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What is Worship

What is Worship

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Published by Adam Faughn

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Published by: Adam Faughn on Feb 17, 2009
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What Is Worship?
(Christianity 101: Lesson 6)
1.Ted Waller, in his book
Worship: Bowing at the Feet of God 
, began the bookwith this poem:Men worshipReaching beyond themselves To what they are becoming.Men pretend To worship GodAnd busy their lives with ritualsWith which to hide their meanness, Their cold indifference to justice, mercy,And faith.God calls me To see again Jehovah, To turn from self and shameUpward to him who never ceases to care; To worship him who calls from the highest.Men do turnFrom sin and shame.Men do change and grow, look up and out,Cause hope to grow in a forlorn childAnd turn passion to useful ends.Men do come back and worship God. (page 5)2.Notice that, in that poem, we are reminded that (1) people worship, (2)people can fake worship, (3) God wants proper worship, (4) and many doworship properly.3.If you were to go to a Christian bookstore or do an internet search for booksabout worship, you would probably be blown away by the volume of volumesthat have been written on the subject, especially recently.4.Books line shelves at stores that are supposed to pump up our worship, orthey are there to show us how to wake people up when we worship. It’s sadthat people even think we have to have books of that type.5.Worship is one of those topics that everyone knows about, but few seem tounderstand. If nothing else is true, it is true that those who call themselvesChristians worship in nearly every different style one could possibly think of.
6.But we want to answer this question: what does the
say about New Testament worship. What can we learn?7.As we think of some Bible basics, we are going to have several lessons aboutworship. Today, we are going to look at a general lesson about worship. Lordwilling, over the next few weeks, we will then have lessons on each of theavenues of worship: prayer, singing, giving, communion, and Bible study. So,today, we will not be looking specifically at any of those subjects, but we willbe trying to lay down the basics of worship.8.I once heard a preacher say that no sermon on worship is worth anythingunless it contains John 4:24, so that will be our main text this morning. MyWednesday night class has seen part of this outline before—when we studied John 4. I say part, because, as I was looking back over my notes from thatclass, I realized that I had forgotten one of the points.9.Brother Wendell Winkler used to preach a sermon on John 4:24 that containedthese five points. I would like to use his five points this morning as we thinkabout worship that pleases God.10.You’ll recall that, in John 4, Jesus is having a discussion with a Samaritanwoman. The subject turns to religion, and in verse 20, the woman mentionsthe location of worship. Jews, of course, worshipped in the temple in Jerusalem, while Samaritans worshipped on Mount Gerazim. Jesus, in verse21, notes that the time is coming when the location would not matter. Weknow that this occurred with the beginning of the church in Acts 2. Wherevermen are, they worship the Father on His day.11.Then Jesus gives the great statement about worship. John 4:24: “God is spirit,and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”12.Several years ago, brotherWinkler was asked to speak on a lectureship inWest Palm Beach, Florida, on the topic “Worship in Spirit and in Truth.” Inthat lecture, he used his famous outline of John 4:24. I mention this becauseI will be borrowing heavily from the written copy of that lecture as we studyworship this morning. Notice his five points from John 4:24 as we studyworship.I.
First, we have the Action: Worship
A.Notice two things from this. First, notice the meaning of the wordstranslated “Worship” in the NT. There are several, but only threeoccurmore than a couple of times. These 3 give us a great picture of what worship is, and what God desires.1.First, we have the word
. 60 times this word is found inthe Greek NT, and it is always translated with the word “worship.”In fact,
, or a form of that word, is the original Greek wordfound in the conversation of John 4. The word is a compound of twowords:
(which means, “toward”) and
(which means “tokiss”). According to Vine, “It is used of an act of homage orreverence” (page 686). Vine says that it is literally translated, “To
make obeisance, do reverence to.” It is always used in the NT withthe idea of reverencing something or someone.2.Next, we have the word
, which is found 10 times. It istranslated “worship” 6 times and similar words the other 4. Vinesays that this word stresses “the feeling of awe or devotion” onefeels in worship, and he says that the word can be more literallytranslated “to revere.”3.Finally, we have the word
. 17 times this word is translatedwith the word “serve,” and four times with the word “worship.” Joseph Thayer says of this word, “In the NT to render religiousservice or homage, to worship; to perform sacred services; to offergifts; to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for hisworship.”4.While all that might have been a bit technical, putting those wordstogether gives us a beautiful and accurate picture of what Godwants in our worship of Him. He wants reverence, awe, devotion,homage, sacredness.” When we read the word “worship” in ourBibles, that’s what we are reading about.B.But there is more when we think of action. We can also note thataction implies participation.1.A writer named Truebloodonce said of worship that it was “thegreatest spectator sport in America.” Friends, that ought not to bethe case! We are not passive in worship, it is an action. Thatrequires participation.2.And, may I interject that, just because one attends does not meanone has worshipped. It is true that Hebrews 10:25 commands us toattend, but that is just the basic starting point. Being here is onething; worshipping is another.3.Why did I take the time to review all those Greek words with you amoment ago? It was not to make you think I was some scholar. Itwas not to fill a couple of minutes. It was to remind you that all thewords translated “worship” in the NT are
. Worship is notmerely something you attend, it is something you do!4.Hear these words from brotherWinkler: “There is only one person inthe audience—and that is God—with every worshiper being, as itwere, on the stage! Yet, so many go to worship as if they are goingto a theatrical performance; thus, assuming the role of a criticalaudience, just waiting to be entertained and wondering how longthey will be detained. It is because of this false concept of worship(being a spectator rather than a participant) that we often hear, ‘Idon’t get anything out of worship service anymore.’ Our speechbetrayethus! Brethren, we must come to understand that trueworship is a giving experience rather than a totally receivingexperience.” Amen!

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