Five basic principles of worship
We glorify God with our worship, because we answer to him as it is right. He deserves praise, not only for his power, but also for his goodness. God is love and everything he does happens out of love. That is worthy of praise. We even praise human love! We praise people who devote their lives to helping others. They did not have enough strength to save themselves, but they used them to help others - that's commendable. In contrast, we criticize people who had the ability to help others, but refused to do so. Goodness deserves more praise than power. God has both because he is kind and powerful.
Praise deepens the bond of love between us and God. God's love for us never fades, but our love for him often becomes weak. In praise, we let his love for us resonate and in fact kindle the fire of love for him that the Holy Spirit has invested in us. It is good to remember and repeat how wonderful God is because it strengthens us in Christ and increases our desire to become like Him in His goodness, which also increases our joy.
We are made to proclaim God's blessings (1 Peter 2,9) to praise and honor him - and the better we agree with God's purpose for our life, the greater our joy will be. Life is more fulfilling when we do what we are made to do: to honor God. We do this not only in our services, but also through our way of life.
The way of life of worship
Serving God is a way of life. We offer ourselves as victims with body and senses (Romans 12,1-2). We serve God when we preach the gospel (Romans 15,16). We serve God when we give donations (Philippians 4,18). We serve God when we help other people (Hebrews 13,16). We declare that he deserves our time, attention and loyalty. We praise his glory and humility to have become one of us for our sake. We praise His righteousness and mercy. We praise him for being what he is.
For that we are made to announce his glory. It is right that we praise the One who created us, who died and rose for us to save us and give eternal life, who is now working to help us become like him. We owe him our loyalty and our love.
We are made to praise God and always will be. The apostle John received a vision of our future: «And every creature that is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and everything in it, I heard saying: He who sits on the throne and Praise and honor and praise and violence to the Lamb from eternity to eternity! » (Revelation 5,13). This is the appropriate answer: reverence for those who are in awe, honor for those who are due and loyalty to those who are loyal.
Five basic principles
Psalm 33,13 calls us: «Rejoice the LORD, you righteous; the pious should praise him rightly. Thank the Lord with harps; praise him for the psaltery of ten strings! Sing him a new song; plays beautifully on the strings with happy sound! » The scripture instructs us to sing and cheer for joy, to use harps, flutes, tambourines, trombones and cymbals - even to worship him dancing (Psalm 149: 150). The image is one of exuberance, overwhelming joy and happiness that is expressed without hesitation.
The Bible shows us examples of spontaneous worship. It also contains examples of very formal worship, with well-established routines that have been followed for centuries. Both forms of worship can have their justification; no one can claim to be the only authentic right to praise God. Below, I would like to outline some of the basic principles that are important in worship.
1. We are called to worship
God wants us to worship him. This is a constant that we can read from the beginning to the end of the Bible (Genesis 1: 4,4; John 4,23:22,9; Revelation). Worshiping God is one of the reasons why we are called to proclaim His glory (1 Peter 2,9). God's people not only love and obey Him, but also perform acts of worship. It sacrifices, it sings praises, it prays.
We see in the Bible a great variety of ways in which worship can happen. Many details have been listed in the Law of Moses. Certain persons were entrusted with performing prescribed acts at specific times and places. In contrast, we see in 1. Book of Moses that the Patriarchs had few rules to consider in worship. They did not have a priesthood, were locally independent, and had few instructions about what to sacrifice and when.
There is also little discussion in the New Testament on how and when worship should take place. Worship activities are not limited to a specific group or location. Christ has abolished the Mosaic requirements. All believers are priests and are constantly offering themselves as living sacrifices.
2. Only God may be worshiped
Although there is a great variety of forms of worship, we see a simple constant that runs through the whole scripture: only God may be worshiped. Worship is only acceptable if it is exclusive. God demands all our love - all our faithfulness. We can not serve two gods. Although we can worship him in different ways, our unity is based on the fact that he is the one we worship.
In ancient Israel, Baal, a Canaanite deity, was often worshiped in competition with God. In Jesus' time it was religious traditions, self-righteousness and hypocrisy. Everything between us and God - everything that keeps us from obeying him - is a false god, an idol. For some it is the money; for others it is the sex. Some have a big problem with pride or concern for their reputation with others. The apostle John has described some of the usual false gods in one of his letters:
Don't love the world! Do not hang your heart on what belongs to the world! If someone loves the world, love for the father has no place in his life. Because nothing that characterizes this world comes from the Father. Whether it is the greed of the selfish person, his covetous looks or his bragging power and possessions - all of this has its origin in this world. And the world passes with its desires; but whoever does what God wants will live forever. (1 John 2,15:17 New Geneva translation).
It does not matter what our weakness is, we must crucify, kill, remove all false gods. If anything prevents us from obeying God, we have to get rid of it. God wants people who worship only him, who have him as the center of their lives.
The third constant of worship the Bible tells us is that our worship must be sincere. There is no value in doing it just for the sake of form, singing the right songs, gathering us on the right days and pronouncing the right words, but not loving God heartily. Jesus criticized those who honored God with their lips, but whose worship was in vain because their hearts were far from God. Their traditions, originally conceived to express love and worship, proved to be obstacles to true love and worship.
