Worship: A Basic Element Of Christianity

Holy Bible Insights Into True Worship Of God

Worship: A Basic Element Of Christianity
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Worshiping God through Christ is an essential part of true Christianity. Find out its nature and the requirements for it from the Holy Bible.

People surrender to God through Christ and become born again for a few different reasons from their perspective. Some surrender because of despair when they reach what they might feel is the bottom of their life. Others might do so because a heavy burden of guilt is upon them. Many make a commitment to God through Christ in fear of various things. However, all who really do make Christ their King find a strong bond of love with the Father.

Godly love between God and man {A} with godly love between man and God is a foundation of true Christianity. It is established because Christ dwells within the person that is truly born again.

A real Christian then begins to do many because they truly love God. One is to really worship God. Worship is the expression of our love to God.

I. The Nature of Worship

Though the above definition is suitable for our purposes, it would be good to know that one of the main Hebrew words that is translated as "worship" means {1} "to bow down, to bow down before God, to worship, to pay adoration, even without prostration." Praise is sometimes used interchangeably with worship. A main Hebrew word for praise means {2} "to shine, to make shine; to give forth a clear and distinct sound." Giving thanks is also part of worship.

In all, it could be said worship is giving reverence to God by expressing our love and appreciation for Him. And it is not just for church. Each true Christian should worship God every day. There will be times when you might not feel like worshiping. However, God is worthy of our worship at all times, and many have found that as they fight against the desires of the flesh and soul but worship God anyhow they receive, among other things, strength and peace to help them through any difficult time they might be facing.

II. The Basis of Worship      

Who God is

The basis for worshiping God is threefold. Firstly is we ought to worship God for Who He is {B}. This is the highest form of praise because it recognizes the attributes of God which are constant. Though people and circumstances around us change, God's attributes never change. So we have reason to worship Him no matter what we are facing, and doing so strengthens our faith, love and trust of Him. Consider the following points:

1. Many great prayers of the Holy Bible begin with such worship. Two examples are the “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9-10), and Daniel interceding on behalf of the Jews (Daniel  9:4). 
2. Such worship should precede battle (think of this on our part in the sense of when we face a problem): See 2 Chronicles. 20:18-22. The principles of this passage can certainly be applied to spiritual warfare {C}.
3. It should continue in the midst of troubles (Isaiah 37:14-16 and Daniel 6:10). Again, the principles of such passages can certainly be applied to spiritual warfare. The other bases of worship, viz., what He Has done and what He will do, are also used in spiritual warfare.
4. Some creatures before the throne of God continuously offer worship (Revelation 4:6-8). When we personally proclaim the worship in this passage, we join in this heavenly chorus of powerful praise.
5. It is good to recognize the sovereignty of God in worship (Psalm 93). Doing so even when things do not turn out the way we would like them to will help keep us faithful to Him, and will be a blessing to us. Recognition of the sovereignty of God builds Christian maturity and strengthens our trust in Him.

What He Has Done

Secondly the Holy Scriptures have numerous passages where thanksgiving and praise to God for what He had done was part of their worship. Recalling what God has already done and worshiping Him for it reminds us that God will presently do a work according to His sovereign will. Some of the many things we can worship God for are as follows:

1. Salvation (Psalm 116:1-4): If we are truly saved, we ought to worship God with thanksgiving and praise for saving us. We can also thank Him that He is not willing anyone should perish in eternal damnation (2 Peter 3:9). And we ought to always thank Him for providing salvation through Christ.
2. His creation (Psalm 8, Psalm 136:1-9): Just remember to worship the Creator and not His creation!
3. Healing (Luke 17:15-19, Acts 3:1-9).
4. His grace and deliverance through trials (troubles): Psalm 18:17, Matthew 14:22-33.
5. Personal spiritual growth (Ephesians 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:3).
And, of course, the list can go on!

What He Will Do

Third, we ought to worship God for what He will do. By this, I certainly do not mean we decide how something will turn out and then worship Him for that expected end. But, instead, we should worship Him for what He will do as supreme sovereign. That will often be in the following two areas.

