Jesus not only modeled to whom and why one must worship, but also how, where, when, and what to worship. In Luke 4:8, Jesus simply said, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” God is to be worshiped exclusively, and that requires forsaking all others. Jesus honored God alone during the forty days of temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). In response to Satan’s taunting, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13, saying: “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name” (NIV).
Our Lord demonstrated why one must worship. Deuteronomy 30:20 states that God gives life and controls the length of a person’s days. Jesus said in John 15:5, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (NIV), and in John 6:63, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (NIV). Revelation 4:11 states, ”You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (NIV). Since God is the maker and sustainer of life, it is wise to heed the call to honor Him in Christ. Why worship? Because God is worthy! The English word worship comes from the older word “worthship,” which means to acknowledge the supreme worth of God. Henry Blackaby and Ron Owens zero-in on the appropriate response to God’s greatness:
“Because the Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of the old covenant of the law, new-covenant believers obey God’s command to worship by worshiping through Christ, in Christ and for Christ. Worship is now a response to the nature of God and His self-revelation through His Son. New Testament worship is a response to who God is in Christ.”
Jesus also commented about how to worship: in spirit and truth (John 4:24)—be spirited yet biblical. How does one put feet to worship? It can be by way of artistic expression; thanksgiving; through confession, prayer, reading God’s Word, sharing the gospel, remembering Christ’s sacrifice through Communion, and encouraging others. An essential “how” of worship is responding to God’s love through service; to find and fulfill opportunities to obey, honor and serve the Lord.
Jesus came to announce where worship was be offered. In John 2:19 Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (NIV). In this way He was proclaiming that the Old Testament temple would be replaced. He asserted about Himself, “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here,” (Matt. 12:6). Now, if Christ’s body is the real temple, Paul took it one more step and wrote, “For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16, NIV). Dr. Vernon Whaley has said: “How does He do this? By residing in us. God no longer dwells in a cloud, a fire, in tents, or in a temple. God the Holy Spirit now chooses to dwell in the hearts of those who love Him.”
Jesus gave witness to when worship must be practiced. He regularly went to the synagogue, but that was not His primary setting for worship. Luke 4:16 says, “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom” (NIV). It can be said that worship is not something a person should fit into their life; it is something one should fit their life into. Jesus made worship His life-priority. He got away from the crowds to pray and spend time with His Father (Matt. 14:13; Mark 1:35, 3:7; Luke 5:16; John 7:10). Therefore, per His example, Christians are called to worship twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Congregational worship is limited to a restricted amount of time during the week, but worshiping God is to be recurrent.
“Worship is not something a person should fit into their life; it is something one should fit their life into.”
Brother Lawrence was a humble 17thcentury monk and kitchen helper in a French monastery. The world learned of Brother Lawrence through the writing of Abbe de Beaufort. In the classic book The Practice of the Presence of God, Lawrence provided his philosophy of continual worship: “In order to form a habit of conversing with GOD continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.” Like Brother Lawrence’s nonstop practice of worship, Hebrews 13:15 states, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (NLT).
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 informs believers, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (ESV). With the example of Jesus, one sees that worship is all of life (Rom. 12:1-2).
“God is actively looking for authentic worshipers (John 4:23).”
It is true that God is actively looking for authentic worshipers (John 4:23), and likewise Satan is searching to destroy worship by eliminating potential worshipers (1 Peter 5:8). Those who dedicate themselves to being active worshipers are employing what they were designed and created to be, in spite of the spiritual resistance that may abound (Neh. 4:1-23; Rom. 6:6-7). The incredible thing is that God is cheering the saints on toward victory. Max Lucado wrote:
“God is for you. Turn to the sidelines; that’s God cheering your run. Look past the finish line; that’s God applauding your steps. Listen for him in the bleachers, shouting your name. Too tired to continue? He’ll carry you. Too discouraged to fight? He’s picking you up. God is for you. God is for you. Had he a calendar, your birthday would be circled. If he drove a car, your name would be on his bumper. If there’s a tree in heaven, he’s carved your name in the bark. We know he has a tattoo, and we know what it says. ‘I have written your name on my hand,’ he declares (Isa. 49:16).”
A synopsis of worship from the point of view of a journalist may be summarized through the following:
§ Whom shall we worship?Fear the Lord your God and serve Him only (Deut. 6:13)
§ Whymust we worship? He is worthy (Rev. 4:11)
§ Howought we worship? In spirit and truth—spirited yet biblical (John 4:24)
§ Where are we required to worship?We are the temples of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16)
§ Whenis the best time to worship? Continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15)
A suitable addition to the list above would include a ‘what’ of biblical worship. God designed humanity to worship (Rev. 4:9-11), and He gave the life of His Son to make that possible (1 John 4:14). My own definition of worship—and all that God designed me to become—is certainly incomplete. But nevertheless, the following is my personal attempt at the nearly impossible task of describing worship in two sentences:
“Worship is man’s response to the gracious God-initiated revelation of His glory and power, for which eternal gratitude and thanks is expressed through testimony, faith, devotion and obedience. Authentic worship springs from the totality of a believer’s life and extends to the faith community where, as a holy nation, its citizens shine as beacons of God’s faithfulness in the world and in the heavens.”
It is truly a blessing to study worship, and as I do there are more glorious facets that keep popping up. A journalist would spend eternity interviewing God about worship and that still wouldn’t be enough time to barely scratch the surface!
 Henry Blackaby and Ron Owens. Worship: Believers Experiencing God (Collierville,TN: Innovo Publishing, 2016), 29.
Marshall Shelley, “The Right Way to Worship?” (n.d.), Ignite Your Faith website, http://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/advice/faithqa/right-way-to-worship.html (accessed March 8, 2017).
 Vernon M. Whaley, Called to Worship: From the Dawn of Creation to the Final Amen(Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009), 276.
“When Should We Worship?” Family Study, episode 13C, Truth Quest Ministries, 2008.
Lawrence, Brother, The Brother Lawrence Collection: Practice and Presence of God: (Floyd, VA: Wilder Publications, Inc., n.d.), Kindle Edition locations 104-106.
Max Lucado, Let the Journey Begin: Finding God’s Best for Your Life (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009), 131.
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