Monday, November 01, 2010

True Worship Part 2: Attitudes & Actions

The Attitudes of Worship – Three main sets of Greek and Hebrew words that are rendered as the word “worship” in the Bible give us a picture of the attitudes of worship.

Humility – The most frequent pair of words used for worship in the Old and New Testaments represent the act of bowing oneself in submission. The outward posture reflected an inner attitude of humility and respect, a high view of God and a humbling opinion of self. Thus, true worship views God in His perfection and man in his imperfection.

Reverence – Another pair of words used in both the Greek and the Hebrew is that of fearing God. It is not so much terror as it is wonder and awe at the greatness of God. Humility focuses inward on our finiteness and sinfulness in the light of His infinity and perfection. Reverence focuses outwardly upon the awesome majesty of God. Irreverence is contrary to worship.

Service – The third pair of words employed for worship in the Bible emphasize the idea of labor. In the Old Testament this service was most often priestly service. In the New Testament we are all priests (1 Peter 2:5, 9), and service involves the entire congregation of believers. Worship and service must be integrated, if it is to be true worship (Luke 4:8).

The Actions of Worship – The contexts in which these words for worship are used give us an understanding about the actions of worship.

Response – biblically speaking, we do not worship to get God to act, we worship because God has acted. Yet the worshiper is not merely an observer of redemptive history, but he has been included in this story, and has been personally impacted by the act of redemption is his own life. Romans 11:36 – Worship is from God (Romans 3:21-24 / 1 John 4:19), through God (Philippians 3:3), and unto God (John 4:23). Apart from God’s revelation of Himself and of how man can approach Him in worship, man could never worship God in a way pleasing to Him.

Adoration – since worship is fundamentally a response, what is the nature of this response? It is that of adoration and praise which God rightfully expects of His creatures. When most people think of “worship” this is what they are thinking of, and indeed, the ascribing of worth to God, the enjoyment of giving glory to His holy being, and all the things surrounding this are a crucial part of what worship is. We thank Him for His acts and praise Him for His attributes. Perhaps the best way to see this is in book of Psalms, which gives us the patterns for adoration. Even those who reject Jesus in this life will wind up worshipping Him (Philippians 2:9-11).

Sacrifice – Central in the worship of the Tabernacle and in the Temple was the practice of sacrifice. When Abraham worshiped God in Genesis 22, the offering was termed worship. The presentation of the first-fruits was also regarded as an act of worship (Deuteronomy 26:10). When the wise men came to worship the baby Jesus, they came with gifts to give. David spoke of worship that costs something (1 Chronicles 21:24). In the New Testament the idea of sacrifice is still prominent in worship, but since Jesus is our sacrifice, and no bulls or goats are needed, it is the sacrifice of self which is essential (Romans 12:1). The book of Hebrews adds to this the sacrifice of praise, of doing good things, and of sharing (Hebrews 13:15, 16).

Proclamation – proclamation is a vital part of worship. Israel was not to worship God in secret, but was supposed to be a “light to the Gentiles.” When Abraham worshiped, he built an altar and “called upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 12:8, 21:33). In the New Testament, the church has been created by God as a display of the wisdom of God to all the true and false systems of religion and the powers that are behind them (Ephesians 3:10). In the Lord’s Supper all believers proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11:26). We are not just spectators watching what God has done and is doing, we are participants in the divine drama, being observed by both those in heaven and those on the earth (Ephesians 3:8-10 / 1 Peter 1:12).

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

1 comment:

Even So... said...

This is part of session #6 in a 10 session basic training and membership class at our church. You can see all ten weeks in .pdf form on the front page at

You can also see and download them from our "eDocs" section at SermonAudio...