1. As Proclaimed By The Written Word Of God — There are many of these, including, but not limited to, the following: The return of Christ (James 5:7-8, Jude 14-15); the peace that will blanket the world during Christ’s millennial reign (Psalm 110, Isaiah 11:6-9, Revelation 20:4); a completely new earth wherein dwells righteousness (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1-7).

2. As Directed By The Holy Spirit Based Upon The Word Of God — What we sense might happen needs to be based upon the Word of God. In Exodus 4:31 the Jews in Egypt worshiped upon hearing that God would deliver them from that nation, in accordance with Joseph’s Holy Spirit directed prophecy (Genesis 50:25) and the revelation from God given unto Abraham recorded in Genesis 15:13-14. 

Here is an example. In the late 1980s we felt the call of God to start a church in Cambridge, MD. However, we were prevented by certain denominational authorities. We still felt in our hearts we were to go. God then confirmed this by three providential occurrences (you will learn about providence later). On the third occurrence I worshiped God for what He was about to do. About two or three days later we learned a higher church authority decided a church body more local to Cambridge would make the decision whether we should go. We arrived in 1990, God provided finances and work for housing and establishing a church, which occurred in 1992. The Scriptural basis, of course, was Matthew 28:19-20 among many others.

III. The Exclusive Focus of Worship

Worship only belongs to God, Who subsists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:10, Revelation 22:8-9). By the way, remember this is one way to show the deity of Christ because every time we see Christ is worshiped He accepts it. Contrast this with Acts 14:12-18 where Barnabas and Paul refused worship, and even had to restrain the people of Iconium. We also should be careful to focus upon God and not to any music we may be hearing.

IV. Expressions of Worship

There are a variety of ways to express our love to God, and it is never boring if you set your heart and mind to do it. Worshiping our Lord is always a wonderful, peaceful, strengthening and faith-building experience. Here are just some of the ways to express our worship to God.

A. Praise: Vocalize your love for Him (Psalm 63:3). Tell Him you love Him (Psalm. 116:1). Just under three weeks after committing to Christ, I went to a youth rally for the first time. Towards the end of the service I observed the worship and I remember one young man with blonde hair standing with his hands raised, tears rolling down his face, saying, "I love You Jesus!" I thought to myself, "That's the way it should be!"

B. Continually Quote Worship Passages Of Holy Scripture: Locate a passage in the Holy Bible that has praise to God, read it, then close your eyes and lovingly repeat the passage unto the Lord. I find certain passages easy to quote from memory since they have sort of a rhythm to them. You can also make up your own tune. Here are some passages (AV*):
Psalm 8:9— O Yahvah {D} our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
Isaiah 6:3b— Holy, holy, holy, is the Yahvah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Jude 25— To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Revelation 4:8d— Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Revelation 5:13g— Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

As you see from the contexts of Isaiah 6:3b and Revelation 4:8, worship sayings may be repetitive but, of course, we must mean what we are saying.

C. Sing: Do not worry if you sing off key. If it is from your heart then it is beautiful in the eyes of God (Psalm 9:1-2). You do not know the Gospel hymns, songs, and choruses? Make an effort to learn them as you attend church or listen to Christian music. Especially learn the Holy Scriptures that are set to music, like Matthew 6:33, Psalm 103:1, Revelation 4:11 and others. You can also make up your own song, or put your own tune to Holy Scriptures of worship.

D. Shout!: Psalms 35:27-28 and100:1 are just two of a number of passages that speak of shouting (in powerful reverence of course) unto God. Feel free to shout, "Hallelujah!," which means, "praise Yahvah!"

E. Lift Up Your Hands: {E} This act of love to God is seen in 1 Timothy 2:8 and throughout Holy Scripture by those who worship the true God. In my early years in Christ I had a problem with being overly self-conscious and would not raise my hands. However, in one chapel service at Northeast Bible Institute the Holy Spirit was moving upon the congregation. I thought I should lift my hands but I wondered what others would think. Then, I felt God say to me that I should not care what others think and that He was worthy. So, I did it. There may have been some others God was dealing with who were struggling with issues and did not lift their hands, but then they also raised their hands  because just after I raised my hands and worshiped, the Holy Spirit moved in a tremendous way upon the congregation of students.

