Psalm 122:1, “I was glad when the said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’”
Worship. Jesus said, “God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). I am not sure that we can emphasize worship too much. We owe God something that can only worship can begin to repay. (You might ask the students to explain why we owe God.) Worship is more than the right time. Worship is more that the right place. Worship is more than the right form. Worship is more that the right acts. All of these are important and we need to know how God wants us to worship Him, but that is not all there is to worship. If we are not careful we can be in attendance (come to church) and never worship!
Read Romans 12:1 in the KJV, NKJV, and ESV. Now read how the New Living Translation phrases that verse, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” The translators’ understanding causes me to pause and reflect. By the way they phrased that verse they are suggesting that if my daily life is not pleasing to God, then my worship will not be either. Consider what God told His people through the prophet, “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ (Micah 6:6-8). What is interesting about this passage is that under the Law of Moses, God prescribed worship to include animal sacrifices, pouring of oil, and the tribe of Levi was God’s substitute for the firstborn from every tribe and family. It is what God commanded, but God wanted more than following the specifics of worship. He wanted them to live right, to treat others right, and to walk with Him. He wanted them to live sacrificially for Him, since He had graciously chosen them as His people. We cannot substitute one to four hours a week for daily righteous living.
Worship Audience? Worship is not a spectator sport. The only member of the audience is God, He is the only spectator. Worship assemblies are not valuable based on the performance of others – prayer leaders, song leaders, preacher, etc. Worship is an activity for ALL those who assemble in the name of Christ. I do not wait for worship to provide a moving experience for me. My physical, emotional, and spiritual participation moves me. In Amos 5:12-15, 21-23, we see again that God speaks His displeasure at their attempts to worship Him, even according to the feasts He established. His displeasure was that they were focusing on the “motions” or acts of worship and not on the One worthy of honor. When we treat worship as if we are spectators, we are like God’s people in Amos’ day and are simply going through the motions without the heart of worship. Remember, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:” (Psalm 22:22). Remember, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”(Hebrews 13:15). Remember God is the focus of our worship.