“The Lamb is worthy – the Lamb who was slain. He is worthy to receive the power, and the riches, and the wisdom, and the strength, and the honor, and the glory, and the blessing.” In these beautiful words from Revelation 5:12-13 we see a powerful example of worship. These inspired words are filled with wonder as they describe the reality of Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches us how to worship and lift up the name of God so our lives can be changed through it. In John 4:23 we see that God is the one who seeks and draws us into worship. Worship is our human response to God’s divine initiative.
When they think of worship, some people think of singing, attending church services or praying. These are certainly beautiful expressions of worship, but it goes beyond that. Worship is what our lives ought to be – a dynamic, everlasting celebration of God. Our spiritual service of worship is ultimately giving ourselves to him gladly and sacrificially with each passing day – it is a lifestyle. This is our privilege, our purpose and our fulfillment.
Key passage: Romans 12:1-2
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
- Please share with the group what worship means to you. Discuss with one another what may be new to you about this topic, and what you have learned in the last few months or years.
- We just read that we ought to offer our bodies “as living sacrifices.” What do you understand that to mean?
- What does verse 2 of the passage add to your understanding of true worship?
- In your own words, what is the difference between attending worship and living in worship?
- How does regular fellowship with other believers help you worship God with new and fresh eagerness?
- When is it the hardest for you to concentrate on worshiping God?
- When I’m sick or hurting
- When bad things happen to me or someone I love
- When something really good is happening to me
- When I’m really busy
Have you found ways that help you remain focused on God?
How can worshiping Jesus transform lives of people around us? Have you seen any of that kind of change in the people with whom you have had contact?
In John 4:23 we read, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” How does God seek you, drawing you to worship him?
Because “God is spirit” (without material being), worship must be bound up with spiritual realities, not physical formalities. Consequently, true worship is not limited by time, place or ceremony. To worship in “truth” means to worship the true God, honestly, genuinely, and from the heart.”
—J. Carl Laney
There are many different ways, forms and traditions that may aid us in worshiping God. The New Testament does not tell us to follow a particular form for worship, other than to worship in spirit and truth. The forms Christians use today are not the worship, they simply help lead us into the worship. How do you see this happening in your congregation and in your personal worship?
The first commandment Jesus gives us is to worship God above all other things: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
Richard Foster makes the following statement about the priority of worship: “The divine priority is worship first, service second. Our lives are to be punctuated with praise, thanksgiving, and adoration. Service flows out of worship. Service as a substitute for worship is idolatry. One grave temptation we all face is to run around answering calls to service without ministering to the Lord himself.” Please discuss this concept.
Challenge for growth
- Look up some passages in the Bible that especially inspire you and deal with worshiping God (for example, Matthew 4:10, Romans 11:33-36, Psalms 116, 135, 138, 139 and 145). Sing some hymns or praise songs to God that especially move you.
- As you study these passages and sing those songs, use each as an opportunity for worship. For what can you praise God? What thanks can you offer him?
- Look at your life and ask yourself: What can lead me to adore him more today than I did yesterday?
- Restudy the key passage for this guide, Romans 12:1-2. What does worshiping God include and exclude? Ask yourself these questions: How am I hampering my life of worship by conforming to the world? How can I encourage my life of worship by renewing my mind?
- The Busy Christian’s Guide to Experiencing God More – William Watkins
- Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster
- The Spirit of the Disciplines – Dallas Willard
- In Search of Guidance – Dallas Willard
- Seeds of Hope – Henri Nouwen