One aspect of Christianity involves worshipping God.  Here  we will note what worship is as well as the importance of both public and private worship.

What is worship? The word is defined by Thayer as, "1) to kiss the hand to (toward) one, in token of reverence... 3) in the New Testament by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication;..." Thus it indicates to show reverence, or hallowed respect to someone. Note the positions mentioned in this definition: kissing the hand, kneeling to do homage. These actions indicate special effort being made merely because of the worth of the one being addressed. It should also be noted that to be worthwhile it is done voluntarily, rather than being forced to do it. Then and only then, will it have true meaning in oneís life. In this article we are dealing with such an attitude toward God.

A key aspect of our worship is that it pleases God. In order to do this we must worship Him following the directions He has given us. From the beginning of manís existence upon this earth, God has expected us to worship in the manner He prescribes. Genesis 4 records the story of Cain and Abel. Both were making an offering to God. Cain brought offering of the fruit of the ground (4:3) while Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat (4:4). God accepted Abelís sacrifice and rejected Cainís (4:4-5). From this we can infer that God had given specific instructions on how to worship and sacrifice to Him. Abel obeyed and Cain did not. The books of Exodus and Leviticus deal extensively and in great detail with the manner of worship the Israelites were to participate in. And we find in Leviticus 10:1-2, that Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron and priests, were burned to death by God because they offered "profane fire". This tells us that they did not follow Godís instructions to worship Him on this occasion and God viewed the offense seriously. From these examples and others we learn that if our worship is to be acceptable to God it must be according to His pattern. And does that not make sense? If you wanted to please someone, you would do what they ask of you and do it the way they ask you to do it.

How do we worship God? Worship is something we are to do both publicly and privately. By publicly, I mean that we assemble together with other Christians (as a church-more on this in another article) and worship God by praying to Him (Acts 2:42, 12:5,12; 1 Corinthians 14:12-15), singing songs together (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16), studying His word (Acts 20:7, 2 Timothy 4:2, Romans 1:15, and on the first day of the week, partaking of the Lordís supper (Acts 20:7) and giving of our prosperity to Him (1 Corinthians 16:1-2, 2 Corinthians 9:7-8). These will be discussed in detail in a future lesson. By privately, I mean worship done as an individual in addition to that of the church. Examples of this type of worship include studying Godís word and prayer as mentioned in the previous lessons. It can also include singing songs to God from your heart while in private. Another way to worship God privately is to set some time aside as a family to worship God together. Perhaps there are other things you could incorporate in your private worship such as fasting (Matthew 6:16-18) and in some ways, even charitable giving can be worshipping God (Matthew 6:1-4).

One final thing to note, that is equally important to properly worship God is our attitude. Jesus discussed worship with a Samaritan woman. John 4 records Jesus saying, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (4:24). The truth here has reference to the manner of our worship as discussed above. The spirit here deals with our attitude. Jesus was explaining that proper worship must be as He commands, but it must also come from the heart. This point is further seen in Jesusí condemnation of arrogant and pretentious worship. In the "Sermon on the Mount", Jesus taught about prayer, "And when you pray you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward." (Matthew 6:5). He then proceeds to explain HOW to properly pray (6:6-15). On another occasion, He gave an example of this very thing (Luke 18:9-14). A Pharisee and a tax collector both went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee bragged about everything he did and that he was not like other men, "even as this tax collector" (v.11). But the tax collector, would not even lift his eyes to heaven and simply prayed, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (v. 13). Jesus then explains that it was the tax collector who went down to his house justified. Why? Because his attitude was as it ought to be. In every act of worship we participate in, this attitude must be there. When we pray, it must be with the spirit and the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15). When we sing, we must make melody in our hearts and let the word of Christ dwell in us in all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Our study must be with the intent to understand (Ephesians 5:17) and apply it (James 1:22). Even the Lordís Supper is to be taken commemorating the Lordís death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Thus we can see the importance of worship as Christians both publicly and privately. One thing that is worthy of noting is the fact that the amount of time we spend worshipping God will correlate directly with how strong we become as Christians. It is another one of the "spiritual indicators" as I call them. What about you? Do you worship God as you ought to? Before you can properly worship God, you must first become a Christian. Remember, it is important that we worship Him the way he instructs us to and one thing He commands of us is that we obey the gospel. Is there any way that we can assist you? If so, please let us know. In the mean time, we invite you to come check us out.




Copyright 2003 [Rose Avenue Church of Christ]. All rights reserved