Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Worship - Its Essence

    The first mention of worship in the Bible involves Abraham's taking of Isaac into the mountain where the father would sacrifice his son in obedience to God.
    "I and the lad go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (Genesis 22:15).
    Herein the fundamental definition of worship is provided, namely, Abraham believed and obeyed God.  He fully expected to kill Isaac, but he also fully expected the Lord to raise Isaac from the dead. 
     "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure" (Hebrews 11:17-19).
    In our generation, we have confused expressions of worship with its essence.  Indeed, it is possible to thank God without genuinely worshipping.  It is possible to praise Him without worshipping.  And it is possible to sing to Him or about Him without worshipping.  It is not, however, possible to believe and obey God without worshipping.  Faith and obedience, in response to our Lord's enabling and commands - this is worship in its most elemental sense.
     In this holy light, life becomes an altar.  We may worship God through the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere and everywhere, and at any time.  So long as we are trusting and obeying our Heavenly Father in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are worshipping.  Our confidence and capacity affirms a Son whom God has raised from the dead, and of whom we declare, "to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).  Devotion to His glory and will, along with the faith that the Spirit of the Lord Jesus dwells and walks within us to enable all obedience, comprises the true heart of worship.  Certainly thanksgiving, praise, and song will often accompany and express worship.  But these expressions will never be its essence.  Christ-enabled faith and obedience - this is worship, the sacrament of the heart wherein the entirety of our life is viewed as the holy ground of God's all-encompassing involvement, and our continual response thereunto.
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him."
(John 4:13)


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