as saints and others who might be visiting with us (see 1 Corinthians 14:25).  It is important that we understand both what we are doing, how and why we are doing it.   We will address some of these things in coming lessons.  Is God pleased with how we are worshipping Him?