he God of the Bible has demanded our worship. Others have argued that if God did not demand our worship, that would be wrong of Him. That is because His omnipresence, omniscience, sovereignty, absolute truthfulness, faithfulness, goodness and majesty make Him absolutely worthy of our worship. Not demanding it would be a denial of His own nature. It is telling that our word “worship” is a contraction of the old English word “worthship.” Donald Whitney, in his book on spiritual disciplines, has correctly identified a real problem in modern America, “Modern man worships his work, works at his play, and plays at his worship.” That statement is worth reading over and over again and pondering at length.
Worship is both a duty and a privilege. We should engage in private worship and in public worship. If we do not worship privately, it is highly doubtful if we will worship corporately. In fact some have argued that it is not possible to worship corporately if one has not already worshiped privately. Christianity is not an isolationist religion. When a person is “saved”, brought into the Kingdom of God, born again, he or she is adopted into God’s family. That is not a position of isolation. Ephesians 2 describes the church as both a body and a household.First Corinthians 12 describes the church as a building with many stones. In short, there are no Lone Ranger Christians. The Bible tells us that God adds those who are being saved to the church. Hebrews 10 tells us not to forsake going to church. Private and corporate worship are both needed.
It seems to me that my worship will be in direct proportion to how well I see God. The clearer my view of God is, the better I will worship Him. If I get a clear picture of the nature and character of God, I will be moved to worship. I will let the cares and desires of the temporal fade into the background and I will focus more intentionally and more purposefully on the God whom I attempt to worship. If I truly see the depths of my own depravity against the background of a holy and righteous God who created me and bought me back out of rebellion with a terrible and a wonderful price, I cannot help but be moved to authentic worship.
What is true worship? Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24, NASU) Jesus did not repeat Himself just to have something to say. He wanted the Samaritan woman and me and you to get this fact. We must worship God in “spirit” and in “truth.” We will only be able to truly worship when the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in us, i.e. when we have been born again. We must also worship in truth. We must worship God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. Very often we fall into the trap of worshiping a god of our own making. We attempt to worship God as we would like for Him to be. Spirit without Truth is mushy, soft, misguided, and dangerous. Truth without Spirit is dead, cold, ritualistic, and legalistic.
Live throughout the week as an heir of the kingdom, listening for the Master’s voice, obeying. Come to church on Sunday, expecting to hear from God, expecting God to display His glory. I think He will.
STEVE ELLISON is director of Ouachita Baptist Camp in Arkansas. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.