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True Worship Part 4

July 1, 2024, 12:00 AM

True Worship: Part 4

Revelation 22:8-9

Worship is an active response to God whereby we declare His worth. Worship is not passive, but is participative. Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response. Worship is not just a feeling; it is a declaration.1

When we reflect on worship and its purpose, we are reminded that God is worthy of worship and we are not. Even the apostle John had to be told that he shouldn’t worship any creature, not even a powerful angel in heaven. When he “fell down to worship” at the feet of the angel who showed his marvelous visions in heaven, the angel said to him, “You must not do that!...Worship God” (Revelation 22:8-9). And, why? Because God is jealous of His Own honor and He rightly seeks His Own honor. He says, “I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5). He says, “My glory will not give to another” (Isaiah 48:11). Something within us should tremble and rejoice at this fact. Tremble with fear so that we do not rob God’s glory from Him. Rejoice that it is right that God seek His own honor and be jealous of his own honor. For He is infinitely more than anything He has made – infinitely worthy of honor.

The 24 elders in heaven feel this reverence and joy, for they fall before God’s throne and cast their crowns before him singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11). It is only when we feel this absolute rightness of this deep within ourselves we then have the appropriate heart attitude for genuine worship. Not to call attention to ourselves, or bring glory to ourselves as if to say, “Look at me, I am worshipping!” But to call attention and bring glory to Him by saying, “Look at God, the one who is to be worshipped!” In Part 4 of this series True Worship, I give you 7 results of true worship.

1. We delight in God!  Extended praise gives us a foretaste of heaven. David confesses that the “one thing” that he will seek above all else is “that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). He also says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy, in your right hand are pleasures evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

2. God delights in us! As the creation glorifies God, He also takes delight in us – the created! Isaiah reminded the people, and reminds us, “You shall be my crown of beauty in the  hand of the Lord…you shall be called My delight is in her…for the Lord delights in you…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you...” (Isaiah 62:3-5) Zephaniah echoes the same thing: “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing…” (Zephaniah 3:17).

3. We draw near to God: the amazing unseen reality of new covenant worship. In the old covenant, believers could only draw near to God in a limited way, through the temple ceremonies (remember the common people could not even do that, and only the high priest could go into the inner ‘Holy of Holies’ once a year). Now under the new covenant, we as believers have the amazing privilege of being able to enter directly into the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19). Because we have the courage/confidence, the author of Hebrews encouraged us, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22). This is not simply practice for later on in heaven. Nor is this simply pretending or going through outward activities. This is genuine worship in the presence of God himself – and when we worship we enter before His throne (Hebrews 12:18-24).

4. God draws near to us. God will make His presence known whenever He is pleased with our praise offering. Psalm 22:3 says, “Yet you are holy, enthroned are the praises of Israel.”

5. God ministers to us! When we worship God, not only do we glorify Him, but we are built up – edified. To repeat Colossians 3:16, we are “…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Through genuine worship we can experience an intensification of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, who is at work constantly changing us into the likeness of Christ “from one degree of glory to another” (II Corinthians 3:18).

6. The Lord’s enemies flee! When the Moabites, Edomites, and Syrians came against Judah, King Jehoshaphat sent out the choir, praising God in front of the army! (II Chronicles 20:21-22) When we offer Him worship today, we can expect the Lord to battle against evil forces that oppose the Gospel and cause them to flee.

7. Unbelievers know they are in God’s presence! Paul’s concern in I Corinthians 14:23-25, and Acts 2:11 is that visitors understand what is going on! In worship, each of us should have the secrets of our hearts disclosed, so that we would then fall on our faces and “worship God and declare that God is really among us” (I Corinthians 14:25) And this worship, which is not primarily designed for evangelism, will show God’s face, and make evident that a change is required in our hearts!

A few final questions in this last installment of True Worship: Do you believe there is enough genuine worship in a typical week in your life? If not, what are the hindrances? How do you feel knowing that God is jealous of His own honor? Can you think of anything in the universe that would be more right(justified) than for God to seek His own honor? Can you think of anything, other than worshipping God, that would make you feel more deeply that you are doing the very thing for which you were created?

In Him

James


1 Ronald Allen & Gordon Borror, Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel (Eugene OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers., 1982), 16.