Worship and the Christian Life
Worship is a central aspect of the life of believers. This has been true since the time of the ancient Hebrews, through the early decades of the New Testament church, and even into our own day. The people of God have been instructed and exhorted to praise the Lord with their mouths as well as their actions.
In the Old Testament, for example, Psalm 95:6-7 famously urges believers, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” The New Testament encourages the same sorts of activities. Consider the call of Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
From Old Testament to New Testament, believers are actually commanded to worship and serve the Lord. This is a “Thus saith the Lord.” Christ affirmed this in Luke 4:8 by echoing and endorsing the fundamental teaching, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”
What, then, are the basic elements of worship? The Lord’s people have always engaged in singing, prayer, teaching, learning, and fellowship. The church has always practiced baptism, when new disciples were converted, and the Lord’s Supper, even on a weekly basis. All of these things truly exalt the Lord as well as edify the people of God.
So as not to exclude the fact that we can and must worship the Lord at all times, let me conclude with the well-known quote of Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” The apostle is obviously framing this exhortation in terms of continual, daily worship, and most modern translators have rendered that last word as “worship.” The reasonable expectation of Christians is that they worship the Lord God every day as a living sacrifice. We offer our lives to Him as we submit to His will for our lives, obey His commands, and fulfill His purposes in the world. Let us be a worshipping people, inside and outside the gathering!