Jesus also emphasizes the need for sincerity when he says that God needs to be worshiped in spirit and truth (John 4,24). If we claim to love God but reject His commandments, we are hypocrites. If we value our freedom more than his authority, we cannot truly worship him. We cannot put his covenant in our mouths and throw his words behind us (Psalm 50,16: 17). We cannot call him Lord and ignore his instructions.
Everywhere in the Bible it is clear that true worship and obedience go together. This is particularly true of God's Word regarding the way we treat each other. We cannot honor God if we disdain His children. «When someone says: I love God and hates his brother, who is a liar. Because whoever does not love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see » (1 John 4,20: 21). Isaiah describes a similar situation with biting criticism of people who follow worship rituals and at the same time practice social injustice:
No longer offer such futile food offerings! The incense is an abomination to me! New moons and Sabbaths, when you get together, I don't like outrage and festive gatherings! My soul is an enemy of your new moons and annual festivals; they are a burden to me, I am tired of carrying them. And even if you spread your hands, I hide my eyes from you; and even if you pray a lot, I don't hear you (Isaiah 1,11: 15).
As far as we can tell, there was nothing wrong with the days that people held, the type of incense, or the animals they sacrificed. The problem was the way they lived the rest of the time. "Your hands are full of blood!" he said (Verse 15) - and the problem wasn't just about real killers.
He called for a comprehensive solution: “Let go of evil! Learn to do good, seek justice, help the oppressed, bring justice to the orphans, lead the widows! » (Verses 16-17). They had to put their interpersonal relationships in order. They had to put down racist prejudices, clichés about social classes and unfair economic practices.
5. It affects the whole life
Worship should affect the way we interact with each other every seven days a week. We see this principle throughout the Bible. How should we worship? The prophet Micah asked this question and also wrote down the answer:
How am I to approach the LORD, to bow before the high God? Should I approach him with burn victims and with annual calves? Will the LORD please many thousand rams, countless streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, my body fruit for my sin? You have been told, man, what is good and what the LORD demands from you, namely keeping God's word and practicing love and being humble before your God (Micah 6,6: 8).
The prophet Hosea also emphasized that relationships are more important than the system of worship: "I enjoy love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God and not the burnt victim" (Hosea 6,6). We are not only called to praise God but also to do good works (Ephesians 2,10). Our idea of worship must go far beyond music, days and rituals. These details are not as important as the way we treat our neighbors. It is hypocritical to call Jesus our Lord unless we also seek His righteousness, compassion, and compassion.
Worship is much more than external action - it involves a change in behavior that, in turn, comes from a change in the attitude of the heart that the Holy Spirit brings to us. Decisive in this change is our willingness to spend time with God in prayer, study and other spiritual disciplines. This fundamental change is not magically happening - it is due to the time we spend in communion with God.
Paul's expanded view of worship
Worship spans our entire lives. We read this in Paul's letters. He uses the terms sacrifice and worship (Worship) in the following way: «Now, dear brothers, through God's mercy I exhort you to give your bodies as a sacrifice that is alive, holy and pleasing to God. That is your sensible worship service » (Romans 12,1). Our whole life should be worship, not just a few hours a week. If our whole life is devoted to worship, it will certainly include some time with other Christians every week!
Paul uses further transcriptions for sacrifice and worship in Roman 15,16. He speaks of the grace that God gave him to be a servant of Christ Jesus among the Gentiles. One who preaches the gospel of God so that the Gentiles become a victim pleasing to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. The proclamation of the gospel is a form of worship and worship.
Since we are all priests, we have a priestly duty to proclaim the benefits and glory of those who have called us (1 Peter 2,9) - a service of worship that every believer can do or participate in by helping others to preach the gospel. When Paul thanked the Philippians for providing the financial support, he used terms of worship: "I received what came from you through Epaphroditus: a lovely smell, a pleasant sacrifice, pleasing to God" (Philippians 4,18).
Financial help to support other Christians can be a form of worship. Worship is described in the letter to the Hebrews as something that manifests itself in words and deeds: "Now let us offer praise to God at all times, it is the fruit of the lips that confess his name. Don't forget to do good and share with others; for such sacrifices please God » (Hebrews 13,15: 6).
We are called to worship, celebrate and worship God. It is our pleasure to share, to proclaim His benefits - the good news of what He has done for us in and through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Five facts about worship
- God wants us to worship Him, to meet Him with praise and thanksgiving.
- Only God is worthy of our worship and absolute faithfulness.
- Worship should be sincere, not a performance.
- If we worship and love God, we will do as he says.
- Worship is not just something we do once a week - it includes everything we do.
What to think about
- For which attribute of God are you most thankful?
- Some Old Testament sacrifices were completely burnt - leaving nothing but smoke and ashes. Was one of your victims comparable?
- Spectators cheer when their team scores a goal or wins a game. Do we respond with equal enthusiasm to God?
- For many people, God is not very important in everyday life. What do people value instead?
- Why does God care how we treat other people?
by Joseph Tkach