F. Clap: Psalm 47:1 is one of a number of verses that show clapping unto God can be part of worship. It is also good at times to clap in accordance to the beat of music when such music is part of worshiping God. However, clapping in the sense of a response during entertainment should be avoided. It is always good to keep in mind we do not attend church to be entertained, but to worship God and edify others in Christ as directed by the Holy Spirit.

G. Dance: Dancing with joy unto the Lord, with or without music, is seen in a few passages of the Holy Bible (Exodus 15:20, Psalm 30:11, 149:3 et al.). It must be unlike worldly dancing where the music is the focus. God and His blessings must be the focus. Also, it is not like worldly dancing where one has a dancing partner. It is dancing of individuals before the Lord. I have seen a modern day “apostle” encourage people to dance with each other. There is no Holy Bible godly example of this.

Other forms include standing up (Nehemiah 9:5b), leaping or jumping  (Acts 3:1-8), using musical instruments (Psalm 43:4), serving the Lord (Romans 12:1), bowing down / kneeling (Psalm 95:6), and falling prostrate (Daniel 8:17),

V. The Sacredness of Worship

True worship of God means worshiping God. It is not focusing upon the music or even being mainly influenced by it, if there is any music. It is not focusing on, or being influenced by, others. Looking throughout the Holy Bible we see that true worship of God has a number of characteristics. We are to endeavor to worship with the following five characteristics.

1. Reverence (Psalm 89:7): As you can see from some of the above expressions of worship, to worship God with reverence does not mean we have to remain quiet, although there is a time and place for that. It does mean that we are to have a healthy, godly fear and respect along with a sense of how awesome God is. We should endeavor to do our best in worshiping. God is certainly worthy of it!

2. Holiness (Psalm 93:5, 29:2): There are times that you and I do not feel holy, but if we ask forgiveness through Jesus Christ, truly repent and walk in Him, He graciously makes us holy. We, with God's help, must root out everything that is displeasing to Him (1 John 3:1-3).

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” -- John 4:24

3. In Spirit (John 4:24): Given the context, “spirit" here is not human emotion. First, I would say, Christ speaks of the Holy Spirit. Some Pentecostals might say this means you need to speak in tongues but there is ample proof in the New Testament this is not so {F}.

Generally, our worship is to be directed by the Spirit Himself. Note that in Revelation 1:10-12 John was "in the Spirit." Verse 12 points out that he started to turn to see who was speaking to him and note the middle part of 12 (AV, KJV), " ...and being turned." The actual Greek shows that this turning went from active on John's part to that of passive on John's part. John started turning on his own, but then the Holy Spirit joined in.

Another aspect “must worship in spirit" means our spirit. We are comprised of body, soul and spirit. True worship flows from our spirit even when our own soul and / or body is not in the mood. God is a spirit, and so are we {G}. Out of love for God and in obedience to His Word there will be times we will have to make ourselves worship God. Within the Church Age this a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15, Psalm 50:13-15 and 54:6, Jeremiah 33:11). As you make yourself praise God, after some time you will feel His presence, and you will gain spiritual strength.

There have been actual cases in our time of Christians who were suffering from a disease who, at some point, got immersed in worship and praise unto God and they were healed!

Another thing to remember is that Psalm 22:3 points out that God inhabits (or according to the Jewish Publication Society, is “enthroned upon”) the praise of Israel. This continues today as true Christians worship Him.  On the other side of this, who might inhabit our complaints and grumbling?

4. In Truth (John 4:24): Some would have us think that we would need to belong to their particular religious group to meet this requirement, but let us keep in mind that Jesus Christ said the He is the Truth (John 14:6), the Word is Truth (John 17:17-19), and the Holy Spirit will guide us into all Truth (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27). You will do well to underline those passages in your Holy Bible.

If we are truly saved then we are in the Truth and the Truth is in us (1 John 3:24, 4:13).  Also read John 15:1-17. Being in a particular denomination does not mean you are in the Truth. Actually being in Christ means you are in the Truth.

