How can our worship fulfill its great purpose in the New Testament age? What does it mean to worship “in spirit and in truth”?
Worship is the activity of glorifying God in his presence with our voices and hearts. (1) We worship especially when we come into God’s presence, when we are conscious of adoration of him in our hearts, and when we praise him with our voices so others may hear.(Col 3:16) (2) God called us into the assembly of the church so that as a corporate assembly we might worship him. (Ex 7:16)
(3) Worship is a direct expression of our ultimate purpose for living, “to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever.” (Is 43:6-7; Eph 1:12) (4) God is worthy of worship and we are not. (Re 22:8-9) (5) Everything in our worship services should be designed and carried out to call attention to God and to cause people to think about him.
1. We Delight in God. (Ps 16:11; 73:25; Acts 2:46) 2. God Delights in Us. (Zeph 3:17; Is 62:1-5) 3. We Draw Near to God: The Amazing Unseen Reality of New Covenant Worship. OT believers could only draw near in part. We can enter into God’s presence in worship. (Heb 10:19-22; 12:18-24) 4. God Draws Near to Us. (Jas 4:8; 2 Chr 5:13- 14)
5. God Ministers to Us. (1 Cor 14:26; Heb 4:16) He meets with us and strengthens our faith. He intensifies our awareness of his presence. He refreshes our spirits. 6. The Lord’s Enemies Flee. (2 Chron 20:22) 7. Unbelievers Know They Are in God’s Presence. (1 Cor 14:25)
Eph 5:15-20: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV) Worship is a way to use time well. Worship is doing the will of God.
Worship is a spiritual activity and it must be empowered by the Holy Spirit working within us. (John 4:23-24) To worship “in spirit and truth” is best understood to mean not “in the Holy Spirit,” but rather “in the spiritual realm, in the realm of spiritual activity.” Unless our spirits are worshiping God we are not truly worshiping him.
An attitude of worship comes upon us when we begin to see God as he is and then respond to his presence. (Mt 14:33; Heb 12:28-29; Is 6:1- 3)
How can we bring ourselves to experience much more of the depth and richness of worship? (a) Worship is a spiritual matter, and the primary solutions will therefore be spiritual ones—prayer, teaching, and reconciliation with others. (b) The physical setting and structure of worship services also matter. (Mt 6:6; 21:12-13) (c) The atmosphere and mood are important. (1 Co 14:33a; Heb 12:28-29)
Patriarchs Exodus Monarchy Exile Restoration Early Church
Who: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph Place: anywhere, sacred places Style: very informal Always in response to God’s initiative
Who: Moses and the Israelites in the desert Place: the Tabernacle Style: becoming more formal In response to God’s acts
Who: Solomon, Jereboam, Baasha etc. Place: the Temple Style: very formal Progression from tabernacle, with increasing rules and regulations. Obedience becomes key.
Who: Daniel and others exiled in Babylon and elsewhere. Place: Synagogues Style: mixed but still mostly formal Rise in importance of the Torah
Who: Ezra, Nehemiah and returning exiles Place: the Temple and synagogues Style: very formal Merging of Monarchy and Exile. Renewed legalism and rise of the Scribes.
Who: Disciples, early converts Place: Believers’ houses Style: informal Royal Priesthood, giving of the Holy Spirit
Hawah Most common word for worship in OT ‘to bow down’, ‘to pay homage’ Physical gesture of an inward attitude Proskuneo Most common word for worship in NT ‘to fall down’, ‘to prostrate oneself’, ‘to adore on one’s knees’ Physical gesture of an inward attitude
Ahad ‘to work’, ‘to do’, ‘to perform’, ‘to serve’ Not just used within worship gatherings Latreuo and leiturgeo ‘to serve’, ‘to minister’ Primarily used in sacrificial system in Septuagint, but of secondary importance in NT
Yare ‘to fear’, to be afraid’ Not terror of dread, but heightened attitude of awe and respect -- Joshua 22:25 Sebomai ‘to revere’, ‘to be devout’ Way of life: inner attitude of reverence Hasa To be silent (See Habakkuk 2:20)
Halal ‘to be clear, to shine, to make a show, to boast, to be clamorously foolish, to rave’ -Psalms 145-150 Yadah ‘to hold out the hand, to revere or worship with extended hands’ Tehillah ‘to proclaim the excellence of a person or object’ Shabakh ‘to address in a loud tone’ Demonstrate Approval and Celebrate
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise (halal) him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to (yadah) the LORD, for his love endures forever.” As they began to sing and praise (tehillah), the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 2 Chronicles 20:21-22
‘The Lord made a covenant with them and commanded them, ‘You shall not fear (yare) other Gods, or bow yourselves (hawah) to them or serve (ahad) them or sacrifice to them.’
Biblical Worship takes many forms. All of one’s being may come into play: intellect, will, emotions, body parts Some Conclusions