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What is the Purpose of Worship?

What is the purpose to God?

What is the purpose for us?


The real issue here is the PURPOSE of worship. Does God NEED our worship? Why do we NEED to worship?

What is worship?


  1. Etymology – English word comes from the old Anglo-Saxon “worth-ship.” Therefore, we are declaring worth or value to that which we honor and adore.

  2. Dictionary – Great honor and respect; a feeling of respect or reverence for power, position, merit, virtue, etc.

  3. Greek – The word used most often in the New Testament (59 times) means “to kiss [the hand or the ground] toward.” The root idea included bodily prostration is not at prominent in the New Testament as in the Old Testament.


It is the soul searching for its counterpart.

It is the thirsty land crying out for rain.

It is a drop in quest of the ocean.

It is a man listening through the tornado for the Still Small Voice.

It is a sheep lost in the wilderness pleading for rescue by the Good Shepherd.

It is the same sheep nestling in the arms of the rescuer.

It is the Prodigal Son running to the Father.

It is the soul standing in awe before the mystery of the Universe.

It is a poet enthralled by the beauty of a sunrise.

It is a hungry heart seeking for love.

It is Time flowing into Eternity.

It is a man climbing the altar stairs to God.

He who neglects Worship neglects that which separates man from the birds, the animals, the insects, and the fishes.

He may be a paragon of morality, but so are the bees and ants.

He may be keenly intelligent, but so are the wolves and foxes.

He may provide for his family, but so do the hyenas and orangutans.

He may be successful in affairs, but so are beavers and muskrats.

He may be artistic, but so are birds and butterflies.

Worship for men is what song is for a thrush, or physical beauty for a tiger, or speed for a racehorse.

Worship is man expressing his entire personality.

From The Recovery of Worship, George Walter Fiske, 1931, pp, 188-190.


Three things take place in worship

  1. We adore God.

  2. There is a give-and-take or fellowship between God and man.

  3. There is a dedication or commitment of the worshiper to God.

Here are some real issues to think about:

  1. Do we worship or do we just go to church?

  2. Do we worship only through certain acts or items?

  3. Do we worship only at specified occasions?


Study Isaiah 6

  1. Some place emphasis on the “form” of worship. Do the right things (5 acts) and don’t do anything else means you have worshiped.

  2. Going to church” is thought to mean that you have worshiped.

  3. No exercises are acceptable to God until they are the worshiper’s own expressions.

  4. We often limit worship to a time and place (Church building – 10:00 Sunday AM).

  5. In his book, Thou Shalt Worship the Lord Thy God, Andy Ritchie, Jr. says, “Worship is big and most comprehensive. It is an acknowledgment of the greatness of God and the need of man; it is a soul standing in awe before the mystery of the universe; it is the desperate cry of the lost soul and the grateful song of the saved one; it is the quickened, challenged soul dedicated again.” (Pages 7-8)

  6. Read Isaiah 6:1-8

    1. He Saw God

    2. He Saw Himself

    3. He Received Cleansing

    4. He Heard God's Call

    5. He Responded to that Call


Does God need our worship?

For many, worship does not mean much

We attend, sing, bow our heads for prayer, listen to a lecture, eat some bread and drink some grape juice, and put some money of a tray.

And God is NOT pleased with this kind of worship. (Isaiah 1:10-17) God does not need our sacrifices, our attendance, or our money.

But it is a “big thing” with God

Even if we do not take our worship seriously – God still desires to be in communication with us. He wants to hear from us. He desires to be near us. He will not force Himself upon us, but seeks an intimate relationship with us.

Song of Solomon 2:14 – “Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely.” (NOTE: The Song of Solomon is often seen as a picture of the love relationship between God and his church.)

Illustration: A trip home with your kids may not seem like much to you. You may think it is more trouble than it is worth. But to the grandparents, that visit is the highlight of their week (or year).

Psalm 147:11 – “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him.”

Proverbs 15:8 – “But the prayer of the righteous is His delight.”

John 4:23 – “For the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”


Worship is when we “draw near” to our God

Moses and the nation of Israel were told to worship from afar. (Exodus 24:1) But we are invited to “draw near” to God. (Hebrews 7:19; 10:22) We may come boldly to the throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16)


Why do we need to worship God?

Why should we worship?

