- The workweek can be difficult, but it’s made more difficult when we abandon the application of God’s Word from Sunday. Do you view worship as a Sunday activity or the whole of the Christian life? What factors led you to the point where you began to segregate God-centered worship to a once-weekly activity rather than an everyday identity? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you rightly prioritize your life as a worshipper of Jesus.
- What are some biblical ways that you can personally worship God each day? Consider ways you can devote personal time to reflecting with your heart and your head the supremacy/greatness of the Lord (e.g. reflecting on the greatness of God by meditating on particular, or setting aside a time of devoted prayer, or learning a melody you can sing).
- What are some biblical ways that you can worship as a family during the week outside of coming to church? Choose one of those ways and begin implementing it this week.
- Have you made the common mistake of thinking that worship on Sunday is only, or primarily, the singing? The Bible makes clear that when believers come together to worship, everything we do is done before God and He is to be at its center – from prayer, to giving, to singing, to reading Scripture together, to applying Scripture through the preaching, to our response. When you consider that truth, coupled with the truth that you are made alive in Christ, how would you begin to worship differently on Sunday mornings?
MIM: You become what you focus on. Because the focus of biblical worship is God, to the degree you commit yourself to daily worship is the degree to which you will transform into the image of Christ.
In a series from 1 Tim 4:7-8:
“7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come
Spiritual Disciplines are for the purpose of godliness/Christlikeness
Because Disciples/Followers of Jesus Grow, Spiritual Disciplines are important.
Jesus was on his way from Judea to Galilee and passing through Samaria… Jesus is talking with a Samaritan woman (!) at Jacob’s well
A. Left Unchecked Our Fallen Condition Will Distort Our Worship
The issue is not whether we will worship, but what.
Largest house of worship recently built is in Arlington, TX: 30,000 parking spaces; 100,000 seats; a center hung HD TV measuring 160’ x 72’.
Perfect location to gather, sing, shout, cry, clap, feel the energy that comes along with being shoulder to shoulder with that many people at once with the same purpose and hope.
Who owns it? The Baptists? The Charismatics? Nope. This 1.33 Billion edifice owned by Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. [^1]
All year long it is regularly filled with people coming to be struck with awe.. they’re coming to witness the great whoever perform whatever. I like sports, concerts, and motocross as much as the next guy, but I simply want to point out the inclination of the American people to worship.
Now consider closer to home. I understand that the typical attendance at Pisgah’s football games is at least 7,000 every game. And the Pisgah-Tuscola game will pull in almost 15,000 people from around the County. (I know because I was one of them.) Now consider that on any given Sunday, there will be fewer people in all of our evangelical churches in the County combined.
The point is not that those things are bad in themselves, but we must be aware of whom we are worshiping
We are built to worship, but because of our sin nature, we tend to delude ourselves into worshiping the little gods around us instead of directing our worship toward the one true God who created us to worship him.
Let’s begin our study of worship as a Spiritual Discipline with the question…
B. What is Worship?
Worship is the praise, adoration and reverence of God, both in public and private. It is a celebration of the worthiness of God, by which honor is given to his name [^2]
In other words: Worship is acknowledging with both your heart and your head the supremacy/greatness of the Lord
1. Literally Speaking
2 Groups of Hebrew and Greek terms translated “Worship”
(a.) “Labor/service” – service to God, in Old Testament by priests in the temple
How does this apply to our understanding of Worship?
1. Worship is Active
Not entertainment, which is passive BUT participatory
2. Because of Jesus, You are now the Temple
How many of you have been seen a temple lately?
How many of you have looked at yourselves in a mirror lately?
