Notes on Worship

What is worship?

  • Worship is something distinctly done. Worship is not accidentally given. - Matthew 2:11; 4:8-9; 9:18; John 4:20; Revelation 9:20
  • Jesus’s definition of worship - John 4:21-24
    • It requires a worshiper (the existence of a rock is not worship. Animals do not worship).
    • It requires an object of worship
      • Worship must only be directed to God - Exodus 34:14; Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:8; Acts 10:25-26; Revelation 19:10
      • The worship of anything else is useless - Romans 1:21-23
    • It requires the proper spirit - Matthew 22:37-38; I Corinthians 14:15; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19
      • This is why the Corinthians were warned to partake of the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner (in the proper frame of mind) - I Corinthians 11:27-30
      • Without the heart being in it, it is useless - Matthew 15:8
    • It requires being done in the manner prescribed by God - Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:20
      • Worship by man’s rules is useless - Matthew 15:8
      • God is the object of our worship and He tells us how He wishes to be served. God doesn’t have to accept anything man happens to send His way because God doesn’t need man’s worship. Man cannot tell his Master what He will accept - Isaiah 29:16
  • Worship involves the giving up of something we value - I Peter 2:5; Romans 12:1-2

The difference between service and worship

  • Worship is giving God honor and praise.
  • Service is giving God obedience.
  • The two ideas are related but distinct. Part of our service to God is our worship to him, but all service is not worship - Exodus 20:4-5; Daniel 3:12-18
  • Confusion is sometimes caused by Romans 12:1-2
    • The word at the end of verse one means religious service.
    • Some translations add the word worship, but in other verses using the same word they simply translate it as service - John 16:1-2
    • Everything we do ought to serve God and His purpose, but it does not imply everything we do in service to God is worship.
    • Example: Genesis 22:3-8
      • The three-day journey was commanded by God, but it was not worship.
      • Abraham at the end of his journey told his servants to stay while he and Isaac went to worship God.
      • Therefore, Abraham did not consider everything he did worship, including things he did in obeying God. It was a separate, distinct action.

What constitutes acts of worship?

  • Four acts of worship are: the Apostle’s teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers - Acts 2:42
  • Learning from God’s word is an act of worship - Nehemiah 8:2-6
    • The message of the cross brings glory to God - I Corinthians 1:18, 26-2:5
  • Fellowship, the unity of believers, is an important aspect of worship - I Corinthians 1:9-10; John 17:20-23
  • One way that unity is shown is through the sharing of the Lord’s Supper - I Corinthians 10:16-18; 11:17, 18, 20, 22, 33
    • The partaking of the Lord’s Supper brings honor and respect to the sacrifice of Christ - I Corinthians 11:23-26
  • The word for prayer literally means the worship of God - I Timothy 2:1-2; Philippians 4:6
    • It is praise to God - Matthew 6:9; Hebrews 13:15
    • It is giving thanks to God - John 6:11
    • The church was prophesied to be a house of prayer - Isaiah 56:7
  • Singing is also an act of worship - I Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16-17; Hebrews 2:12
  • Giving is also an act of worship - II Corinthians 9:6-7
    • It is another act of fellowship - Romans 15:26; Philippians 1:5; 4:15-18
    • It is done when Christians gather together - I Corinthians 16:1-2

If all of life is worship, then:

  • Why did Abraham say that he and Isaac would go yonder and worship? - Genesis 22:5
  • Why were Moses, Aaron, and the elders told to worship at a distance? - Exodus 24:1
  • Why was Israel told to take the first fruits of the land, bring them before God, and then worship? - Deuteronomy 26:8-10
  • Why did worship come after certain activities? - II Chronicles 29:28-29
  • Why did the eunuch travel to Jerusalem to worship - Acts 8:27
  • How could worship be taken from a geographical location, if all of life is worship anyway? - John 4:20-24
  • How could Gentiles come up to worship at the feast if their journey was worship? - John 12:20
  • Why did the father of Samuel leave his city yearly to worship? - I Samuel 1:3
  • Are the sinful things we do also worship? - James 3:2
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