“Made to Worship God”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Our Creator made us for worship. Of course, this statement presupposes that you recognize that there is a God who made everything out of nothing. Those who don’t, called atheists, live in a world that denies reality. When pressed, every atheist will default to some moral code. Their moral code may simply be to do good to others. Even with such a basic code of civilized behavior, atheists must borrow from Judeo-Christian ethics. But my concern is not the unstable world view of atheism. I am concerned that honest men and women understand why God made us. He created us to worship Him!
A basic definition of worship is to love, honor and obey God. Worship is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, in part, as “reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.” Worth- ship is an Old English compound word. It described the devotion and obedience that a knight offered to his sovereign. In kneeling down before the king, the knight would bow his head, offering the back of his neck to the king’s sword. In so doing the knight was visibly displaying to the king that his life would be forfeit if he failed to serve the king.
Worship is about our primary relationship, our relationship to God. God commanded worship. But because of sin, men seek to make their own gods. The great reformer, John Calvin said, “Every one of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” Acts II: 413
Therefore, in view of man’s sinfulness, God by His grace declared that He alone was to be worshiped, Exodus 20:1-3. God said that His people were forbidden from bowing down to or serving any man-made image or likeness of God, Exodus 20:4-5. He declared that He is the LORD and besides Him there is no God, Isaiah 45:18. Further, any worship that is not based in God’s word is false and is idolatry, John 4:23-24.
God, who has revealed Himself in His Word written and Incarnate is the only true object of worship. To make things even more direct, Jesus said that God the Father is the one who seeks worshipers, John 4. Idolatry/false worship was the sin of the Old Testament Church, Israel which continues in the Evangelical Church today!
The Apostle quoted the Psalms and wrote that no one seeks after God, Psalm 14:2; Romans 3:11. Even though God has made His existence plain for all to see by what He has made, men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. We are eager to fulfill our God-given desire to worship and often do so by erecting idols. Our idols are the things that control our lives. The idol of many churches today is self.
Normally in Evangelical Protestant Churches, we don’t see people bowing to or serving carved images as part of their acts of worship and devotion. But, we must honestly reflect upon those things that we seem to value the most and serve. We are: loving, honoring and obeying ourselves more than God!
When God is truly worshiped, the Lordship of Christ is acknowledged by submitting to His word. The words, love, honor and obey are relational. In our primary relationship, God has established its requirements and conditions. Jesus said, “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24
However, looking at contemporary worship in churches, the music, the settings, even the preaching are designed for people not for God. Churches are more interested in attracting people than pleasing God. It appears that Churches are more eager to celebrate conservative politics and politicians than adhering to biblical orthodoxy.
Much of evangelical church leadership would serve the church of Jesus Christ well by hearing and applying God’s word. For example, Malachi wrote to those who were practicing man-centered worship, “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the door, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain…”. (Malachi 1:10) And, the book of Hebrews warns, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)