1 Cor 6:19 – Your body a temple of the Holy Spirit
1 Peter 2:9-10 – You are a kingdom of priests
1 Peter 2:5 – The ecclesia, the local church, is not brick and mortar but the building together of believers.
(b.) “Bowing/bending the knee” – honoring the worth of someone else
1. English, Worth-ship
2. Honoring someone who is superior to ourselves
The bowing or curtsey to a king
Compare to entering into the courts of the King of kings (Ps 100:4)
Worship is therefore:
2. Active Adoration of the LORD our God (Deut 6:4-5)
(a.) Focusing and Responding to God
John 20:28ff (the words of Thomas)
Rev 4:8-11; Rev 5:12-13
(b.) Participatory Praise of God
The praise of JESUS – our recognition of him as unconditionally superior to ourselves in every way
(c.) In Worship We:
-Express affection, joy, sadness, thankfulness
-Confess our faults
-Accept (listen & respond to) his commands, corrections, promises
-Offer ourselves as a sacrifice of praise
We adore God’s covenantal control. We bow before his authority. We experience his presence [^3]
(d.) Worship is more than words and actions. Worship is mind and heart.
As we consider the infinite worth and glory of God
C. Our Worship is Founded in Christ and Focused on Christ
Since the fall, everything speaks of sin, forgiveness, Jesus’ atonement and resurrection THEREFORE our worship is Christ-centered
Jesus Makes our Worship Possible – It is Founded in Him
“In Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:23-24)
(a.) “In Truth”
Truth centers on his person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Word of God is Truth (Jn 17:17, James 1:18) and it is a testimony to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Col 1:5, Eph 1:13)
Jesus is the Word made flesh (Jn 1).
Jesus is “the Truth” (Jn 14:6).
Through Him we have new life, a new birth
(b.) “In Spirit”
In Jn 3 we have the record of Jesus conversation with Nicodemus. Over and again Jesus tells him that he “must be born again.” In Jn 3:6, he says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By our new birth through the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ, our spirit is quickened/made alive with the Spirit of God and we can truly worship the Lord
If your worship is dead, the first question I would ask is if you have ever been made alive in Christ?
D. Worship is Both Vertical and Horizontal
Consider the Great Commandment (Mt 22:36-40)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Our worship must be right vertically before we can love rightly horizontally.
Neither are duties, they are from a heart of devotion.
Let’s suppose it was Megan’s birthday, and I thought I should do something special for her. So I got off early to surprise her. I went to the flower shop and bought a big bouquet of her favorite flowers. I went to our front door and rang the doorbell. And when she opened the door I said, “Happy Birthday honey. I love you!” To which she replies, “Oh, thank you! But then I say, “Don’t mention it. Since I’m your husband, it’s my duty.” [^4] Talk about a mood killer!
You don’t love your wife (or your husband) out of a sense of duty. It’s devotion. It’s an honor. And you don’t love God out of duty. You love God out of a sense of loving devotion to the One who loves you unconditionally. Our worship of God is borne out of our love of God, not some begrudging duty.
So we discipline ourselves to worship God not from a sense of duty, but rather to worship is to delight ourselves in God…
E. Worship is a Spiritual Discipline
Worship is the entire Christian life, an offering to God.
People become like what they focus on: What is your focus: things of this world that God created or God himself?
Worship of God makes you more godly – more like Christ – because your unending focus is on God.
Commit yourself to daily worship.
AW Tozer: “If you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship him on one day a week.” We can not expect to worship on Sunday if our worship is dammed up six days a week. [^5]
Commit yourself to undeviating worship each week with other saints in the local church. (c.f Heb 10:19-25)
Commit yourself to devoted worship.
Worship in your worship, where worship is not routine, but God-centered and God-charged affecting our praying, giving, singing, reading of Scripture, applying Scripture through the preaching, and our response to the piercing truth of God’s Word.
For a pdf version: Worship as a Spiritual Discipline-John 4_23-26-Spiritual Disciplines Series
[^1]: Illustration from an excerpt of The Jesus Centered Church by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger as printed in Let’s Worship (Lifeway, Spring 2014).
[^2]: Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies (London: Martin Manser, 2009).
[^3]: John M. Frame, Worship in Spirit and Truth (Philipsburg, NJ: Reformed Publishing, 1996).
[^4]: Adapted from an illustration quoted by Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014), 108-109.
[^5]: Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014), 115-116.