THE MEANING OF WORSHIP
INTRODUCTION: One writer notes that:
"Worship in our time has been captured by the tourist mind set. Worship
is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have
adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church. For others,
occasional visits to special services.. Some, with a bent for Christian
entertainment and sacred diversion, plan their lives around special events
like retreats, rallies and conferences. We go to see a new personality,
to hear a new truth, to get a new experience and so, somehow, expand our
otherwise humdrum lives. We'll try anything -- until something else comes
Does this describe our attitude toward worship? What is worship all
I. WHAT IS WORSHIP?
A. A look at both the original language and the origin of the
word in English will help us understand the meaning.
II. THE CORRECT ELEMENTS OF WORSHIP
1. The primary Hebrew word for worship.
B. The Bible talks about several "kinds" of worship.
a. Shachah - "to depress, i.e. prostrate (in homage to royalty
or God): bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do
(make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship."
2. Three Greek words.
a. Proskuneo - "meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's
hand), to fawn or crouch to, homage (do reverence to,
3. The word in the English language.
adore): worship." It occurs 59 times in the New Testament. It originally
carried with it the idea of subjects falling down to kiss the ground before
a king or kiss their feet.
b. Sebomai - "to reverence, hold in awe." Used 10 times in the New Testament.
c. Latreuo - "to render religious service of homage." Used 21 times
in the New Testament.
a. Literally means to ascribe worth to something.
4. True worship begins with a deep respect or reverence for God, a frame
of heart, an attitude. This must be fixed in one's mind before we go further.
An "act" of worship is an act proceeding from or the result of that attitude.
1. Ignorant Worship--Acts 17:22-31
a. Acts 17:23 - "for as I was passing through and considering
the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:
TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing,
Him I proclaim to you:
2. Vain Worship
b. Paul perceived that they were very religious but he warned them that
their religious service was not pleasing to God for it was done without
knowledge of what God wanted or even who God was.
c. Ignorant worship is like throwing darts at a bulls eye while blindfolded--sure
you might hit the mark but more than
likely you will do a lot of damage
d. ignorant worship is not pleasing to God for he is not glorified by
accident, but by a conscience praise of His name.
e. Such worship will never be pleasing to God, for His will has been
revealed (John 4:24).
f. God does not wink (tolerate) ignorance - Acts 17:30.
a. Matthew 15:7-9 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about
you, saying: 8 - 'These people draw near to Me with
3. Will Worship
their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from
Me. 9- And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments
b. The Pharisees made their worship Vain (useless) because they had
layered on the commandments of men to their
c. This is the attitude which changes what God has said, does not respect
what God has said, and not obey what He has
commanded. See Leviticus 10:1-11.
a. Colossians 2:23 - Which things have indeed a show of wisdom
in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour
to the satisfying of the flesh. (KJV)
4. True Worship.
b. Colossians 2:23 - These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom
in self-imposed religion, false humility, and
neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of
c. This is worship that centers in satisfying self. This is the same
type of worship that we often have today, that
which calls for "audience centered" worship.
a. John 4:23-24 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the
true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father
is seeking such to worship Him. 24 - "God is Spirit, and those who worship
Him must worship in spirit and truth."
A. Worship is God centered.
1. Psalms 95:6 - Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let
us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
B. The correct place of our worship.
2. Acts 17:23 - "for as I was passing through and considering the objects
of your worship, I even found an altar with this
inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship
without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
3. Hebrews 13:15 - Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice
of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our
lips, giving thanks to His name.
4. One of the great errors in modern worship is making it worshiper
centered. Worship is to be centered on praising God, not entertaining ourselves.
a. We need to understand that the blessings we receive from
worship are a by-product of our worship and not the focus. In worship we
come to do and give, not receive.
b. The effort to "get more" out of worship has led to all types of artificial,
superficial, and unscriptural gimmicks to "liven up" worship periods. Such
IS NOT WORSHIPING GOD; it is bowing to altar of the social gospel.
c. Our problem is that we have determined that we have a problem but
have not correctly diagnosed the problem. The
problem is not with the content of our worship. The problem is with
our hearts. We are so materialistic and carnal minded that we cannot center
our minds of praising God and need artificial stimulation to "feel" spiritual.
1. Anyplace where God's people dwell.
C. There must be a combining of reverence toward God and worshiping according
to the truth of God's will.
2. Acts 17:24-25 "God, who made the world and everything in it, since
He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.
25- "Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything,
since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
3. This is the truth that Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman.
a. John 4:20-21 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and
you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
21 - Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you
will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father."
1. John 4:24
2. Joshua 24:14 - "Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity
and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other
side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!
CONCLUSION: The child of God does not need special stimulants to
bring about proper worship. He centers his life on pleasing God, therefore
he is always happy to come before the throne of grace in praise to the
Copyright 2000 by Grady
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