Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Throne Room: Place of Adoration (Part 2)

Yesterday we looked at the hang-up of worship. But what exactly is worship? To me, the answer is found in the pages of John chapter four as Jesus is talking to the woman at the well. As he does, the topic of worship comes up. Jesus makes this statement. He says that those who worship God must do so “in spirit” and “in truth.” I believe that the definition of worship can be seen in these two prepositional phrases.

Let’s take the last one first. We must worship God “in truth.” What does that tell me? It tells me that worship is not simply singing a song. Worship deals with truth. What kind of truth? It is truth about God. So what is one aspect of worship? Worship begins by recognizing a truth about God. So when you stand in church on Sunday and you sing the songs, do you just sing or do you focus on the lyrics of the song you are singing in order to recognize a specific truth about God? That is worship. Worship is focusing on a Biblical truth about God. In Isaiah 6:1-3, the primary focus of the prophet’s worship was seeing God. The more I learn about God the more I will want to worship Him. True worship begins with a hungry, seeking heart that is dissatisfied with religious substitutes. My friend, the greatest deterrent to worship is losing your awe of who God really is.

But along with worshipping God “in truth” we also must worship him “in spirit.” The first aspect dealt with recognizing a truth about God. This one deals with our responding to the truth that we have recognized. So if you put the two ideas together you could rightfully define worship as “a Spirit-led response to a truth about God.” Worship is all that we are acting rightfully to all that God is. Yes, this even includes our emotion. Unfortunately, in many non-Pentecostal churches, we have so tried to differentiate ourselves from those on the charismatic side of the denominational fence that we have taken our churches to the other extreme side of the pendulum. In many churches, worship is all emotion, making their worship out of balance. But my friend, showing no emotion at all in our worship of God is just as extreme and ineffective. Worship includes a Spirit-led emotion that is acceptable (Matthew 15:8-9).

Isaiah’s seeing God resulted in two responses. First, there was confession as seen in Isaiah 6:4-5. And second, there was commitment in verse 8 as Isaiah proclaims, “Here am I. Send me!” The same was true with Paul and Barnabas in the New Testament (Acts 13:2). It was while they were worshipping that God called these two men to missionary service. The first act of faith mentioned in Hebrews chapter eleven is Abel’s act of worship in verse four. In Romans 12:1-2, we are told to present out bodies a living sacrifice to God which is our “reasonable service of worship.” J.I. Packer, in his book Knowing God, says those who know God have:
  • Great energy for God! (Daniel 11:32)
  • Great thoughts of God! (Daniel 2:20-23)
  • Great boldness for God! (Daniel 2:9-12
  • Great contentment in God! (Daniel 3:16-18)

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