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The Purpose of Worship: Praising God or Entertaining Ourselves?

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

The way many churches worship has seen drastic and dramatic changes over the past few decades. People from the past would be hard pressed to even recognize what many churches do today as being worship. What’s happened? Are these changes good, natural, and to be expected as culture and society evolves? Or are these practices a digression from a biblical standard? Is there a biblical standard for worship in the first place? Many never even consider this question.

Joh 4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Jesus speaks of “true worshipers.” If there are true worshipers, then there must be false worshipers. If there are false worshipers, then there must be false worship. And if there is such a thing as false worship there must be a standard for true worship.

True worshipers worship the Father in spirit. In spirit refers to the heart of the worshiper, their worship isn’t empty or heartless. Rom 12:11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

True worshipers worship the Father in truth. Truth is what is real and spoken by God in his word. And the truth of God’s word tells us how we are to worship, not only the specific things we are to do, but also about the focus and the reverence we should have in worshiping our creator.

Heb 12:28 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,

The Bible speaks of acceptable worship. That means that not all worship is acceptable. What about the kind of worship we see many churches offering today, is it acceptable?

Here are five reasons some worship is not acceptable:

1. When worship is focused on entertaining people instead of praising God.

2. When worship revolves around rock musicians, stage performance, and celebrity preachers rather than Jesus Christ.

3. When worship involves applause for performance rather than saying amen to God’s word being proclaimed.

4. When worship adds or subtracts activities and elements from what God’s word teaches (such as musical instruments and dancing) rather than remaining faithful to God’s will for worship. Worship is not a free-for-all, where we do whatever we please. Without scriptural authority for an activity, we shouldn’t do it.

5. When worship is preoccupied with people’s emotions, experiences, and excitement and not with people being admonished and encouraged in the Lord. 1Th 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

Often today, people feel that if they are emotionally simulated by their worship, then it must be right. This thinking assumes that God’s will is for us simply to feel good and be happy and to do whatever it takes to make it so. The Bible reveals however, that the focus of our worship should be the praise and glory of God, and we must learn to be stimulated, happy, and fulfilled when this is accomplished, not when we have things done our own way.

Luk 4:8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

-Derek Chambers



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