PRAISE AND WORSHIP
Anita Clark, Pastor, Carbondale, KS
“The woman saith unto Him, Sir, I perceive that You are a Prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain worship, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” John 4:19-24.
In verse 22 where Jesus told the woman, “Ye worship you know not what,” it shows her ignorance of who should be worshiped. Jesus said the Jews worshiped God Whom they had knowledge of and understood. Many religious people today are claiming to worship, but have no idea whom they are worshiping or what they are worshiping. Jesus said that there would come a time when the “true worshipers” would worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth (reality). There is much false worship in many religious places today. God is seeking true worshipers.
In Exodus 20:3-5, the Lord declares His desire and commands worship that is acceptable to Him, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” We are not to worship literal images and false gods, but how about other things we may worship. When we put other things before God in our lives, we are worshiping those things. Think about it.
As John 4:24 says, “God is seeking worshipers who worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” The word “worship” in the Greek means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand, to fawn (exhibit attention and affection and attempt to please), crouch to, prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore).” This word “worship” in the English language means “ reverence, to give homage, adoration, honor, celebration, extol, revere, exaltation, glorify, or deify.” In many places the Bible states that no one or nothing else is to receive this reverence except God.
What does it mean to “ worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.” I believe that Jesus was referring to the new life of Christ within us, and the Holy Spirit, not in fleshly, carnal or formal ways. There is much worship (so called) which is false, not Scriptural and so is not true worship, but truly a manifestation of the flesh, the religious carnal nature. This kind brings glory to man and not God. Not all worship is in “Truth.” Some so called worship is only pretense or hypocrisy, pretending to be pius, and spiritual and worship of God. Christ is the “Way the Truth and the Life.” Study of the Word of God brings more enlightenment and Truth.
Psalms 145:1-7 expresses what real worship of God is. “I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever. Everyday will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honor of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts: and I will declare Thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness.”
Who should praise & worship the Lord? “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down in silence, But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore” Ps. 115:17,18. The “we” is referring to those who believe.
Where should we praise and worship? “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord” Ps. 134:2. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” I Thess. 5:18. Where ever I am - Whatever I’m doing - or not doing - I can worship - In my car - At home - In the Church meeting.
Why should we praise and worship Him? Because of a peaceful worshipful heart, showing that we are grateful for all the marvelous things that He has provided for us, and because of Who He is. I heard one time, that sometimes it almost seems we can’t praise Him while we are in a terrible trial, but we can worship and praise Him for Who He is and what He has done for us.
When should we worship? We should worship Him - “forever and ever” and “everyday” Ps. 145:1, 2. “...in the night seasons” Ps. 16:7.
How should we worship? With all our being, heart, and strength. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy might.”
Remember Mary of Bethany in John 11:3. She bought a “pound of spikenard, very costly, and anointed Jesus feet.” The house was filled with the odor of the sweet smell. Her estimation of Jesus’ worth was very high. Her worship of Him was a great sacrifice. Judas, the one who would betray Jesus, thinking that this was a waste to pour out this costly ointment on Jesus’ feet, said, “Why was not this ointment sold and the money given to the poor?” It says this was because he held the money bag for the expenses of the group and he was a thief.
Posture of Worship -”O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker” Ps. 95:6. “And so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth” I Cor. 14:25. “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands...” I Tim. 2:8. “Job arose, and rent his mantle and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped” Job. 1:20. “When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in night watches” Ps. 63:6. All of these Scripture verses show us that God can be worshiped in many different positions and places. He is worthy of our adoration, and we need to learn to voice our praises to Him. “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” Heb. 13:15.