Worship

Worship

Christ gave His life in my place on the Cross. I owe Him my whole life in gratitude. We are told that we are to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1.

But how do we do this? We are told, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal 2:20. On the other hand, we are told that “the plowing of the wicked [is] sin.” Prov 21:4.

Plowing can be a service to Christ, it can also be in rebellion against Christ. Human beings are what dedicates this world to God. The cow eats grass, the chicken eats its food, but they only do these things by instinct. When we as human beings give thanks to God before eating the cow, the chicken or whatever else is on the menu we dedicate the whole food chain to God’s glory. Paul says this in I Timothy 4:4-5, “For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” Our worship and prayers sanctify— make holy—the things of this earth.

The commandments tell us that we are not to “worship nor serve” idols. We have to understand that there is a difference between worship and service. Worship is where we bow ourselves before God and give Him the glory. Service is the labor of our lives. Both are to be dedicated to God alone, yet there is an important distinction. There are many things that may be done in life in service to God that would be inappropriate in worship in Church. Worship is a special opportunity of meeting with God, bringing the glory of our lives before Him, dedicating our service to His glory.

The wonder is that though we owe our whole lives in worship to God, through the dedication of our worship He accepts all of our lives as those living sacrifices. This is a principle which is also promised in the new creation. Revelation 21 notes that the heavenly nations will bring their glory into the New Jerusalem. Heaven is not an eternity of sitting on a cloud playing a harp. A destiny for which which many people quietly lack a desire. It will be an eternity of enjoyment and fulfillment in perfected service with opportunities for heavenly perfected worship, far better than anything we can imagine on this earth.

Yet many do not acknowledge this distinction today. I have often been told that “I can worship God just as well in the boat Sunday morning as I can in the pew. In fact, I probably would worship better there than in Church because I’m probably thinking more about the boat in Church than I am thinking about Church.” When confronted with this claim, I usually ask how many times the person is thinking about church from the boat.

What we have to understand is that Worship in Church is something that God commands and that He blesses. In Hebrews 10:25, we are reminded that we are not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some…” (Worship). Worship is a central theme of the redeemed life.

Worship is giving glory to God with the rest of Christ’s body (the Church). Our English word, “worship” comes from the combination of two words: “worth” and “ship.” Worship is about giving God the glory that is due to Him and His presence.

In fact, worship is coming into the special presence of God. We see this laid out for us in Hebrews 12:18-24. The writer argues from the lesser to the greater: “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest…” describing Mt. Sinai in the wilderness as the Israelites left Egypt and traveled to the promised land. He continues, “and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.” “And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I am exceedingly afraid and trembling’”

Continuing in verse 22, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly of the church of the firstborn who are registered in heave, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”

Let’s review the writer’s argument. In worship, we have not come to Sinai of the desert, which was terrifying. We have come to the the heavenly Jerusalem! We have come into the presence of God, the Judge of all! We are in the presence of just men made perfect…those who have gone before into perfection. We have come into the presence of Jesus Himself! These facts ought to terrify us more than Moses at Sinai, but at the same time, we have access through the blood of Christ shed for our sins.

These things are AWESOME!
We have the opportunity to come into the very presence of God and of Christ weekly. How can we forsake this assembly?

Yet as I listen to people, I regularly hear them say, “but I don’t get anything out of church.” This is the first problem. We come to God with our demands. Worship is not about what I get out of it. It is about what God gets out of it. Does God get His worth out of it? Or are we like the demanding children, stamping our feet in the presence of the great King of the universe, saying, “I want more than just salvation from you God!”

Furthermore it is not just an extension of all of life, but it is the dedication of all of life to God’s glory. The modern church has claimed that worship is all of life and therefore whatever we can do in life is allowable in worship.

What is Worship? Why do we gather together at church every Sunday morning. What are we to do? What are we not to do?

Modern ideas of worship say that all of life is worship and therefore we are just as worshipful on the lake Sunday morning as we are in church.

Wait…Did I just say that there are things we ought not do in worship?! I did. God tells us that there are a number of things we ought not do in worship to Him. 

Worship:

Is different than the rest of life

Dedicates the rest of life to God

is Giving His Worth

Rev. James Grossman

Under the Shadow of the Almighty

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