What is Worship?

Whether you know it or not, you have been constantly worshiping every day for the past week, even in your weekly routine. The question is, have you worshiped in truth, in a way that actually glorifies and honors the living God? Have you ever worshiped in truth? I’d like to help you to ensure that you do that for your everlasting joy.

In the book of Exodus, God commands His people: “you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).

Christian pastor and musician Shai Linne preached an edifying and encouraging sermon on this verse in October 2013 at Del Ray Baptist Church.

I’ve included below a few highlights from that sermon. I pray that this is helpful in at least two ways:
(1) to reveal how we may be disobeying God’s command to worship Him only, and
(2) to lead us to repentance and true worship.

Worship in some form is behind all the activity that we see in the world today, from politics to the arts, from entertainment to athletics, from the marketplace to academia, from fashion runways to the street corner. This world is fueled and empowered by worship.
Now it’s not always a conscious thing, but it’s a very real thing. Let’s make it personal.
At the root of the sin that you struggle with this morning, it’s a worship issue.
At the root of the fear that grips you on a regular basis, it’s a worship issue.
At the root of the conflict in your marriage,
At the root of your anger at your boss,
At the root of your anxiety over finances,
At the root of your preoccupation with your looks,
At the root of your desire to be in control,
Is an issue of worship.

To worship is to ascribe value. That’s where the word comes from. The old English word, literally “worth ship”. It’s what we ascribe worth to, what we love, what we prize, what we value.

You don’t have to be religious to break this command to not worship other gods.
To the person who would say, ‘I’m not religious,’ the Bible would say, ‘You may not be religious, but you are absolutely a worshipper.’ There are all kinds of gods out there for the non-religious person. The most common of them would be the god of self. Let’s call it Selfism. The worship services for Selfism are held 24/7 at a mirror near you. . . . Selfism has an altar on which untold numbers of the unborn are sacrificed.

[In Exodus 34:6,] it says, slow to anger. It doesn’t say, He doesn’t have any anger. And that anger that’s being spoken of is the glorious perfection of the wrath of God. The wrath of God, just like His jealousy, is not something for Christians to be embarrassed about or ashamed of; it is one of His perfections for which He should be adored. He does have wrath, and He will execute that wrath. The only question is: Was His wrath satisfied for you in Christ on the cross, or will it be satisfied throughout all eternity in hell?

On the brink of eternity, I’m thankful for repentant brothers like Shai who speak earnestly. I pray that we would, like the apostle Paul, “suffer the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that we may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

As J.C. Ryle put it, “In the resurrection morning, this, I believe, will surprise us most: that we did not love Christ more before we died.”

Here’s a link to where you can find the full sermon.


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