When we love God with all of our being, desire is to worship Him. To worship means to adore and literally “to kiss, like a dog licking His master’s hand”. In this verse, we see that God is in charge. He is the Master and Lord. It makes sense then that Christians are to worship God in the way that He desires.
There are different ways for man to worship but only one kind is acceptable before God and that would be the way He desires. Jesus said in Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7 that it is in vain to worship God using traditions of man. Vain worship is without purpose before God.
In Acts 17:23, the apostle Paul walked around Athens amidst their idols, noticing the one altar “to the unknown God. ” Paul told the Greeks that they were worshipping a God that they did not know, thus they were ignorantly worshipping the true God. God does not want people to be worshipping Him when they do not really know Him. The only way to really know God is through His Word. Paul needed to teach the Athenians, Acts 17:19-25; 27-32.
Another type of worship that God doesn’t want is “will worship”. The American Standard Bible states this well, Colossians 2:20-23. “ If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!’ (which all refer to things destined to perish with the using)-in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” This is a type of worship that is based upon man’s will or self-will. It feels good to deny self according to one's own thoughts but this is really self-indulgence as God did not ask for it. It does not hold up what the Son of God did in putting to death the flesh.
There is a terrible type of worship in Mark 15:19, when the soldiers cruelly mocked Jesus. They bowed down to Him but they did not mean it at all. It was all in jest. This type of mockery is still being done by people in the world who use the name of Jesus for profit.
An important thing to consider in worshipping is God is to realize the differences between the worship in the Old Testament and the New, something which was brought up in earlier lessons. The Israelites worshipped God with animal sacrifices on the Sabbath (ie Saturday) and on specific feast days such as the Passover. Incense was offered up and praises were sung accompanied with harp and lyre. The methods of worship in the Old Testament are not necessarily the same as in the New Testament. We have to keep this in mind as we divide the Word of God, 2 Timothy 2:15.
Then there is the worship which glorifies the Godhead, John 4:24, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” John 6:63 and John 17:17 emphasize that Jesus’ Word is Spirit, life and truth.
Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, teaches us how to worship God.
Now we will look at 5 specific ways to worship God:
1.Studying, teaching and learning the Scriptures is a way to worship God. Multitudes came to hear Jesus speak. Jesus, after one hard teaching, saw what He knew would happen. Some of his followers would leave Him, John 6:57-69. Jesus’ Words are living. Studying these Words will lead to eternal life but we have to be able to stay with Him even when the teachings become difficult and hard to bear. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Apostles continued to teach. The Jewish leaders as with Jesus did not want to hear or believe and locked them up, Acts 5:17-33. The Apostles bravely taught the truth. Hearers have to listen and not be like the rulers whose indignation shut up their hearts to believing. Thus studying, teaching, listening and learning go together and are a part of kissing the Master’s hand.
2. Singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs praises God and is also another method that we teach one another. Colossians 3:16. Ephesians 5:19
3. Prayer is very important in the worship of God. In Acts 2:42, we read of the early Christians continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and fellowship and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. The Bible has many passages which commands Christians to pray. 1 Timothy 2:8; Philippians 4:6.
4. Giving is a way of worshipping God. We see good works being done and money being shared within the church, Acts 4:34-37.
5. The Lord’s Supper is the greatest way to worship God for it is by remembering His death that the Christian recalls their own sin and the price that was paid for it. Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34.
These are all ways to worship God and they are to be done with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We can do some of these items alone or with a few but it is the great gathering on the Lord’s Day, Sunday, that I want to address right now.
As Christ’s church, we have tried our utmost to strictly adhere to the directions of the New Testament. We have examined when we should gather together as a group or assembly in order to worship together. The church of Christ has looked at how the apostles and other holy people in the New Testament conducted themselves so as to have good examples to follow. Paul told his young helper Timothy to be a good example in 1 Timothy 4:12-13. Paul himself said to follow his own example, 1 Corinthian 11:1-2.
1. We see that Paul was teaching on the Lord’s Day in Acts 20:7. This first day of the week, Sunday, was the day that the saints had gathered to break bread and hear a sermon.
2.In Colossians 3: 15-16, we realize that the Christians are singing together. Once again they are gathered together as one body and the Word is dwelling in them richly, growing within them as they sing their hearts out to God. In the church of Christ, as we find no example of musical instruments being used, we sing only acapella or without instruments. There is no organ, piano or guitar used only the voices given us from God. Yes, instruments were used in the Old Testament and are mentioned as being present figuratively in Heaven, but in the pages of this present Christian age there is no mention so for this reason, we sing using our voices only.
3. Prayer is to be done at all times. Prayer is a vital part of our worship to God on Sunday.
4. Doing charitable works is to be a part of any Christian’s life but the gathering for the work of the church is done only on Sunday for us. We use the example in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, as giving for the collection for the saints on the first day of the week. There is no specific amount no give except to give cheerfully and as one has been prospered, 2 Corinthian 9:7.
5. The most vital part of the Lord’s Day gathering is the Lord’s Supper in which we have a portion of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, non-alcoholic grape juice. This occurs once a week as we read in Acts 20:7.
The men are the leaders and teachers in the church of Christ as 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Women are allowed to teach the children and other women, 2 Timothy 1:5 and Titus 2:4-5. Women respectively speak in Bible classes but do not take over the class as the teacher is in charge.
John 4:24, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.”
I come here as an ambassador for Christ and His Word. Please continue to study these verses for yourself for God calls each person through His Word. My words mean nothing, only those of Jesus Christ and His inspired followers of the New Testament.