  1. Natural impulse – “Worship remains because the impulse to worship is elemental and universal.” Arther Devan, Ascent to Zion, 1942, pg. 3

  2. To do God’s will – God has commanded, requested, and deserves our worship.

  3. To learn more of His will – We seek to improve our service and obedience to our God.

  4. To commune – Worship is a vital connection between man and his source of strength.

  5. To stimulate and quicken – As we worship God, we are encouraged, motivated, renewed.

  6. To restore the soul – Forgiveness and renewal are important parts of worship.

  7. To praise the Lord – The most obvious purpose is to express praise and gratitude to God.

  8. To partake of the Divine nature – Our desire is to be like God and with God for eternity.


Because of who God is

  1. God Lives – Our God is a living God. Dagon, god of the Philistines was a dead god. We worship a living God.

  2. God is Eternal – He is from everlasting to everlasting. (Psalm 90:2)

  3. God Knows – God knows the mysteries of life, our purpose, and our destiny. God know our needs, our desires, our weaknesses and us.

  4. God is Present – There is no place you can go where God is not. (Psalm 139:7-12) God transcends time and space.

  5. God is Love – God is the personification of love. (1 John 4:8, 16)


Purposes of our worship

  1. To do God’s Will – If you believe in God, you will seek to obey Him. The Bible is the Word of God. It is the source of our understanding of God and our knowledge of His will for us.

  2. To learn more of His will – Worship helps us to better understand what we already know, reminds us of what we forgot, and adds to our knowledge of God. Jesus invites us to come and learn of him. (Matthew 11:29)

  3. To Commune – Worship is the vital link between our soul and our creator. We need this link kept open. When trouble comes, we need our “911” connection with God.

  4. To Stimulate and Quicken – In worship we are lost in the wonder, love, and awe of our God. The purpose of worship is to turn our focus and attention away from ourselves and turn our focus toward God.

  5. To Restore our Soul – Worship is an oasis in the desert. It is the relief from the stress of our lives. The 23rd Psalm reminds us that God is able to restore our soul. David also reminds us that it is good to worship God to get “back on track.” (Psalm 73)

  6. To Praise the Lord – Our singing and our prayers must be filled with our praise to God for all His blessings. Read often passages like Psalm 95, 100, 103, 117, and 136. Singing and praise are not interchangeable terms.

  7. To Partake of the Divine Nature – We should worship God to associate with Him, experience Him, and become like Him. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18; Romans 8:29; 2 Peter 1:3-4)

What can we do to improve our worship?

  1. Resist worldliness – The term “this present world” (Titus 2:12) refers to the world of sin, greed, and lust.

    1. James 4:4 – Friend of the world = enmity with God

    2. 1 John 2:15-17 – Love the world = love of Father not in him

    3. Two points

      1. This matter is so crucial that Christians should stay far away from a doubtful activity

      2. We have gone so far in accepting the “world” that there can hardly be any doubt about its guilt.

  2. Problems in your life – Health, family, marriage, financial – We often lose our ability to focus on God when we are surrounded with trouble.

  3. Speech – We are exposed to bad language – TV, work, everywhere. As it creeps in, our worship diminishes.

  4. Pleasure – If we give ourselves to pleasure we are dead while we remain alive. (1 Timothy 5:6)

  5. Frequency of attendance often depends on what else comes along – ballgames, company, camping.

  6. Music – What do you like, listen to? Are you influenced by the messages of these songs?

  7. Self-control – Proper eating, exercise, rest and habits all have an influence on our worship. Did you stay out late, get little sleep, celebrate the football game, forget it was Sunday?

  8. Dress – What are you wearing to church? Is it a distraction?
    Some have tried to legislate ties to serve communion. I do not believe we can require suit and tie. BUT – dress does affect our ability to function. Casual Fridays = lost production. What is needed is care, thought in how you appear before God.

  9. Methods – Some are distracted from worship if the sequence is changed.
    True story – in Sikeston, MO, Collection first, then L. S. – One Sunday we served the bread first. There was some money in the bread tray when it got to the back.
    L. S. before or after sermon; how many songs; announcements at beginning or end; how to ask confession before baptism; what to say at baptism
    Do not let a change in methods disturb your worship. If a change in methods interferes with your worship, the problem is more in you than in the methods changed.

  10. Fellowship – The more we get to know (and love) each other, the better our worship will be. Fellowship promotes worship. Friction destroys worship.


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