What is worship?
A friend of mine posed this question some time ago in a cell group meeting.
It was hard for me to define what worship was. I could think of many different ways to worship but I couldn't finish the sentence, "Worship is..."
I think it was the same with most of us who were there. Many of us knew worship descriptively, that is, we knew when we were worshipping. We know we are worshipping when we live under God's rule in Christ, we know we are worshipping when we sing songs to Him out of the joy He gives us, we know we are worshipping when we praying an honest prayer of adoration that He only deserves, and so on.
After that night of cell meeting, I thought about the nature of worship a bit more and especially in connection with the gospel. Here are two of my findings.
1) One must know and believe the gospel before he can worship God.
Why? Because without knowing Jesus and belonging to Him, one can never worship God in a way that God will accept. All that come from ourselves when we are not yet Christians are nothing but a filthy and stinking garbage heap, offensive to God. In addition, even if we could offer a pure worthip to God, we wouldn't have offered to Him, until we were awakened by the Spirit of God, who enables us to see the glory of Christ.
Hence, unless one hears and comes to know Jesus, and throws himself to the Judge who can forgive him, and indeed be transformed to love Him from the heart, he can never worship God.
2) Conversely, the fact that one can worship God is the gospel.
Men and women are created in image of God, created to be in fellowship with the Triune God. And our joy and pleasure were to flow out from beholding the beauty, majesty, and glory of the Creator who so amazingly befriends us. Worshipping God is the fulfillment of the highest human aspiration which completes our deepest yearning for joy. Yet, since Adam sinned and since we all sin, we cannot and will not worship this God, nor He will accept our pseudo-worship, for He is holy. This is bad news for us. None of us were to experience the greatest joy that we were made for.
But, God, rich in mercy, gave Himself to us in His Son, Jesus Christ, so we may worship Him again. That is the good news. If you sang a song to God out of overflowing joy of seeing Jesus in faith, if you offered up service to our Servant King out of sheer thankfulness, if any of these were accepted by God today, it was only by God's grace, only through Jesus. This is the good news, Evangel, gospel for us.