Spiritual Worship-Part One

Man with hands folded on a Bible

One of the most important things that a Christian can do is worship God.  Some might be confused with that statement due to the fact that someone else has taught them that everything we do is worship.  It is the intent of this article to show what worship is, and how worship is to be done correctly.

          First of all, let us address the error that was mentioned earlier.  It is incorrect to say that everything we do in life is worship.  To prove this, we will notice a segment of Scriptures in the book of Genesis.  Keep in mind that the Old Testament is useful to us today for examples and learning (1 Cor. 10:1-11; Rom. 15:4).  Long ago, God tested Abraham (Gen. 22:1).  The test involved Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his own son, Isaac.  God had told Abraham, “…Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Gen. 22:2).  To Abraham’s credit, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him” (Gen. 22:3).  The next two verses are key to understanding that not everything we do is worship.  “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you” (Gen. 22:4-5).  If everything we do is worship, then Abraham and Isaac would have been constantly worshiping throughout the three day journey.  It is clear that is not the case.  Abraham and Isaac were to isolate themselves from the rest of the company.  Then, after removing themselves from the others, worship was to be done.  So, worship has a beginning, and is not something that continually occurs every second.  Also, worship has an end.  Once the worship was completed, Abraham and Isaac were going to return to their company.  This is definitive evidence that worship is something specific and special.

          When one comes to the New Testament, the English word worship is largely translated from the Greek word, proskuneo.  In the Greek, that word describes the action “to kiss” or “to do obeisance”.  In other words, worship is the demonstrating of reverence/homage through prescribed actions.  The Bible is clear in both Testaments, that only God is to be worshipped.  “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan:  for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Luke 4:8).  It is a direct violation of Scripture to worship any other than the true and living God.  Idolatry, in any form, is condemned (Col. 3:5-6).

          For a man to worship God, he must first become a priest.  This is done by obeying the Gospel of Christ.  When one becomes a Christian, he is then able “…to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).  These offerings will only be acceptable if they are done “in spirit and in truth”.  Jesus said, “God is a Spirit:  and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).  Please notice the imperative, “must”!  If worship is attempted without it being done “in spirit and in truth”, then it will not be accepted by God.  To worship “in spirit” is to do so with the proper attitude.  That goes back to the meaning of the word proskuneo.  Worship to God is to be reverential.  To worship “in truth”, is to do so according to the Scriptures.  Jesus made it clear that God’s Word “…is truth” (John 17:17).  Also, the acts of worship in which we engage must have been authorized by Christ.  Paul wrote, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17).  Since worship must be authorized and done “in spirit and in truth”, it would behoove us to study the Bible.  That way, we can make sure that our worship is pleasing to God.

          It might surprise some readers, but there are only five acts of worship that are authorized by Christ:  1.  Prayer to the Father (Matt. 6:9), 2.  Preaching and studying of God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 4:2), 3.  Partaking of The Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-29), 4.  Singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), 5.  Giving as we have prospered (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:7).  We will take the time to examine each one closer.  (to be continued)
~ Corey Barnette