In the first part of this article, we defined worship as something that goes beyond singing in church on Sundays. And we agreed that when we say someone is an idol worshipper, we definitely don’t mean they sing to their idols necessarily, but that they live and serve them. I want us to substitute the word worship in this article for the word service. So, when I say I worship God, I simply mean I serve God. With that in mind, it beautifully knocks off the idea of having the worship God restricted to the four walls of Church or to the act of singing. So, how do I worship/serve God?
Let me first say that we are not called to serve without knowledge and accurate, in depth training. We don’t come to church for the purpose of serving God primarily, but for the purpose of being trained to serve Him rightly both amongst believers and unbelievers. What I just said demands patience to be understood. I haven’t said we don’t serve God in church as that will be running against many clear scriptural injunctions. I have only said we are to be first trained before serving can be meaningful. Let’s look at some scriptures:
Eph. 4:11-12 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
We see clearly from the scriptures that we have pastors and others for the purpose of equipping or training us for the work of ministry. So, there’s work to be done but with training coming first. This is the primary reason why we come to Church. This is a serious training that determines our effectiveness as worshippers. Worship cannot be effective without knowledge. We can’t serve who we don’t know and understand rightly. Christ told the Samaritan woman, “You worship what you don’t know”(John 4:22). This is why any congregation of people who have little or no time for the word of God, but have so much time for singing and dancing are just lovers of music or at the very best, are involved in vain worship. Oh yes, there’s the possibility of vain worship!
The One we serve and worship is revealed in His word and to depart from that word is to have a false religious image of God and that makes our worship vain. God is not revealed when we worship or serve Him as clearly as He has revealed Himself in His word. And He expects us to begin from there. Christ convicted the Jews of their vain worship and revealed it was because they lacked the knowledge of God’s word:
Mark 7:6-9 – “He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honoureth Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”
Christ highlighted that the reason why they were in the worship of God vainly was because they had substituted the commands of God for their own tradition – “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:13)
Please, get this straight. There’s no true worship or service to God without adequate knowledge of God! We live in a time when people just assume the worship of God. People say stuff like “In the Presence of God, anything goes”. Deadly cliché! That’s a fatal error because the worship of God is not to be guessed or assumed but learnt. The subsequent parts of this article will explore certain key things to know to be an effective worshipper.
Thanks for reading!
Adebowale Ibukun Tosin