God created the universe to display his glory and made us to commune with him in worship. Therefore, God’s glory is the aim of worship. When we gather together on Sundays, we are there to hear from the living God and to receive from him grace upon grace. When you visit us, you’ll see our worship is, to borrow a term, “traditional.” We are not seeking to conform to a particular style. Instead, our worship expresses our belief that Scripture is God’s Word. The Bible teaches us how God wants to be worshiped. Therefore, worship is not about appealing to man’s senses. It is not primarily about an experience. Worship enriches the believer when he humbly offers to God what God has prescribed in his Word for his own glory.
The Nature of Worship – Spiritual Simplicity
In John 4, Jesus spoke with a Samaritan woman. He told her “the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23). God is seeking true worshipers. How are they identified? They worship him in spirit. This means worship is primarily a spiritual activity. God is a spirit and we worship him in spirit. Worship is not a fleshly exercise, but comes from the heart. We do not need a specific location or extravagant external materials like candles, images, or lights to facilitate true worship. In fact, more often these things distract from true worship. What we need instead is the beauty of simplicity. A room filled with God’s people listening to his word and lifting their voices while accompanied by a piano or guitar is fitting worship for our Savior.
The Content of Worship – Truth
Jesus also commented on the content of worship. He told the Samaritan woman, “You worship what you do not know” (John 4:21). Those who worship God must know him. Therefore, worship is an activity for believers and isn’t intended as a means to attract non-believers. God accepts worship that is according to his Word. We read, preach, pray, and sing the Scriptures to the glory of God and good of his people.
The Attitude of Worship – Reverence and Awe
The writer to the Hebrews describes the attitude God’s people must adorn when they gather for his worship. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29). God accepts our worship when we approach him reverently and in awe. This means we don’t take worship for granted. Rather, we always come recognizing we may only do so through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, which takes away our guilt. The worshiper must also have a sense of awe or fear before God. God is holy and has said, “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3).