For many Christians, worship has lost its significance. It no longer occupies a major place in the lives of many believers. Don’t get me wrong; we still go through the motions. We still attend church (occasionally). We still consider ourselves devout followers of Jesus. Yet sadly, we have allowed the “rituals” of worship to replace the sincerity of worship.
Here are a few stinging indictments that demonstrate how careless our worship has become…
- We make promises to God that we don’t keep.
- We place more emphasis on how worship is done than on who we are worshipping.
- We meet with God’s people infrequently.
- We talk about God instead of listening to God.
- We are too busy to spend quality time with the Lord.
- We worship physically, but our minds are somewhere else.
Obviously, those are generalized statements, and I do not mean to insinuate that all Christ followers are guilty of such negligence. Yet, I must confess that periodically I find them to be true in my life. If I am not careful, my worship tends to be more about community than it does about the Trinity. I tend to do things out of habit and not because of holiness. My worship loses its zenith, its zeal and its zest.
To be honest, we are not the first generation to commit this grievous error. The Old Testament repeatedly demonstrates the carelessness of Israel’s worship.
I Samuel 15:22 – Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
Proverbs 15:8 – The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to Him.
Hosea 6:6 – For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Let me state that the answer is not to discontinue the “sacrifices” and “burnt offerings.” God is not telling us to stop worshipping. His admonition is for us to examine the motive and the attitude of our worship. How do we view God? Why do we worship? Are we listening to Him?
On Sunday we will develop this topic further as we examine reverent worship from Ecclesiastes 5:1-7. Here are a few admonitions, though, that will enable us to worship sincerely and seriously.
1. Get a fresh glimpse of WHO God is.
Quite frankly our view of worship has diminished because our view of God has diminished. We’ve lost the sense of reverential fear and awe for a holy God. We desperately need a fresh glimpse of the majesty, the character and the holiness of God.
That certainly happened to Isaiah. In the first part of Isaiah’s prophecy he is railing on the Israelites for their infidelity. Then in chapter six, Isaiah catches a fresh glimpse of God. He stops pronouncing woes on the Israelites and declares them upon himself.
Isaiah 6:5 – And I said, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…”
The apostle John had the same experience. During Jesus’ earthly life he was often characterized as the disciple that Jesus loved. Yet, in Revelation one he catches a vision of Jesus in all His glory. John’s response is unexpected.
Revelation 1:17 – When I saw Him, I fell at His fee as though dead.
Those are tremendous examples for us! Is your view of Jesus one of holiness or helpfulness? Do you approach Him as the supreme object of your worship or the practical supplier of your needs? You see, how we view Him greatly affects how we worship Him.
2. Get a fresh glimpse of HOW God is to be worshipped.
It is so easy for us to have incorrect views of worship. Human nature motivates us to worship either legalistically or selfishly. Those who are legalistic worship out of obligation. Those who are selfish worship out of ambition. Yet, God desires our approach to Him not be motivated by compulsion or by egotism. Neither attitude pleases God.
In John 4:24 Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
The English word “worship” was originally spelled “worthship.” It acknowledged the worth of the object worshipped. More than anything else, our worship should acknowledge the fact that God alone is worthy. He is awesome. He deserves our worship no matter if He ever saves us, blesses us or gives us what we want or need. Worship is about Him and not us.
So this weekend, let’s examine our worship. Let’s ask God to give us a fresh glimpse of WHO He is and HOW He desires to be adored.