As far as mankind has been traced there has always been a need to worship something. God has placed that need in us and has urged us to worship him. Man has been created as a compulsive worshipper! From the beginning, God has given us the purpose of worship; which is to bring glory to God and thus benefiting the worshipper. In each dispensation (Patriarchal, Mosaic, & Christian), God has revealed the means by which worship is to be offered.
I. Worship Defined
Our word “worship” is nowhere defined in scripture. We must define it in part by the terms from which it is translated. There are a bunch of words in the Greek that can be and are translated “worship.” For the purpose of this post let’s look at two of them!
A. Proskuneo- pros-koo-neh'-o This verb means to make obeisance, do reverence to (from pros, towards and kuneo, to kiss) It is the most frequent word rendered to worship. 60 times in KJV! Its often used as an act of homage and reverence!
· We must understand that proskuneo is a distinct act of worship that needs to be distinguished from a life of worshipful service to Christ. Proskuneo is performed as a special act of reverence! Gen 22:5 The LXX uses a form of proskuneo! Abraham and Isaac went to perform a special act of worship. They worshipped and upon finishing, they returned!
· All Of Life is not proskuneo worship. Jn 9:35-38 The blind man “worshipped” which constituted an act of worship.
· Proskuneo is an act, but it must NOT be equated with playacting or going through the motions! It’s no mechanically performed ritual. Rather it is spontaneous, from the heart, and genuine!
B. Latreuo- lat-ryoo'-o This verb means to serve, to render religious service or homage!
· Acts 24:14 Paul’s uses Latreuo here for “worship” and it is referring to his way of life.
· Rom 12:1 KJV, NKJV “service” NASB “service of worship” Latreuo is used here so properly should be “service of worship” This is yet another lifestyle of service to Jesus Christ!
· Latreuo is truly the worshipful lifestyle that characterizes the Christian’s daily walk.
C. The DISTINCTION between proskuneo and latreuo.
· Worship should not be thought as confined to praise or a activity in a building. It can be a distinct act such as remembering the Lord’s death in observing the Lord’s Supper(proskuneo) and/or our daily service to Jesus by conscientiously keeping His commandments (latreuo)
· Mt 4:10 Jesus uses both words when answering Satan’s bid for worship!
· Both the acts of worship that are commanded and authorized in God’s Word and the life of daily service to God according to His Word are distinctive means of worship!
II. Worship Identified
Jesus teaches what is acceptable and unacceptable worship(proskuneo) Jn 4:23-24; Mt 15:7-9
We must worship God on his terms and in his way. Nadab and Abihu tried to worship on their own terms and ultimately faced death. As so will we face a spiritual death if we follow their example? There are 2 elements which we identify “true worship” and God identifies “true worshippers.”
A. Worship in the Spirit
· This expresses the character of true worship. It is worship from a genuinely reverent and grateful heart!
· It’s all about “heart” Heart is what was lacking from the hypocrites in Mt 15:8. How many people today offer mere lip service on the Lord’s day?
B. Worship in the Truth
· This expresses the standard of true worship. Jn 17:17 Jesus prays for his apostles and makes this clear!
· ***A true worshipper will only worship according to the authority of His Word.
· The truth is what is lacking from the vain worshippers in Mt 15:9 They worshipped according to the commandments of men!
· ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP IS DETERMINED ONLY BY THE WORD OF GOD!
III. Acceptable worship is a must.
· We don’t see the word should in Jn 4:24, do we? “those who worship him should worship in spirit and truth” NO! This makes worship very specific. Jn 3:7 MUST!
· Acceptable worship must be from the heart and must be authorized by God’s Word!
· WORSHIP HAS A DISTINCTIVE IDENTITY. IT’S WORSHIP THAT IS FROM GOD’S WORD, FROM THE HEART, NOT A MECHANICAL FORMALITY, AND MUST BE AUTHORIZED BY GOD! WORSHIP IS NOT LIMITED TO SUNDAYS IN THIS BUILDING!