The first mention of worship in the Bible is in Gen.22:5 and the last in Rev. 22:9.
As an introduction to the subject of worship I would like to read you a couple of pages out of a book by Daniel Smith titled "Worship and Remembrance" from chapter two.
Worship is the key word in Scripture. In the final consummation of all things, after God has dealt with the whole of evil and imprisoned it forever, he will be fully worshipped in all His universe. The whole universe is yet to be filled with His glory, and from every part of it worship is to break forth.
At the heart of all true worship there is a recognition of the rights of God most High. God has rights. Every living being owes his origin to God as the Creator, and therefore should render to Him an undivided, unrivalled, and unreserved worship. That is our duty as created beings. We are to acknowledge that all things are the Lord’s and that there is none worthy of worship but the One who created all things.
But there is another who has usurped this claim and demanded worship. When Lucifer, the son of the morning - no doubt the brightest and most intelligent of all created beings - said in his heart through the rising of pride, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.... I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:13-14), he gathered, in his rebellious challenge, a company of the angelic host with the intent of drawing worship away from God to himself.. And by reason of consent in an hour of temptation, man brought Satan and his mischief here on earth. Under his dominion, man has come to the place of refusing God the right of worship and has turned to acknowledge the of the usurper. by yielding to Satan, he has transferred his worship from one to another.
Thus we now have two systems of worship. Satan is profoundly antagonistic to God’s gaining His own rights in any man and to God’s receiving worship from man. Thus, wherever the rights of God are recognized, and worship is rendered to Him, that worship is now challenged. The great work of Satan is to prevent man from worshipping God and so to deny God the worship due to His name.
The Opposition of Satan.
This antagonism appears wherever true worship arises to God. When Able recognized God’s rights, erected and altar, and placed a blood sacrifice upon it as a figure of God’s great sacrifice to come in His Son, he was murdered (Gen.4:8). When Noah stepped out onto the new earth after the flood and built an altar at which to worship, he was set a Satanic trap and, for a moment, was involved in shame (Gen.9:20-23). When Abraham offered sacrifice to God in heartfelt worship, the vultures swooped down to try to steal it away (Gen.15:11). When Solomon built the Temple magnifical that the Lord might have a worshipping people before Him, Satan moved to cast him down from his excellency (1Kings 11). When Elijah stood for the true worship against all that was of Baal and Ashtaroth, Jezebel, a daughter of Satan if ever there was one, rose to seek his life (1Ki.19:2).
We see this opposition intensify when the Lord of Glory came into our humanity. No sooner had He taken His place here on earth by becoming the Son of man and entering the world as we do, than Herod sent to sly all the children of Bethlehem, hoping the holy child would be among them (Matthew 2:16). And as soon as our Lord began His public ministry, Satan was there with an offer: "All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:9). Some think that Satan’s offer of the world kingdoms to our Lord was a huge fraud, offering what he did not possess; but three times Jesus called him "the prince of this world." The force of Satan’s temptation was the reality of the offer. Satan offered to abdicate if the Son of God would do him homage. But the love of this world shuts out the love of the Father. To escape it, to conquer it, there would have to be the death of the cross, a crucifixion to the world, and a crucifixion of the world. The Lord Jesus was the one man who would not recognize Satan’s rights.
The problem with man is that, having received satanic influence and control of life, he desires what Satan desires - self-exaltation. There is therefore a withholding on man’s part of worship to God and, in its place, if not direct worship of Satan, though that is coming more and more into the open, a recognition that even man has rights. It is this which lies deeply hidden behind the spirit of self-interest, self-glory, and self-preservation.
Good books on worship are rare because centuries of dead religion has influenced the gathering and practices of even true Christians. Ecclesiastes 5:1+2 should be a constant reminder to us as when we consider worship :"Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools; for they consider not that they do evil. 2, Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven; and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few.
This morning I would like to dispel and demolish all false ideas about what most people class as worship. Dismantle all preconceived ideas of what a worship meeting is supposed to be. You see some people talk about open worship, but that does not define anything, because there is no such thing as closed worship. The fact is that God is seeking, and if worship be as common as Religion all over the world would like us to believe, God would not need to seek. (John 4:20-240. But God does seek those that are willing, prepared, and determined to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Let me say this, the Spirit is free, and the Truth is not negotiable. In reality everything that is sensual and physical is not spiritual. From the Woman’s head covering to bringing your pet dog or cat into the house of God - that is compromise of truth, and a compromise of truth is disobedience and error. So what am I saying ? Waving your hands in the air, clapping your hands, making a lot of noise has nothing to do with real worship towards God. All those incidentals are secondary to the real issue. They are not for the benefit of God - they are for the benefit of man. You see, to worship God you need nothing, because it is an attitude of heart and spirit, contemplating and adoring the greatness, the goodness, the love and mercy of our God and Saviour. Our English word worship comes from worth-ship. What value do you place on your God and Saviour ? Is He to you like Peter says (1Pet.2:7) precious ? Heb.11:21 says Jacob worshipped leaning upon the top of his staff. What do think he was actually doing ? He was quietly contemplating, appreciating and rejoicing in the goodness of God in his life and bringing that spiritual sacrifice of thanksgiving and adoration (Praise).
So, we too should be clear what the Sunday Morning Meeting is to be. Is it for our own benefit, entertainment like a club? Is it for others to join the club or is it a Public Worship Meeting when we bring thanks-giving and praise to God? Notice I did not say private and I suggest that is what it should be a Public Worship Meeting.
By now you say that this is all a contradiction of words and thoughts, but it is not, because public worship is the appreciation of our God and Saviour put into words of thanksgiving and praise for the benefit of others, be they Believers of Unbelievers. Public worship is the testimony of our faith to angels and men. Does our testimony bring glory to God, if it does no doubt Satan will hate it.
There are no hard or fast rules set out in the New Test. how the format of a public worship meeting should be, but the first key-word is discretion followed with the key-word liberty, because the New Test. stresses the importance that the teaching of the Holy Spirit is not bound to one person. 1Cor.14:23, If therefore the whole church be come together into one place v.26, everyone of you hath a psalm, a doctrine, a revelation. So everyone hath a Psalm, not everyone is prompted by the Holy Spirit to speak for v.29 says let the prophets speak by two or three with the reason that the whole church may by edified (built up). So we are talking about the opportunity of multiple participation of Believers taking part in the
When you think of worship - think Christ centred, Christ centred in contrast to self centred. Some people just talk about their own importance which I think is absolutely rude in the presence of God and Angels. The key to a spiritual contribution is a deflated ego, forget about yourself, take a verse from the Scriptures, meditate on it, even if it takes a month, consider how you can use it to exalt Christ. Ask yourself, how can I bring the truth across in a minimum of words. You are not there to give a sermon, as some have done in the past, we have a speaker for the sermon. You are not to take up all the time, for the Holy Spirit may have someone else to minister to God and the Saints also. Consider others. What if the bread for communion for instance was all eaten by the first person. Be not presumptuous, consider others. If you are a bad communicator put it first in writing, rehearse it, reduce it, give God your very best.
Worship and communion with God is when we enter into the thoughts of God concerning His Son. It is as if God were saying;" I want to take you into fellowship with me in the thoughts about My Son. I want you to know more about Him." Remember the voice from heaven? "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED - IN WHOM I FIND ALL MY DELIGHT "
To summarize; Worship is when we bring to God, in contrast to when we ask and receive of God. In the Old Test. the command is: "None shall appear before Me empty." When all our delight is in the Son of God, of which all the Old Testament sacrifices speak, we bring better sacrifices than that of Abel.