Do you know what real worship is? It is not a feel-good emotional experience. It is not the tear in our eye or the lump in our throat that we get when we hear our favorite hymn or Christian song sung. It is not the fellowship that we have with each other when we gather nor even hearing a good sermon. As nice and good as those things can be, they are not worship. They have their PART in our praise and in our worship, but in themselves, they are not worship.
Real worship is ALWAYS God-focused and God-centered. It is entirely centered on both the CHARACTER and NATURE of God – on WHO He is in His essence as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word.
Worship is not us singing with gusto while mentally patting ourselves on the back and smugly thinking, “Look how good I am for noticing how great Thou art.”
No, true worship has at its very core the recognition and adulation of the CHARACTER and NATURE of the triune Godhead. It is the engaging of our body, mind, and spirit in studying and learning of the very nature of who God is and in examining through a systematic study of the whole counsel of God throughout His Word of what His character really is. It is acknowledging the superlative aspects of who and what He is: that He IS Love; He IS Truth; He IS Faithfulness itself. He IS Wisdom, and He IS Righteousness, Mercy, and Splendor.
It is truly understanding that He is matchless in holiness, resplendent in glory, and perfect in Justice, Mercy, and Grace. It is placing ALL of our focus on the truth and verity that He and He alone is the fountainhead, the wellspring from which every superlative ideal flows. It is our acknowledging Him AS HE IS which, once grasped, shows us just how wretched and vile we are against His holiness. This realization brings conviction to the heart of lost sinners and humbles us who are believers already into complete brokenness in the face of the cross and what Jesus did there for us.
Genuine worship takes our eyes, minds, and hearts completely off of ourselves and our circumstances and puts our attention, our adoration, and our eternal gratitude squarely upon the One who wrapped Himself in human skin so that, as the eternal God/MAN, He and He alone could pay in full, once and for all, the infinite penalty of sin under which all mankind is conceived and condemned. Then, having paid that price, He offers freely eternal salvation to “whosoever will” believe upon His name.
If we want to understand true worship, what it is and how to do it, we need look no further than the prophet Isaiah. He learned firsthand what true worship is. Genuine worship will always bring us to a place of becoming utterly and completely “undone” before the Lord. It will always result in our finally seeing the eternal triune God “high and lifted up.”
Do you know why the Seraphim cried “holy, holy, holy” three times? They were WORSHIPING the ONE God who is THREE distinct Persons in ONE God – the triune Godhead.
They were shaking the courts of Heaven as all the Heavenly Host worshipped together in praise, saying: HOLY is God the Father! HOLY is God the Son! HOLY is God the Holy Spirit!
This is what true worship is. This is why when we begin to buckle under the weight of despair, fear, or a sense of despondency that genuine worship lifts our eyes from our circumstances and places them resolutely on the One who is above all things – the One in whom we “live and move and have our being.” Real worship is where we begin to understand just what the shout of “Worthy is the Lamb” means and all that it implies. We will be shouting exactly that for all eternity. Shouldn’t we begin to learn how to really worship Him now?
“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
“Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:1-8, KJV).
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:1-14, KJV).