What is Worship?

I was asked the question, why is worship only 20 minutes at this church?

In thinking about the question, the problem with the question is what is assumed as worship.

What was meant as “worship” was the singing of songs during the church service. One can make an easy jump to concluded the this activity is worship because the musics being song is called “worship Music” to differentiate it from other styles of music. One might hear a person with the title of “worship leader” and assume that that person must lead the worship part of the service. One might also assume that when the said “worship leader” along with the “worship team” tells the gathered church “Let’s worship God” that sings along with the “worship leader” and “worship team” and band must be Worship. After didn’t Jesus tell us that worship is to gather and sing songs to and about him?

Um, no. Actually Jesus didn’t tell his disciple to stat a band and hold “Worship services”.

Jesus did give very clear instructions to his disciple on the night before he was crucified as how the church that Jesus had founded was to worship God correctly.

Jesus said “Do this…”

Let’s start with the word worship and look at the first time the word appears in the sacred text of the Bible. It starts with Abraham.

Notice that Abraham worshiped God without music or singing when he built and alter and sacrificed Isaac.

Genesis 22:5 (NIV)

[5] He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Genesis 22:9 (NIV)

[9] When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

This is the first time the word “worship” appears in scripture.

As we can see the word Worship has to do with sacrifice and not singing songs.

Musics in its proper usage supports worship but it is not worship and adds to the giving glory to God, but is not worship by and in its self.

In the New Testament Jesus gives us instructions as how worship is to be done.

Luke 22:19 (NIV)

[19] And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

The command of “Do this” is to the sacrifice of the body and blood.

Let’s break this idea of worship down with the following word association.

Worship = Sacrifice = Atonement for sins against God = Righteous from God through grace and the Glorification of Gods name= Restored relationship with God.

Jesus Didn’t tell his Disciples when you gather sing songs about me to worship me. He said “Do this in remembrance of me.”

The remembrances offerings is a memorial offering or a Friendship offering using bread.

John 6:53-58 (NIV)

[53] Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [54] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. [56] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. [57] Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. [58] This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”

And what does Jesus say about the offerings/worship? Eternal life is in the offering/worship.

John 6:53-58 (NIV)

[53] Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [54] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. [56] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. [57] Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. [58] This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”

The reason we think that worship is music is because we wrongly think that communion is nothing more than a symbol and has not supernatural component.

Therefore we equate the goosebumps we get while singing songs as the presence of the Holy Spirit and the approval of God.

Jesus clearly lays out the idea and method that Christian worship is still a sacrifice as was with Abraham and the Memorial offerings. but we have changed the idea of “Worship” to our sacrifice of praise in singing of songs instead of His sacrifice in the body and blood.

Even Paul supports the idea the communion or the eucharist is not a symbol but a supernatural event or a sacrament.

1 Corinthians 11:23-31 (NIV)

[23] For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, [24] and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” [25] In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” [26] For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

[27] Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. [28] A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. [29] For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. [30] That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. [31] But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.

1 Corinthians 10:16-18 (NIV)

[16] Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? [17] Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

[18] Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?

So to conclude we can say that music is good in that it supports the worship which is found in the sacrifice of Jesus. It can help prepare the Christian to participate in the body and blood of Jesus. But to call singing songs “Worship” is not what Jesus taught His disciple how to correctly worship God.

To return to the original question “why is worship only 20 minutes in this church?” I may answer what worship? I only witnessed singing for 20 minutes, 5 minutes of a announcements, 5 minutes of collecting money, and 30 minutes of preaching. I never saw any worship as prescribed by Jesus. I newer saw the part for worship that Jesus told us to do when we gather in his name.

This leaves us with the question, in our modern style of church service have we made the American evangelical church service more about us, for us, and to our liking, so to garner as many members as possible, than about the sacrifice and worship of God as prescribed by Jesus?

Will this question offend many in the self proclaimed worship? Maybe. Jesus had the same response and many left the ministry of Jesus when He told his Disciples this.

John 6:53-61 (NIV)

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?

Do this in remembrance of me…..

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