What is true worship? It seems that in today's world we have made an industry out of worship. We have ‘worship' CDs and ‘worship' artists. Churches are looking to hire a ‘worship' pastor to lead the congregation in singing ‘worship' songs. But what is worship really about, and how does the bible define worship?
To understand what worship is, you need to understand the difference between ‘worship' and ‘praise'. Whenever we talk about music in the church we automatically classify it as being ‘praise and worship'. But if you look at what the Bible has to say about worship, it has nothing to do with music or style or denomination or any of those other things.
If you look at the term ‘praise' in the bible it is always referring to some sort of outward expression: lifting the hands, shouting, dancing, kneeling, singing, playing an instrument, etc. Praise is always tangible in some way. It is seen or heard. Worship, on the other hand, always refers to some form of sacrifice or humility.
In Genesis chapter 22, God told Abraham to go sacrifice his son, Isaac, and Abraham considered it to be worship unto God. Psalm 95 says, "Come, let us worship and bow down." Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, and that is considered our spiritual act of worship. In
Revelation we see the twenty-four elders falling down and worshipping the Father. The very definition of worship in both Old and New Testaments is literally to fall down, or to lower oneself. Worship is humility.
Now, let's look at what Jesus said in John chapter 4 and verse 24. "God is Spirit, and those that worship Him will worship in Spirit and in truth." What Jesus was actually saying there is that in order to worship God, you must come to Him in Spirit, just as He is Spirit. In the Old Covenant
there was absolutely no way to approach God. Man was completely separated from God because of sin. But because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, Hebrews chapter 4 says that we now have direct access to the Father, but we must first pass through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Only then will we have the Spirit that can have fellowship with God.