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What Is Worship?

“The word worship comes from the Saxon word wśrthscype, which later became worthship. To worship God is to ascribe the proper worth to God, to magnify His worthiness of praise, or better, to approach and address God as He is worthy.  As the Holy and Almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, the Sovereign Judge to whom we must give an account, He is worthy of all the worth and honour we can give Him and then infinitely more… The more we focus on God, the more we understand and appreciate how worth he is. As we understand and appreciate this, we can’t help but respond to him… So worship is focusing on and responding to God.”[1]
            “Worship is the believer’s response of all that he is – mind, emotions, will, & body – to all that God is and says and does. This response has its mystical side in personal experience, & its practical side in obedience to God’s revealed truth. It is a loving response that is balanced by the fear of the Lord, & it is a deepening response as the believer comes to know God better…the result?...transformation.”

Why Should We Worship?

            It is the only natural response to God’s holiness (Is. 6; Rev. 4)
            The Father seeks worship (John 4:23-24)
            To renew our minds (Rom. 12:1-2)
            To discern God’s will (Rom. 12:1-2)

Who Should Worship?

            Biblical Examples – From the beginning of creation, man was made to worship God. Cain and Abel brought sacrifices to god in worship; Abraham worshiped; Jacob worshiped at Bethel; Moses brought the children of Israel out of captivity to worship; and the priests performed their duties of worship in the temple (Gen. 4; Gen. 18; Gen. 28; Ex. 4). However,  Old Testament worship differs from the worship laid out in the New Testament. Worship in the Old testament revolved around the sacrifices made by priests, whereas New Testament worship revolves around the thoughts and motivations of the heart.

How Should We Worship?

            daily (private), regularly [weekly, bi weekly (Heb. 10:25)] (corporate public)
            All of life should be an act of worship
            in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24)
            in humility (Ps. 51:17)
            private, public
            spontaneous, orderly
            music, prayer, meditation, Scripture intake, service

What Hinders Our Worship?

            A misunderstanding of God’s holiness
            A failure to recognise our sinfulness
            A lack of knowledge in regards to God’s handiwork
            Worshiping with our mouths and actions only
            Worshiping with our emotions only
            Worshiping for others, not God

Practical Reminders:

            Avoid looking at worship as a duty
            Do not give up when worship becomes difficult
            Worship is both solemn and exuberant
            Worship is both fixed and flexible
            Worship is both visible and invisible
            Worship is both for young and old


[1] Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines For the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1981, p. 81

[2] Wiersbe, Warren W. Real Worship. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000 p. 26

Aaron Fincham is Assistant Instructor at Grandview Park Baptist Church's college group, Journey, in Des Moines, Iowa.