The Church is a Worshipping Church

The early church was a learning church, a loving church, a worshipping church, and an evangelistic church (see Acts 2:42–47). In this section, we will focus on the aspect of worship.

Created to worship

God created man with an innate desire to worship. In fact, it remains one of the fundamental differences between humans and animals. God did not create that drive in animals. But, as the Bible says, “[God] has…set eternity in the hearts of man” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This urge causes people everywhere to worship; if they are not worshipping the true God, they are worshipping a god of their own construction. Yet, a true understanding of what worship means illustrates why God alone deserves our worship and devotion.

God is worthy of our worship

The word worship comes from the Old English word “worth-ship,” which means “to ascribe worth or value to something or someone.” We worship that which is worthy. A god of our own making is not worthy of worship. It will only disappoint. Revelation 5:12 describes the one deserving of our praise and adoration: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12).

In the Bible’s original language, a number of words are translated as worship. Here are just two that give greater meaning to the word:

  • Shachah: This word means “to bow down, to do homage.” It is first used in Genesis 18:2, where Abraham bows down before his three visitors (one of whom he discovered later was the Lord Himself!)
  • Proskuneo: This word literally means “to kiss toward.” It conveys the idea of showing reverence.

Putting these various meanings together, we see that we worship God because He is holy. In true worship, we bow down and do homage to Him (indicating a reverence and respect for God), and we kiss toward Him (signifying a tenderness and intimacy toward God).

Jesus made it clear that there is both a right way and a wrong way to worship—a true and false worship. The Pharisees, who thought that they were experts in worship, were by and large not even close: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8–9).

We should not worship God for what we will get out of it; we should worship God because He is worthy of our worship. A.W. Tozer once said, “Whoever seeks God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. God will not be used.”

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