Worship: Adoration, love, reverence, respect, devotion, veneration, adulation
Perhaps no other Christian responsibility is more misunderstood than the concept of worship. There is so much going on in the church world that is called worship, but which, in my opinion, does not pass the test of true worship.
Scripture tells us a lot about worship. Here are just a few passages regarding worship:
· Exodus 34: 14; '…for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord …is a jealous God.”
· Psalm 2:11 “Worship the Lord with reverence.”
· Psalm 66:4; “All the earth will worship You, and will sing praises to You;”
· Matthew 15: 8-9; “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.”
· John 4:24; “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
· Philippians 3: 2-3; “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ and put no confidence in the flesh,….”
A careful reading of these texts will teach us all we need to know about worship. It will also reveal that much of what we call worship does not meet the smell test of real worship. Too often, what we refer to as worship is nothing more than adulation of a preacher’s sermon or of a great chorale done by the choir and orchestra. These are not worship at all if the participant in the hearing is not focused on the Lord. Now, I love a great sermon as much as anyone, but unless I am asking, “Father, what are you trying to teach me with this message?”, it is not really worship. II love music as much as anyone, but listening to a great choir is not worship unless one is focused on the Lord with all one’s heart and mind. That means not enjoying the music for the sake of enjoyment, but for what it means in the veneration of our Lord.
We cannot be thinking about where we will eat lunch and call it worship. We cannot be asking, “Did I turn the stove off?” and worship at the same time. Worship requires that we are focused on the Lord and Him alone. That is why so much of what we do is not worship, even though it was intended to be. Worship is not what someone else is doing, it is about our focus on the Lord. The preacher is preaching to everyone and the choir is singing for everyone, but only those who are focused on the Lord are worshipping.
When we go to church to worship, we are participating in corporate worship, but that should not be the sum of our worship. Read those verses above once more and see if I am not correct.