By Brian Franks
WORSHIP IN THE GOSPELS
Matt 2:11 “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
The wise men from the east arrive to find a toddler Jesus and worship him as King and Messiah.
Matt 4:9-10 “And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
Satan tries to tempt Jesus to worship him, but Jesus responds with truth.
John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Indeed, we cannot honor God unless we walk in the Spirit and worship in Spirit and truth. Thankfully we worship a God who bestows such things as Spirit and Truth on those who seek it.
WORSHIP IN ACTS
Acts 8:27 “And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship.”
This Eunuch had come to Jerusalem to Worship God! God sends Phillip to give the Eunuch some of the understanding needed to worship and know God and it leads to the Eunuch’s baptism.
Acts 13:2 “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
In worship and fasting, the Antioch church hears God’s call for Barnabas and Paul to be sent out as missionaries, a work that brought the gospel to the known world at the time.
Acts 24:14 “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,”
Paul testifies before the religious authorities about his faith, where he includes that his faith is worship of the God of their fathers.
WORSHIP IN THE EPISTLES
Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Paul begins to conclude his masterful explanation of the Gospel with this appeal, which is an act of worship. The way we respond to the Gospel is to live a life of sacrifice to God, which is a form of worshipping God. This concept is easy to pass over too fast but has deep and challenging implications for how we live our lives.
Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,”
What shall we do after everything the letter to the Hebrews does in describing the greatness of Jesus as son of God, messiah, high priest, sacrifice for remission of sin? Worship.
WORSHIP IN REVELATION
Rev. 7:11 “And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
The implication of these various passages is: there is constant worship of God in Heaven by these elders/creatures/angels.
Rev 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
A problem with those being judged at the end of time is worship of demons and idols, which are useless.
Rev 14:7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
One of the last prophetic warnings before final judgement comes is to worship God who made all things. These people are called to fear, give glory, and worship God.
Rev 22:3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
Even in eternity, when death and pain and sin and suffering and evangelism and prophecy has ended, there is still worship!
WHAT PRINCIPLES OF WORSHIP MIGHT WE DRAW FROM THE VERSES LISTED IN PARTS 1 AND 2 OF THIS ARTICLE?
- Worship is something that God cares about and pays attention to deeply. God commands his followers to worship, not just any way they please, but with do’s and don’ts. Idols and other gods are not just frowned upon–God despises such things because they insult God’s character and place as the creator and sustainer of the universe. To worship anything besides God is deeply offensive, yet we see Israel did these very things many times. When they did, God warned them to turn back or perish.
- Worship is something God deserves, and it is the only major way we can respond to God’s goodness and majesty. We don’t earn our salvation; Jesus was the only way that could be enacted. We can’t impress God with our own goodness. Again, Jesus has that covered, but we can worship God in Spirit and Truth. Indeed, not only can, but are called to, and not only called to… it is our purpose to worship.
- Worship outlasts most other things. One day death and sin will be destroyed from creation and are already defeated now. Pain and sorrow will end too. Even pastoral, evangelistic, and prophetic ministries will cease to be needed. But what starts in Genesis and doesn’t end in the book of Revelation? Worship. We will still be worshipping God in the eternal kingdom. When all other work is done, we will worship.
- Worship is a way of life, now. The biblical usage of worship is far more than a song service at church. Worship properly encompasses almost every act of life. My diet, financial decisions, use of time, treatment of others, etc. can and should all honor God by being spiritual acts of worship.
- We are called to worship and do it in Spirit and Truth. We should not expect to worship God with some formula. Rather, it is something we do with two things only God can give us: Spirit and Truth. Absent of these gifts of God, we are in darkness, ignorance, and impotence.
- What do we do if we find our worship is lacking? “Seek, knock, ask” and the door will be opened to you (declared by Jesus on his witness and authority of how God works).
- Let’s walk together as the body of Christ to learn from the treasure of knowledge and historical revelation God has given us. We can learn more about the nature and practice of worship!