What Worship Is
INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN WORSHIP LECTURES
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Last week's excerpt dealt with "What Worship Is Not" (http://wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2009-01-13). Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is a "Romans 12:1" definition of biblical worship by the same two authors, Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church, Seattle) and Gerry Breshears (Western Seminary, Seattle).
WHAT WORSHIP IS
Worship is living our life individually and corporately as continuous living sacrifices to the glory of a person or thing. This connection between glory and worship is clear in verses such as Romans 11:36-12:1, which says, "To him be GLORY forever. Amen. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual WORSHIP." In this packed section of Scripture, Paul connects a number of vital truths regarding worship. First, we hold a person or thing in a place of glory. Second, we then worship that person or thing. Third, our worship of that person or thing we hold in glory is done by means of making sacrifices.
GLORY means weightiness, importance, preeminence, priority, or that which is our greatest treasure, deepest longing, and fountain of hope. Functionally, what we hold in the place of glory is in effect our real god. People can and do hold various people and things in a position of glory and then worship them by making sacrifices. Because we have limited resources (time, energy, money), we must allocate those things to what we consider most important or glorious to us and in so doing make sacrifices for our functional god. Whatever we hold in the position of highest glory is by definition our god(s). Practically, worship is making sacrifices for what we are living to glorify.
Also, the biblical word for worship is sometimes translated "sacrifice." This insight is helpful because what we make the greatest sacrifices for reveals what we truly live to glorify and worship. For example, if we eat and drink in excess, we are worshiping our stomach and sacrificing our health. If we sacrifice relationships with God and people for a hobby (e.g., sport, music, craft), then we are worshiping that hobby. If we are giving our bodies to sexual sin, we are worshiping sex and/or another person whose glory is our highest aim, sacrificing holiness and intimacy with God in the process. In short, we give our time, energy, body, money, focus, devotion, and passion to that which we glorifymost, and we make sacrifices to worship that person or thing. Because we were made for the express purpose of worshiping God, everyone is a worshiper. The only difference is who or what we worship.
—Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears. VINTAGE JESUS: TIMELESS ANSWERS TO TIMELY QUESTIONS. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2007, pp. 166-67. ISBN 978-1-58134-975-7. [You can take a look at this book here: www.docstoc.com/docs/2886488/Vintage-Jesus .]
In the rest of this chapter the authors go on to discuss these topics.
Examples of False Worship
Worshiping through Jesus
Worshiping Like Jesus
Good stuff, all of it!
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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