Worship is such a personal, subjective matter that, although we feel we know what it is, we have a hard time really describing it. So let’s look to see what God’s Word says about worship. Turn with me to Romans Chapter 12.
In verse 1 Paul makes clear several truths about worship:
First truth—We worship because of God’s mercy—He deserves our worship because He’s worth it because He earned it.
Second truth—We are to offer our bodies. Some translations say “Offer our lives” or “Give our bodies to God”. That means we freely, without hesitation, offer all of ourselves—not just our minds or our spirits—we give it all up. Our entire being is to be involved in the offering.
Third truth—We are to be living sacrifices. A sacrifice is:
1) Giving something that is dear to us,
2) Giving something that costs us,
3) Giving something with total devotion,
4) Giving something that asks nothing in return. And we do all of this through our heart attitude–by making a conscious decision to worship as a way of life.
Fourth truth—We are to be holy and pleasing to God—God is only interested in our worhip if we come with clean hands and pure hearts .
Fifth truth—This is our spiritual act of worship—The whole concept of worship is that it is a necessary part of the wholeness of faith. It’s not optional, we shouldn’t give ourselves the choice to take it or leave it. Genuine, honest, voluntary, complete worship is the ESSENCE of our relationship with God.
Paul goes on in the next verse to describe the worship process as the “Renewing of our minds”. The New Living Translation says that we “Change the way we think so we will learn to know God’s will for us.”
So worship has two purposes—it is not only a sacrifice of praise to God for the amazing things He has done, but it is also the vehicle by which God reveals His will to us. We can’t expect to know the will of God without first coming into complete adoration of Him.
The Bible urges us to express our worship in several specific ways—including silence, prayer, awe, contrition, giving, singing, dancing, shouting, playing a wide variety of instruments, clapping, and raising hands.
When we come before the Lord in worship, we acknowledge that God is in control of everything—that He Reigns supreme. He is the provider of everything we need, we can offer our petitions to him.
God Evaluates Our Worship….and Either Accepts or Rejects It
We live in a day at which some have considered worship a matter more important to the worship-per or attendee than to God. In truth, god is the recipient of our worship, not ourselves. The Old Testament has numerous instructions from God about how particular our worship is to Him. The bible student doesn’t have to go past chapter 4 of Genesis in order to learn that God does evaluate our worship.
Genesis 4:3-5 We find out that Cain made an offering of his plants and produce. But, Abel made an offering to the Lord of a slaughtered firstborn from his flock. God favored Abel, but He did not favor Cain. Cain became angry enough that it showed even in his demeanor.
Both offered a “gift, offering, tribute” of thanksgiving (in contrast with חבז zebach, it means a “bloodless offering”).
Yet, the LORD looked with favor on Abel, but not on Cain. Hebrews 11:4 reads, By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
The reason for the different reception of the two offerings was the state of mind towards God with which they were brought, and which manifested itself in the selection of the gifts. Not, indeed, in the fact that Abel brought a bleeding sacrifice and Cain a bloodless one; for this difference arose from the difference in their callings, and each necessarily took his gift from the produce of his own occupation.
It was rather in the fact that Abel offered the fattest firstlings of his flock, the best that he could bring; whilst Cain only brought a portion of the fruit of the ground, but not the first-fruits.
The Need for True Worship
Our instincts, our traditions, nor our experiments are reliable guides to worship. The bible itself is the only true guide.
In Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.
God says it makes a difference to Him what is in our hearts and how we express our worship to him. Today, let’s discover together what is acceptable to Him from us. It is not a preference on our part, so much as an acceptance from us to Him of our worship in spirit, in truth and in faith.