Every Sunday we gather here for “Worship.” Churches around the world meet together to worship. But the reality is that many attend church services, but only a minority worships or at least understands worship. Worship is one of those words we throw around in church a lot, but many times we quite don’t understand what worship is. How do you know you have worshiped God? How do you know you are truly worshiping God?
Worship: (Merriam Webster): The act of showing respect and love for a god; excessive admiration for someone.
-Reverence offered to divine being or supernatural power.
Worship, biblical speaking is to bow down or fall down in adoration. To kiss the ground. This is what people did in their showing respect or reverence to God or the gods.
According to Jesus, God is on the business of seeking true worshippers. This is how Jesus responded to a question asked by a woman regarding the place of worship. (Samaritan worshiped on the mountains; the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem. John 4:20-24). Jesus replied that the place will no longer matter, what would be important is the heart of the worshiper.
True worshipers must worship God in “spirit and in truth.” That is, true worship takes place on the inside, in the heart or spirit of the worshiper. 103:1-2 Bless the LORD O my soul and all that is within me). Worship pleasing to God must be offered with a humble and pure heart ( Psalm 24:3-4 ; Isa 66:2 ).
Whatever you give to God in worship must come from a pure and humble heart to be received by him. There is an incident in the New Testament when someone truly honored Jesus, those around felt offended by what took place, but Jesus felt honored.
Matt.26:6-13 (Mark 14:1-9)
Jesus had been invited to eat at the home of a man named Simon the Leper. This incident took place toward the end of Jesus’ ministry. Mark tells us that it was at the dawn of the crucifixion.
Jesus is having a meal with his disciples at the house of Simon and then an uninvited guest showed up. A woman with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. (v.7) she poured all the perfume on Jesus’ head.
The disciples’ response: (8) They were angry, (indignant). “Why this waste?”
According to the disciples that perfumed should have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor. She just wasted that on Jesus. The disciples’ response tells us what they thought she should have done with the perfume. She could have helped a lot of people if she had sold the perfume. They harassed the woman in their anger because of her act.
However, what the disciples considered a “waste,” Jesus saw as beautiful. The disciples failed to see this as worship. (v.10) They only saw the outward appearance, but failed to see her heart.
Jesus defended the woman: Leave her alone, why are you bothering this woman? (v.10)
She has done a beautiful thing to me
It’s is true that lots of poor people could have been helped if the perfume was sold. Jesus said the poor you will always have with you. In other words, you will always have time to help the poor, but you will not always have me. Here Jesus was talking about his death, eventually he would be taken away from them. She has prepared me for burial. What she did will always be remembered as long as the gospel is preached in the world.
Her worship was acceptable, beautiful in God’s eyes because it flowed from the devotion in her heart. She did not hold back. She poured everything to the Lord; she gave Jesus her best. And Jesus felt honored by her action. Is Jesus honored by the way you worship him?
Authentic worship comes from the heart.
She didn’t do this to please people, but to please Jesus. She didn’t care what others said, whether they liked it or not, all she was concerned about was to honor Jesus with her gift.
When you worship God with authenticity, you are not concerned about what others think, your sole purpose is to please God. Authentic worship is about pleasing God and not pleasing people.
Beware of empty worship.
Jesus called out those whose worship is vain. Matt.15:8-9‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me; 9in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men. Isa.29:13
Whatever you do for Jesus has to come from the heart in order to be accepted, otherwise, it becomes hypocritical (insincere). It sounds good, or it may look good for others, but in God’s estimation is empty and vain. God longs for people to worship him with all their heart, with authenticity.
True worship is sacrificial
She gave to Jesus her treasured possession, a very costly gift. She didn’t care about the cost; she didn’t ratio the perfume for Jesus. She poured the whole thing for Jesus. Her adoration was sacrificial because she gave her best. King David can relate to this, he said that he would not offer God anything that cost him nothing. 2 Sam.24:24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
What are you offering God in worship? Are you giving to God sacrificially?
Jesus felt honored by this woman that day; she did a beautiful thing for me. Will Jesus say the same thing about your worship today?