What is Worship?

Worship is our response to all God is and all He has done. Worship happens when we focus our heart’s affection and our mind’s attention on God. It is more than just a one-hour event. Real worship is a lifestyle that happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Principle: Spiritual gifts in worship are for the purpose of building up the church, not for individual fulfillment.

Acts 14:26-33a

What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace

Picture what it must have been like in this church: To the guest, the services were hardly more than an uproar of mumbo jumbo and gibberish. Everyone was talking and doing their own thing—all at the same time. Pride, puffiness, self-centeredness, super-spirituality, and division prevailed instead of love, respect, humility, unity, and edification. Decency and orderliness were totally lacking.

Paul reminds us that God is a God of peace. So, there should be a sense of peace in our worship that includes peace between those who are gathered for worship.

We have freedom to worship, but we don’t have chaos and confusion.

Principle: Disorderly worship does not build up the church or present a good witness to the gospel.

Application: Our worship must be orderly.

Ephesians 5:19 – Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

We are accountable to each other when we worship together:

5 Accountabilities in Worship

Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

  1. We are accountable to God’s Word.
  2. We are accountable to other believers around the world.
  3. We are accountable to the Lord’s Command.
  4. We are accountable for the gifts we have been given.
  5. We are accountable to order.

Many of us live chaotic lives. Take a look at where you work, your home, or your car. If you keep all of those things in order all the time, you are an unusual person. Now imagine how worship would be if our worship services were as out of order as these parts of your life. What would we accomplish in worship? What good would come of it? Chaotic worship soon becomes no worship at all. That’s why Paul insisted that whatever we do in worship must be done in an orderly way.

Paul taught that worship must not only be directed toward God; it must also be “corporately aware.” That is, we do not worship as individuals, but as a church. Corporate or “congregational” worship should build up our unity in Jesus.

Even if we enjoy worship, sing loud, give thanks, and feel personally fulfilled, our worship may still fail to please God. Singing the songs with everyone else and listening to sermons with everyone else are not enough to make worship “corporate.” We can do these things without interacting with another person or without thinking about the unity the body shares in Jesus. We can do these things without helping anyone else in the body. Worship must have an awareness that the church is the body of Christ and that people participate in corporate worship because they belong to that body. Our worship must be directed not only to praising and honoring God, but toward building up and honoring the church and its members.

Most of us need a major renovation of our concept of worship. We determine whether a worship service was “good” on the basis of our enjoyment of it. We even pick the church we will join on the basis of whether the worship meets our needs. This concern for meeting our needs is not totally wrong, but focusing on meeting our needs is not enough for believers. Worship is good if it builds up the church as a whole by benefiting the individual members and uniting them with one another.