Isaiah 6:6-7 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
We have to stop making worship a timid, personal, private, apathetic event that is routinely and systematically executed every Sunday. I also think we need to define “worship.” Worship is a word today that has been loaded with a lot of personal mystery and intuition and imagined spiritual experience by which people mean whatever they think sounds good. It is not private, it is not personal in the sense that you define it yourself. True worship is simply treating God in the way that God has commanded us to treat Him.
There are a number of Greek and Hebrew words used in the bible to describe worship, but one in the New Testament would probably be enough…
proskuneo – to worship. It means to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to kiss the hand. Honor paid to God. That is why we come together; to give honor to God. You may have heard this statement before, “Well I went to church today but, I didn’t get anything out of it.”
It wasn’t for you! That wasn’t the point. If you came to get something out of it, you missed the whole point. We should show up to give something to God. God is supposed to be the focus of our worship. It is giving to God honor, reverence, affection, adoration, glory and obedience.
There is a great illustration of how God wants us to worship Him in Exodus. It’s a bit long so you can read it here if you like…Exodus 30:22-38
God is laying out instruction for worship; He gives a recipe for a specific incense. It’s a holy recipe. That is to say, this is a recipe to be used for nothing else. Verse 38 even says, “Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.” Cut off…killed. Thats how serious worship is to God. We come to the House of God to bring before God that which belongs only to Him. We gather to give to Him what is rightfully His. We come together not to receive anything for ourselves, but to give glory and honor to Him. We come to offer Him a fragrant offering that belongs only to Him.
Think of your favorite meal. All the sides you love. Remember the first time you had it? When your birthday or Mother’s day rolls around and you’re asked the inevitable question, “What would you like for dinner tonight?” This is your go-to meal. Because when you had it, you desired it again and would always choose it over anything else because it is just that good. That’s how true worship should be for us as believers. That is what I long for because I have tasted it, many times. I am afraid, however, that we are watching the death of true worship in the average church.
In 1 Peter 2:5, Peter says, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
I hope you understand that your life is a call to worship. Your salvation made you into a worshiper. You worship in the power of the Spirit of God, you give glory in that worship to Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:3.) You have been redeemed and made into a true worshiper, (John 4:23), because the Father seeks true worshipers who worship Him in spirit and in truth. You are to present your body, your whole being as an act of spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God in worship. You are a royal priesthood, a holy priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.
Lastly, is it too obvious to say service always follows worship? It’s the vision of God that comes first, as it did for Isaiah.
Isaiah 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
How you worship is going to be the most defining thing about your life. Superficial, shallow, wrong worship cripples, debilitates, and robs God of what is rightfully His. This kind of false worship limits your usefulness as a Christian and nullifies your whole Christian experience. Christians need to worship in the right way; to give God the glory He is due and in turn, put ourselves in a position of being most useful to God.
The goal of salvation is to produce worshipers. God wants to be worshiped and He wants us to worship Him in an acceptable manner. We are first and foremost, beyond anything else, worshipers of God. I hear many many people today say things like,
“Well yes, I believe in God and I believe in Jesus, but I don’t go to church. I have a very personal faith.”
If you are one of these people reading this, let me tell you something EXTREMELY important….don’t miss this…If you don’t hunger and thirst for the collective expression of worship, it’s likely that you’re probably not a Christian, or if you are one, you are very, very deep into disobedience. It’s time you endulge in some Philippians 2:12 salvifical work out time.
Believers are those who worship in the spirit of God and give glory to Jesus Christ. This should be the highlight of our lives. We are to have personal worship in the true way, that is to worship from the heart at all times, but also we are to hunger for the collective expression of worship and praise that comes when the people of God gather. We don’t forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25).
Worship is a serious event…when we come together and encounter God. The Creator.
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.”
When’s the last time your church body came together as true worshipers, in reverence, in fear, and in trembling? Yes, there is to be joy and dancing and clapping and playing of stringed instruments, but there is to be reverence in all of that. This isn’t to be secluded to music or to a church building though; when the church service lets out and the people are dismissed, worship continues in our service to one another.