Worship: A Working Definition 3


Romans 12:1 (ESV) 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 (worship, service as a slave, divine worship)[1].

  • Worship is bigger than a worship service.
  • Worship is deeper than songs.
  • I’m convinced that if we were doing Romans 12:1 we could come in here and sing “This little Light of Mine” and have revival break out because songs will never usher in a spirit of worship.
  • Worship is all we are and do given over to God for God’s ends.

A Definition of Worship

1) Worship is communion with God 2) in which believers, 3) by grace, 4) center their mind’s attention and their 5) heart’s affection on the Lord, 6) humbly 7) glorifying God 8) in response to the revelation of his glory and his word.[2]

  1. Worship is glorifying God.


Since worship is first and foremost a living sacrifice, how are we to “glorify” God as a living sacrifice?

The bible gives us 3 ways: 1. Vertical: Man to God 2. Horizontally Inward: Man to Man 3. Horizontally Outward: Man to Man



How do glorify God in the UP relationship as a living sacrifice?

Psalms 22:23 (ESV) You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

  • Glorify – to make heavy; to make weighty; to honor.
  • Glorifying God – honoring God rightly; deferring to God; putting God’s way first; considering God first.
  • We glorify God when we consider obedience to his word and his Spirit as more vital than my perceived wants / needs.
  • Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


How do we glorify God in the IN relationship?

Romans 15:1-6 (ESV) “1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • We glorify God when we bear with one another.
  • We glorify God when we seek to please others not ourselves.
  • We glorify God when we build each other up.


How do we glorify God in the OUT relationship?

Psalms 96:1-10 (ESV) 1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song;

sing to the LORD, all the earth!

2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

tell of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous works among all the peoples!

4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;

he is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,

but the LORD made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before him;

strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,

ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!

8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;

bring an offering, and come into his courts!

9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth!

10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!

  • When we sing, as commanded, there is a declaration of his glory (The transition from verse 2-3 informs the content of our songs to be about God’s glories not our needs).
  • Our worship of singing as living sacrifices is to be public, among the nations.
  • Our worship of “ascribing” is to be a “giving of credit to” the Lord in such a fashion that the nations know that Jesus reigns.
  1. Worship is response to God.

“in response to the revelation”

Romans 3:10-11 (ESV) None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.

Genesis 24:22-27 Abraham’s Servant is Led to Rebekah as the Bride for Isaac

Genesis 24:26-27 (ESV) The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord 27 and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.”

Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus Walks on the Water

Matthew 14:33 (ESV) And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

  • God is always the divine initiator of worship. Even as redeemed image bearers, he has given us his Spirit, his word and creation to prompt us to come and worship.
  • God uses providential circumstances to bring praise from us.
  • God uses difficult challenges to our faith and even failures of faith to display his power, might and mercy and cause us to worship.

How has God revealed himself to you?

  • Respond as a living sacrifice in this small portion of a small service with song.
  • Remember, Jesus’ last act before his arrest was to lead the disciples through the order of the Passover and sing a song, so we observe an order and sing songs that glorify God.

[1] Parenthesis mine.

[2] Definition adapted from the course, “Church Music” by Dr. Bruce Leafblad, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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