What Is True Worship?
Updated: Jun 3, 2020
This blog exists to help us grow as true worshipers of the Lord Jesus Christ. So it's time to start digging deep as I do believe we are in an age when the American Church needs a #WorshipReformation. Only the Holy Spirit can do the work, but it's time to partner with Him as we learn from the Scriptures and follow His leading.
We recall what Jesus says to the woman at the well, "A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
"God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).
This passage is so important. It's exciting! It's life-changing, or at least I think it's supposed to be.
Jesus just revealed to us his disciples what our Father is seeking. Our Father seeks true worshipers! Not just any kind of worshiper; true worshipers.
When church leaders get together and try to decide what we should focus on as believers and as congregations, in 15 years of being involved in leadership discussions, very few leaders ever go to this passage in the book of John which is so explicit, personal and transparent.
When we consider our church priorities, we're ready to go "do." We're ready to go make disciples, to take care of the needy, to craft our next youth event or register people for an upcoming class. All wonderful things. But we so quickly lose sight of the number one priority. Or, even if we think we're getting worshipers in the door, we're forgetting about the kind of worshipers the Lord seeks. Perhaps the work of discipling true worshipers in spirit and in truth would be too hard and might cost us some attendance numbers. Here's the reality: we don't want to touch a valuable marketing tool like worship music to really disciple true worshipers. We'd rather use worship music to bring people in the doors than to pursue true worship. That's the seeker-sensitive model of the American church and it's a huge business in America. But what is the Father really seeking?
Many churches subscribe to the Westminster Confession. It asks the question of priorities right at the beginning:
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. - Westminster Confession Q & A #1
We're to give our whole being and life for the Lord, to the Lord - to simply be focused on Him, to glorify Him, to enjoy Him! It's what believers in the 1600's concluded, and it's what many Christians today say they believe...but most likely have never read the confession to which they subscribe. Does this fit with what we learn in the scriptures?
Think about what Jesus was saying to the woman at the well. It's the same thing. Our Father wants us to BE something. He wants us to be true worshipers! Of all the things we could focus on, the Lord is after our love and our lives for Him! He's after a "proskuneo people." It's the Greek word for "worship."
"Proskuneo" means that we prostrate ourselves completely before the Lord and His will. We daily lay our wills and selves face down in a posture of complete submission and love to the Lord.
The Lord is looking for people who will lay down their lives for Him. And because we all fall under Jesus our Head, we fall down in worship and living surrender #alltogether. We #worshiptogether! Because when we love the Lord, we also love His people. Then, only then, let's go serve and "do" all the work!
First, let's be true worshipers of the Lord!
Think of where we're at today in America. As Christians, how can we expect the world to come together when we ourselves won't even worship the Lord together? We're not worshiping in the Spirit, so we fall into hypocrisy. We make our worship about Jesus + a certain style or a certain look, a certain person, etc. It's not really #InChristAlone if we're honest with ourselves.
But we can have a #WorshipReformation through a work of the Holy Spirit!
Here's the exciting, all-out, #together worship God's people gave to Him in Nehemiah's day after Jerusalem was rebuilt. Nehemiah 12:43 says "And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away."
Check out how Radical pastor David Platt describes worship desired by the Lord from this Nehemiah passage. It's a quick 5 minutes.
Isn't that the kind of worship we want to strive for and labor hard for every week? Because of the goodness and greatness of our God toward ALL of us?
Pray for and get a picture of a #WorshipReformation that the Lord so desperately deserves from His Bride. Pray for worship that is focused on the Lord, led by Him, done in Spirit and in truth, #alltogether! We'll talk about Worship in the book of Revelation too at some point. And also how we can very simply, visually have a picture of priorities.
Here are some specific Prayer Requests:
Pray the Bride begins to look at the Scriptures for its understanding of corporate worship. Yes, knowing the Scriptures is vital, especially when they confront us.
Pray that our leaders will have courage to pursue Biblical worship rather than worship that is crafted and marketed to appeal to the unbeliever. I didn't see that approach from Jesus or in Nehemiah's day. Why would we think it's the correct approach now? Certainly we are cognizant and hospitable toward unbelievers but worship should be from us as believers to our God, not for unbelievers.
Pray that individuals within the Body would see that their desires for worship are more focused on what they get out of the music rather than on the Lord and with love for His people. It's an enormous blind spot in many of us. Love of God and Love for one another go hand in hand. Our personal desires are not prioritized when we consider what it means to be true worshipers in spirit and in truth. Why are we prioritizing them and letting personal desires ruin other people's genuine worship and ruin other believers and families? Yes, it's what happens.
Pray also that each of us has the courage to stand up to help the Church prioritize worship of the Lord, for the glory of His name. It takes boldness and conviction in our marketing-driven, evangelical American culture. The Lord can raise up leaders for a #WorshipReformation. Such boldness does cost us jobs, positions of influence and our personal satisfactions.
The question might be: "Why is this important?"
Because the Lord is seeking true worshipers and if we don't labor for this also, we're not sharing the complete gospel.
My own kids see the bride of Christ often pursuing fleshly things. They see a weakening witness for the Lord in the church. I've seen spiritual fruit from people saying they love the Lord and love others completely spoil when they're asked to worship the Lord with music they don't prefer. At that moment, gospel leadership should compel us to get to the heart of the matter, and for our leadership to support deep discipleship of true worship. Corporate worship is not about us. It's about blessing our God for who He is and what He does alongside the rest of His people.
So, let's press forward to BE worshipers in spirit and in truth. Maybe the sound and reality of that worship would be heard outside the walls of Jerusalem by a world needing to hear the sound of a powerful, transforming, loving Gospel led by our loving and merciful Lord Jesus! Jesus' ways are very different than the world. His ways are Good! They might be hard, but the blessings are rich! I've seen the blessings! They're radiant and so lovely! And so appealing!
True worship is a personal and corporate submission to the being and work of our Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Hallelujah, Lord, for You are so worthy of our lives, our trust, our true Proskuneo Worship!
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for who you are! You are Holy, Righteous, Good, our Life, our Joy, our Peace, our Way Maker and Miracle Worker! You are our Savior and our Lord! Forgive us when we've made worship into our own event and unto ourselves. Change us more and more to become true worshipers in spirit and in truth. You are faithful in your love and presence amongst your people. You never fail to keep your church for yourself and for your glory! We ask you to reform us from the inside out in Jesus' Name and for your glory! Give us courage to be obedient and faithful to you! - Amen.
If you desire to know more about trusting Jesus with your life, there are testimonies and resources at www.TrustInJesusMinistries.com.
If you'd like to continue to "Worship Jesus at the Threshold of Glory" with us, please subscribe below. Facebook is not allowing me to share this, so I trust the Lord will do what He wills with this to help us grow in worship of Him.
In full surrender to the Lord, with love for His people, knowing He's our Way Maker, Miracle Worker!