Dr. Henry B. Waiters: Worship done right
Worship done right is focused on the person and presence of God. It is the honor and praise we joyfully give to Him from a grateful heart. It is the act of paying divine honors to a deity: religious reverence and homage (high regard, respect, attesting to the worth or influence of). It is attributing to God that worth ship that is rightly due Him and that He forever deserves; admitting that He is worthy to receive more honor and praise than we have to offer. It is declaring the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, worthy of all honor and glory.
True worshippers: “Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, ‘But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.'” (John 4:23-24) True worshippers are privileged to worship God as Father in spirit and in truth. In Spirit seems to look back at Jerusalem and its worship in terms of the letter (law), whereas In Truth is in contrast to the inadequate and false worship of the Samaritans. This new kind of worship is imperative because God is Spirit, and In Spirit means to have that creative, life-giving power of God infused into the human form participating in worship. In Truth points to, and supports the claim, that this Divine Reality was being uniquely revealed in the ministry of Jesus (John 14:6, 17; 15:26; 16:13).
The worship of God is focused or centered on His wondrous works on behalf of His people (Psa. 103); His willingness to reside among His people (Exo. 25:8-22); His Word taught to His people (Psa. 148:2).
There are really only three types of worship as far as God is concerned: devil-centered, man-centered and God-centered. In the first two, worship goes awfully wrong (Isa. 1:11-15; Amos 5:21-24). Satan seeks men to worship him (Matt. 4:8-10). With Jesus he failed but his success rate with men is unimaginably high. False worship follows traditions and rituals taught by men. Traditions replace truth, rituals replace righteousness. The life does not match the profession (Matt. 15:1-9). True worship glorifies God: it’s all about him, not us (Psa. 42:1-5; Deut. 4:29; Rev. 4:8-11).
Worship done right is energized by the Holy Spirit, not the human spirit, and informed by God’s truth. It becomes spiritual first, then emotional worship and is the most fulfilling, satisfying, inspiring experience on earth. It is the main activity of heaven.
When worship is done right, there is private and public worship. Private worship is the secret to spiritual power and the source of personal godliness. “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High. To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning and thy faithfulness every night” (Psa. 92:1). Every day, in a private way, worship recognizes God’s daily faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23). Worship is the daily food of our souls (Exo. 16; John 6:30-40; I Pet. 2:1-4). Worship is the daily practice of Jesus, the secret of His power (Mark 1:35). Nothing ever happens in any community as important to the life of the community as the regularly scheduled worship service, which can be done right only if preceded by daily private worship.
The purpose of public worship is to bring all God’s people together in a chosen place to meet with Him so they can rejoice in His presence, praise Him, worship Him, glorify Him, receive pardon from Him, receive instructions from Him and to exalt Christ so that He Himself may do his own blessed work on the hearts of men. There is a great pleasure in a personal encounter with the risen Savior, Jesus Christ.
We are always to be on time; we will leave the back seats for latecomers; we will not settle ourselves in the end of the pew so that others will have to climb over us; we will be courteous, reverent, attentive and sympathetic. The motive must always be going to he church house for God and Christ, and not for self.
Life’s superfluities, too often, causes the mind to be preoccupied with many and varied thoughts and desires when we enter the sanctuary, that prevent us from focusing and concentrating our attention on the most urgent and important issue: I am in God’s house, and He is present with me. Since our minds are prone to wander and this preoccupation exists, preparation for worship is prerequisite to worship. It is necessary to prepare for worship each time we enter for worship. When we come into God’s presence we must ask Him to prepare us for a joyful worship experience. Preparation is taught, learned, then practiced. This you will learn to do silently, meditatively and orderly, unless there is an overwhelming experience. Once the A.C.T.S. of preparation are learned, only four minutes or more before the scheduled worship hour are required for the individual, who takes their seat and begins communicating God instead of their neighbor.
The A.C.T.S. of preparation are:
- Adoration. Worship, tell God who you think He is according to the Scriptures, then tell Him all the things you can think about Him. Adore Him, ascribe the worth ship to Him and the credit that is due Him.
- Confession: In light of who He is, we will always find things that we need to ask forgiveness for. Confess your findings to Him.
- Thanksgiving: Now let your heart be thankful and count your blessings and tell the Lord all the things you can number that He has done for you.
- Supplication: Now you ask God for those things your heart desires, those things He wills for you. In supplication you become a supplicant, a petitioner a beseecher. You supplicate, you ask God in a very humble way to do or give something that is needed. A learned experience, correctly done, becomes a lifetime experience.
In worship, every born again believer is a participant. There is a human contribution in worship. The contribution is a recognition that man’s response to God must be a total response that extends over the whole range of existence. The human contribution has at times produced undesired results; worship may come to be prized for itself, as an aesthetic enjoyment. Worse still, it may degenerate into an idolatry. We know that idolatry is the basic sin, and the temptation to it is never far away. Worship becomes idolatrous when it is no longer a response to the Divine initiative but has become the projection of human achievements and self-centered aspirations. The effects of this kind of worship can be unrewarding, unfulfilling disappointing and distorting for those who engage in it.
Dr. Waiters can be reached at 704-636-3369.