OceanSide church of Christ

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What Constitutes Worship?
by: Dalton Gilreath

I.              Worship as defined by John

A.   God desires Christians who will worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)

                                          i.    Rocks do not worship God nor do animals

                                        ii.    In order to receive worship it must come from man

B.   Worship must have an object of worship

                                          i.    This could be anything but needs to be God (Ex 34:14, Luke 4:8)

                                        ii.    We can put others before God and “worship” them in a sense

1.    People or things can become our idols today

2.    We worship them almost like the centurion did Peter (Acts 10:25-26)

C.   Worship must be in spirit and truth

                                          i.    When we worship God with the five acts of worship but do not do so from the heart, our worship is vain (Matt 15:8)

                                        ii.    When we worship God from the heart but do not do according to His will it is also in vain (Matt 15:9)

1.    This is “will worship” as we put our will before God’s (Col 2:23)

2.    Nadab and Abihu learned this lesson the hard way (Lev 10:1-2)

II.            There Are Two Extreme Mindsets

A.   Everything I do is worship

                                          i.    This comes from a misunderstanding of Romans 12:1

1.    The word used is Latreuo which means “divine service” (Heb 8:5)

2.    This word can mean worship, but usually does not (Acts 7:42)

                                        ii.    Romans 12:1 says that we are to serve God every day not worship every day

                                       iii.    The word proskuneo, “divine worship”, was not used

1.    This is the phrase referring to our worship (Matt 4:10)

2.    Furthermore, we see both Latreuo and Proskuneo used together as being two separate things (Rom 1:25)

                                       iv.    There are four characteristics of worship that further show not every we do is worship

1.    Worship has a start time (2 Chr 29:27-29, Matt 28:9)

2.    Worship has an end time (Luke 24:52)

3.    Worship has a when (John 12:20)

4.    Worship has a where (Gen 22:5, Acts 8:27)

B.   Only Sunday assemblies are worship

                                          i.    This mindset believes nothing we do outside of Sunday assemblies can ever be worship to God

1.    Did Satan expect Jesus to sing, pray, study, etc to him in Matthew 4:9?

2.    Did Cornelius attempt to do the same to Peter in Acts 10:25?

                                        ii.    Worship occurs anytime I participate in an act of worship in spirit and truth

1.    This means when I pray (Gen 24:26-27)

2.    This means when I sing at a devotional (Acts 16:25)

3.    This means when I open God’s word and study (Neh 8:2-6)

4.    The Lord’s Supper and giving are both instituted solely as being used on the Lord’s Day and so they would be an exception

5.    However, prayer, singing, and study can certainly be done other days of the week as worship to God as well

III.           Conclusion

A.   Not everything I do is worship

B.   I can worship anytime I participate in an act of worship in spirit and truth (Note: this does not replace Sunday corporate worship – John 20:19, 26)

C.   The laws of worship apply anytime I participate in these acts

                                          i.    In other words, I can’t be using a piano when I sing hymns with my family at home

                                        ii.    Women cannot lead “Bible Study” on Wednesday night

                                       iii.    Non-Christians cannot lead prayers at a teen devotional

D.   While there is nothing wrong with calling Wednesday night a Bible class, or a home activity a devotional, which contrasts it with Sunday worship, we must not conclude that the laws of worship do not apply