“In truth” would include a clear conscience in that we have nothing on our part that would bring displeasure to the Lord, and if there is something that would bring displeasure we ought to take care of it as directed by His Spirit. It would also include our motives. For example, we should not worship in order to "show off" (Psalm 119:7).

5. With Discernment: While there is the gift of discerning of spirits mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10, each true Christian has a level of discernment {H} (1 Corinthians 2:14). In aligning our will with His will, we will develop the mind of Christ (Romans 12:1-2) from which we will be able to "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." In so doing, you will consider that true worship is to honor and glorify God.

While it is fine that Christian music has beat and rhythm to it, the beat and rhythm should never be the focus nor should we seek to gratify the flesh. If we clap, tap our foot, dance or whatever, we should come to the point in our Christian walk where it is the Holy Spirit initiating and directing our movements and not the beat.

Additionally, keep in mind that when we sing, it is often poetry set to music. Sometimes poetical writings as such do not measure up to the Truth of God's Word. Some things we should not sing and some things we may sing keeping in mind that what we are singing might not line up with the word of God, or encourage us to assume things that should not be assumed. We Three Kings is not accurate in that the Holy Bible never said the magi consisted of three men. This is assumed because three gifts are mentioned, however, it could have been five men bringing three types of gifts. When we sing Trust And Obey I eliminate the verse that contains “. . . not a frown or a cross, . . .” because it sounds like it contradicts the words of Christ when He said “take up your cross”. Many do not know the author’s intent behind “. . . not a cross . . .” although the context of it shows it to a degree.

The children's song, "Father Abraham," assumes every child participating is a true Christian: "Father Abraham, had many sons. Many sons had father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you, so let's just praise the Lord." Unless a teacher explains a few things the children singing that song have now placed in their minds that they are sons of Abraham, insinuating they are saved. This is too close to the error of automatic universal salvation {I} and puts an unsaved child in a state of mind thinking that they do not need to make a commitment to Christ. It could also encourage a child to think that they are saved because they go to church.

There are many more songs than these that do not match the Word of God, or imply something untrue about it. Always remember that the Holy Bible is the truth, not a Christian song. Some must be modified, and some should not be sung at all.

Basic Elements Of Christianity (BEC)

Click here to take a quiz on this lesson and for other options in the free online course Basic Elements Of Christianity (BEC). We plan to have the quiz link available at the time of the publication of this article or by June 4, 2018.


{A} Used in the proper traditional sensible sense, denoting all people, male and female. I could not care less about being politically correct.

{B} Review the information in the article “Who God Is” at https://newsandsociety.expertscolumn.com/who-god-is .

{C} Spiritual warfare may be described as what we read in Ephesians 6:10-12, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Please read Ephesians 6:10-18 for important details in this facet of your Christian walk.

{D} A probable rendering of the divine Name expressed in Hebrew as the tetragrammaton YHVH or perhaps YHWH when the Hebrew letters are transliterated into English letters. Other possible renderings include Yahveh and Jehovah. You can spot the divine Name in many Authorized Version based versions, and in a number of other versions and translations, when you see “LORD” in a verse.

{E} Image/s of people lifting hands in worship may be viewed at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/I/BEC_i00.html#LiftingHands .

{F} Read Nine Fallacies About Speaking In Tongues at http://thesureword.expertscolumn.com/article/nine-fallacies-about-speaking-tongues for Holy Bible facts on this point and other points.

{G} Here is an image to illustrate what was said:  http://www.sapphirestreams.com/I/BEC_i00.html#Spirit2spirit .

{H} Discernment: From Strong's, "1.) to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals 2) to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy"

{I} The erroneous teaching that all people are automatically redeemed and have been made worthy of Eternal Life. However, the Holy Bible is clear that while salvation is offered to all, each individual has to make their own true commitment to Christ in order to inherit Eternal Life.

{1} Wilson, William: "Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies" (MacDonald Publishing: McLean, VA;) p490

{2} Wilson p322 

This article is part of a series of lessons on Basic Elements Of Christianity (BEC). The non-online lesson is simply titled “Worship". Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding “(The Existing One)” to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.

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