Some Key Biblical Parameters
When we talk about worship, we are talking about something we all intrinsically understand. We worship by nature. Even if it is a worship of self, money, the world or a devil, we all worship something or someone. Our hearts are idol factories as John Calvin put it. We all place something high and above so that we may bow low and render worship. Worship is second nature.
When you look at the biblical vocabulary for worship in the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament, the idea is to kneel or prostrate ourselves before something greater. We count the one worshipped as worthy of our honor and deserving our service. We regard the person or thing as respected and adored.
Scriptural worship adheres to certain principles.
Our focus is meant to be God alone: God alone, our creator, the only God of the universe is alone worthy of our worship. (Ex 20:2-6)
We are to love Him alone: He is worthy of all of us--our hearts, minds, and souls. Worship has outward manifestations but has to come from the heart. (Matthew 22:37, Isaiah 29:13. 1Samuel 7:3)
Worship ascribes and declares God’s glory and deeds: The focus of worship is declaring all of God’s goodness in terms of who He is and what he has done but especially in gratitude for His salvation. (1Chr 16:23-31)
Worship is connected to sacrifice: The Old Testament sacrificial system was a manner of worship wherein God’s people rendered to God a right service by bringing offerings to Him. In the NT, Christ is our offering, but we respond by bringing our whole self to Him. (Romans 12:1-2)
Worship ought to fill us with great joy: Psalm 100 and many worship passages like it tie worship to exuberant joy. Worship is a natural response of the heart to all of God’s goodness and grace.
We worship Him in Spirit and Truth: Gospel worship is not tied to a place but to the right worship of God by those who believe the truth of the Gospel and are indwelt by His Spirit. It is not mere external worship but a spiritually real worship offered by those who know Him. (John 4:24)
We worship out of the Gospel: As believers, our salvation comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him alone. All we have, all we will ever have in fellowship with the eternal God, comes to us because of the good news. Worship for the believer is really a response to God and His grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Luke 10:20, Rev 5:8-14)
Worship could be summed up as the right and joyous response of the hearts of God’s people to the goodness of God. That goodness includes the infinite perfections of His being and his wondrous saving works especially in the gospel of His Son. Such worship excludes all other claimants and demands all of our love, devotion, and adoration.