As we saw last week, we are all designed to worship. But if we are to be biblical worshipers in practice, how do we do that?
As is appropriate with any discussion, providing definitions are essential. Definitions are particularly important to this discussion because worship has been defined in many ways by many people throughout history. Here are a two definitions that I find are useful in defining this discussion of biblical worship:
Definition by Dr. John Frame: “Worship is the work of acknowledging the greatness of our covenant Lord.” – From John Frame’s, Worship in Spirit and in Truth
Definition by Dr. A. W. Tozer: “Worship is to feel in the heart and express in an appropriate manner a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe. Worship humbles you. The proud man can’t worship God any more than the proud devil can worship God. There must be humility in the heart before there can be worship. If it isn’t mysterious there can be no worship. If God can be [fully] understood by me than I cannot worship God.” – From, Tozer on Worship and Entertainment
Now that we have a working definition of worship, let’s explore the ways God has provided in his Word that lead us to this “humbling and delightful sense of admiring awe.”
Ways to Worship
We most often think of worship in the “narrow” sense which is what we do in our Sunday meetings. However, there is a “broad” and “narrow” view of worship (more on that next week). Nevertheless, the ways we engage in worship in our Sunday gatherings are important and are given to us in Scripture.
What comes to mind when you think of worship on Sundays? I think that the biblical element that we most often associate with worship is the songs we sing. While songs are certainly a part of biblical worship, they aren’t the heart of worship. Frame, in Worship in Spirit and in Truth, lists the rest of the “narrow” Sunday meeting elements: (I urge you to follow the links of each and read the Scripture referenced)
1. Greetings and Benedictions (Num. 6:24-26; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; Rom. 15:33; 1 Cor. 16:23-24; 2 Cor. 13;14)
2. Reading of Scripture (Deut. 31:9-13; Neh. 8:1-8; Luke 4:17-19; Acts 15:21)
3. Preaching and Teaching (Neh. 8:8; Luke 4:20; Acts 20:7; 1 Tim. 4:6; 5:17; 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:16; 4:2; Titus 1:9)
4. Prayer (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 2:1-2)
5. Song (1 Chron. 16:9; Eph. 5:19-20; Col. 3:16)
6. Vows (Ps. 22:25; 50:14; 65:1; 76:11) (WCF 22.1)
7. Confession of Faith (1 Kings 8:33-35; 2 Chron. 6:24-26; Matt. 10:32; Luke 12:8; Rom. 10:9-10; Heb. 13:15)
8. Sacraments (1 Cor. 11:17-34; Romans 6:4)
9. Church Discipline (Matt. 18:15-20)
10. Collections, Offerings, Tithes (Gen. 14:19-20; 28:20-22; Matt. 6:1-4; Mark 12:41-44; 1 Cor. 16:1-2)
11. Expressions of Fellowship (1 Cor. 11:20-22; 16:20; Rom. 16:16)
At NewLife Gathering, we make these elements a priority in our meetings. While they may not all be present in every meeting, they will be regularly practiced by us as a congregation who seeks to worship God through the means he has given. Each one is a specific way we can worship God so we must use them all for his glory!
Let this challenge us to view worship not only as the songs that we sing, but how we interact with God (through the reading and teaching of Scripture, prayer, vows, etc) and with each other (greetings, fellowship, etc). Let us begin to see worship as how God leads us to experience and reverence him with a humbling and delightful sense of admiring awe.
Tune in next week to further expand our thinking of worship by describing different dimensions of it past our Sunday meetings.
Grace and Peace to you!