September 30, 2016
Why We Worship
By Skip Heitzig
In the evangelical world, we tend to place a lot of emphasis on evangelism and discipleship. In fact, most Christian bookstores are stocked with a lot of information about how to reach the lost and how to disciple other people and grow them up in the faith. That's good, and it's imperative, but there seems to be precious little written about worship. More and more, we're losing the whole reason that we gather together as a group of people. One person said that we have become a generation who worships our work, works at our play, and plays at our worship.
According to the Bible, worship is the response from the core of our being whereby we place God above everything and everyone else in life. But why worship? What's the motivation? Why should you render God your worship? There are probably a lot of reasons we can come up with, but the best two are found in Psalm 95: we worship God because of who He is and who we are.
First of all, it's based on who God is. Notice the descriptions in Psalm 95: God is called "the Lord" (v. 1), "the Rock of our salvation" (v. 1), "the great God" (v. 3), "the great King above all gods" (v. 3), "our Maker" (v. 6), and "our God" (v. 7). Then verses 8-11 describe God as the One who took the Jews out of the bondage of Egypt, brought them through the wilderness, and gave them their own land. All of these descriptions paint a picture of just how worthy the Lord is to receive our worship.
Now, it's not stated in Psalm 95, but we further worship God the Son, Jesus Christ, because of His redemption on the cross. In fact, the very center of worship throughout all of eternity will be the cross of Christ (see Revelation 5:9). Only Christ was crucified for us; only He redeemed us, so He alone gets our worship.
By the way, that's why the Bible says that our God is a jealous God. A lot of Christians don't like to underline that or mention that, but I think it's a wonderful thing. It's part of true love. If a husband is in love with his wife, he's jealous for her; he's not going to want to share her with anybody else. In the same way, we're called the bride of Christ, which means we exist for Him alone. He alone is to be the exclusive object of our worship because of who He is.
Now, there's a second part of why we worship: because of who we are. "For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand" (v. 7). If He's the Creator, then we're the creation. If He's the Lord, we're His servants. If He is the Great Shepherd, then we are the sheep—we follow Him. It's this relationship that demands our worship.
Depending on what you know about sheep, you're probably either greatly comforted or highly insulted that we're called sheep in verse 7. Sheep are pretty dumb, and they need to be led. But I look at this and I'm elated like David, who said, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). David, being a shepherd, knew that the quality of life of any sheep depends on the kind of shepherd you have. It was like he was bragging: "Hey, look who my Shepherd is! It's the Lord!" And the same is true for you: the Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, is your Shepherd. And that relationship demands worship.
To sum it up, He's the sovereign Lord; we are the subjects. What's our natural response? Worship. It's the proper response from our hearts whereby we place God above everyone and everything else in our lives. Worship is not about you. It's about rendering praise, glory, and adoration back to God because of who He is and because of who we are in relation to Him.
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