Listen: 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Before we delve into “how to worship,” we need to know what worship is. Worship in Scripture generally means “to make obeisance, do reverence to.” Mr. W. E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words goes on to say “It is used of an act of homage or reverence.” Worship is often manifested by literally bowing down before the object of worship and by offering words of praise.  I’d like to make 3 points to help us “learn how to worship.”

  1. The OBJECT of worship….There is only one Who deserves the worship of our hearts: GOD! In Exodus 20:3, 5 God said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before meThou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” He went on to say in Exodus 34:14, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” The Lord Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:23, “For the Father seeketh such to worship Him.” and He added, in John 5:23, “All men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” It is clear from these verses that God the Father or God the Son is to be the OBJECT of our worship. We have a beautiful example of worship in John 12:3, “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wipe His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” Mary, who was usually very shy and reserved, was led to bow at Jesus’ feet in worship. She knew He was going to the cross to die for her and in view of the sacrifice He would make; her heart was filled to overflowing. Christ was truly the object of her heart and her knees followed her heart by bowing in His presence. If we know the Lord Jesus as our Savior we too should be found bowing in His presence and giving Him the worship He deserves.
  2. The POWER for worship…In Philippians 3:3 we read these precious words, “For we are the true circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit.” We learn here that we worship God in (or ‘by’) the Spirit. What does that mean? You may recall the words of Jesus in the upper room as He instructed His disciples about the coming of the Spirit and what His mission would be when He came. In John 15:26 He said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me.” He added these words in John 16:14, “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” One of the main purposes of the Spirit in our lives is to present Christ to us; to give us, through the Scriptures, a view of Christ’s Person, the Work He accomplished at the cross, and the work He is doing for us now in the glory. As we are occupied with Christ through the Spirit’s ministry, we will find ourselves, like Mary, bowing in His presence to worship Him for all that He is and for all that He has done for us (and is doing for us). Obviously we need to read the Word in dependence on the Spirit in order for this to happen and if we do, the Spirit will surely reveal more of Christ to us and worship will naturally follow.
  3. The FORM of worship…The Lord Jesus also told the woman at the well in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NASB). This verse is teaching us that the “form” of our worship is “spiritual,” in contrast to the worship under the Law when Israel worshipped God using various things, like animal sacrifices, incense, musical instruments and a beautiful building. Those things appealed to their physical senses and aided them in their worship. But our worship is in “in spirit and in truth” and thus we don’t need tangible things to worship our God. Instead of needing a special building to worship in, the Lord bids us to come into His very presence, as we see in Hebrews 10: 19, 22, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of JesusLet us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” As we study the New Testament we see that what mattered to believers was not a specific PLACE of worship, but the PERSON they gathered to. They met together as He had directed them in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” And as they were gathered around Himself, the Spirit would present Christ to their vision of faith and worship followed. All believers are now “priests” and can, according to 1 Peter 2:5, “…offer up spiritual sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ.” The apostle Paul tells us exactly what these “spiritual sacrifices” are in Hebrews 13:15, “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.”  (139.5)  (DO)