Series: The Big Questions – What Is the Church?
People who love as God loves
True worship isn’t something you do in a church building. True worship is doing the thing that God asks us to do: love others.
“… “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” – John 8:31-32 (NASB)
“Continue in my word” isn’t head knowledge. It’s action.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34 (NASB)
Glorifying God in a building
People collectively meet together and tell what God has done for them (praise God, glorify God). And they put their efforts together so that they have more power to do good. And they address their issues of the day and try to solve them realistically. They encourage each other to do things for others out of love.
We call what we do in church a “worship service.” Someone speaks about the Bible and what it means so that we understand it better. We glorify God in song and testimonial. Somehow worship has come to mean sitting and listening. Worship is actually what we do for others: love.
The Hebrew word for worship, shaw-Khaw, means to bow and be humble before God. It’s about showing respect. And what is respect? Is it just lip service? Or do we show respect by following the ways shown us by Jesus and God?
My grandchildren and I had a conversation recently about “being sorry.” I was sorry for something. They understand that phrase as a societal expression and imperative. You bother someone, you say I’m sorry. But the root of sorry is sorrow. It means you feel distressed, regret, and expanding on that you wish to make it right by apologizing, which is an act of humility before them.
Similarly we have lost sight of what it means to worship God. It’s about respect, and the definition of respect is twofold. It means deep admiration for another, and it means due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others. We like the first definition and abandon the second. Lip service is meaningless if it isn’t followed by action.
What did Jesus mean by worship?
We’re not sure exactly what Jesus meant when he talked about people worshiping him. The ancient Greek word proskuneo means to lick the hand or show deep respect or adore.
Jesus said, ““You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. ‘But in vain do they worship [revere, respect] Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’””
He was in fact speaking of the “Traditions of the Fathers,” which many of them held in higher regard than the Bible. Bible took first place, not tradition. It was lip service, not heart service. All talk, no love, no action.
Jesus said, ““But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4: 23, 24 (NASB)
In short what Jesus meant by worshiping in truth was doing the things God wants us to do: love of others. I wrote about this in depth in this article: What is True Worship?
The Apostle John said, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” – 1 John 3:18 (NASB)
How can we love others?
Each day each of us shows respect for God by living and in business as we’ve been shown by the prophets, Jesus, and God. We are kind to others. We don’t cheat in business. We are helpful to others. We assist others in their times of need. There is no limit on what we can do for others.
Some are led to develop wonderful medicines. Some teach. Some entertain. Some explain the Bible. Some raise or guide children. Some build homes, and some volunteer their services to build homes for the needy. Jesus didn’t preach to never make a profit from the hilltop. He understood the realities in the world. He just said not to cover your candle but let others see it – shine brightly for the world. Let all that you do bring glory to God.
The Apostle Paul, in talking about things that might even insult others, but doesn’t bother your conscience, said, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
We extract from that: “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This is affirmed again by Paul: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father,” in Colossians 3:17 (NASB)
“… let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another …” – Hebrews 10: 25-26
Somehow when we get inside a church building and sing a few songs and listen to a sermon and we think that is church. No, church is the people, the assembly of believers who act as Jesus acted. He loved others. We encourage each other to do the same. We do this in every moment of our lives by acting toward others as Jesus did. We should all be a positive force in people’s lives.
Any way we want to help others is what we should do both inside the church building and out. This is worship.
Article in this series on what is the church, the big questions
What is the Church, Part 1– the people, body of Christ
What Is the Church, Part 2 – The message and promise of Jesus
What Is the Church, Part 3 – The Good News and the Kingdom of God
What Is the Church, Part 4 – People who love as God loves
The standard of belief and conduct for Christianity is love. God is love. We’re asked to be like God.
If you find these articles intriguing, please consider joining the mailing list.
If I’ve challenged your thinking, I’ve done my job.
Our answer is God. God’s answer is us. Together we make the world better.