“We Worship That Which We Know”

By Jimmy Tuten


A. God has decreed the acts to be rendered in worship. His Word, the truth, reveals these acts. To be acceptable to Him, we must express our devotion through the means divine wisdom has prescribed. There is a divine order of acceptable worship.

B. He who is worthy of veneration, seeks worshipers and blesses those acceptable to Him.

1 . Because of His sovereign power, God has the right to demand how men should honor Him. To God alone belongs the prerogative to specify the acts of worship.

2. Since God’s words are truth and He seeks true worshipers, all worship must be that made known in the New Testament.

3. Human alterations will not be acceptable, but rather are presumptuous.

C. Our purpose in this sermon is to determine what constitutes worship.


I. Man Is Incurably Religious And Must Have An Object Of Worship.

A. The archaeological spade has proven time and again that man in every generation is a worshiping creature. A reasonable man is forced to acknowledge a power greater than himself (Rom. 1:20). The logical response is a bowed knee and raised devotion.

B. God, through Christ, has presented a perfect picture of His nature and character, and thus a perfect object of worship. Man’s need for an object of worship will not need to be fulfilled by creating gods in his own image, unless of course, he forsakes Jehovah again.

II. The Definition Of Worship: Two Frequently Used Words.

A. Proskuneo – Originally it meant simply “to kiss forward,” but it came to mean in the New Testament an act of reverence of obeisance toward God and Christ.

1. God (Matt. 4:10).

2. Christ accepted the worship of the leper in Matthew 8:1-2 and of His disciples in Matthew 28:9.

3. This act of worship can be paid to a creature also (Rev. 22:8-9). However, this homage is not to be paid to fellow creatures: “see thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee. . . Worship God” (cf. Jn. 4:23-24).

B. Latreuo – This is defined as “to serve or render homage.” It is most often rendered or translated “to serve or render homage.” It is most often rendered or translated “serve.”

C. These are the words from which “worship” is translated and convey to our minds the idea involved in the expression, i.e., not just a condition (attitude) of the heart, but an action (Gen. 4:4, “respect unto Abel and his sacrifice”).

D. “A man worships God in the Spirit when . . . he brings all his affections, appetites and desires to the throne of God. He worships in truth when every purpose and passion of his heart, when every act of his religious worship is guided and regulated by the Word of God” (Adam Clarke).

III. The Standard And Measure Of Worship (Jn. 4:23-24).

A. God, the proper object (Jn. 4:23; Acts 17; 1 Kings 13, Jeroboam had the wrong object, whether he intended it or not). He could not excuse his worship of the calf.

B. Spirit, the right attitude of the heart (Jn. 4:24). Since the “spirit” is listed first, the attitude must be right before the expression (or, act) is accepted by God (Psa. 32:1; Josh. 24:14; 1 Sam. 12:24).

C. Truth, the proper standard (Jn. 4:24; 17:17).

1. There is a divinely authorized order of worship. If not then there can be no transgression, no error and no innovation in worship.

2. Note. men are seeking to justify the instrument in worship today by arguing that the New Testament is silent on the matter (where there is no law, there is no transgression). Don DeWelt. “All references to singing in the New Testament refer to individual singing and not to corporate worship . . . when we gather as a group to sing we do so without a New Testament command, example, or inference” (The One Body, 1985). Since worship is restricted, it must be kept within prescribed bounds laid down in the New Testament. Note. this entire point needs to be remembered since instrumental music brethren have ceased to argue that the instrument is authorized and deny instead that “singing” is authorized (Don DeWelt and the Joplin brethen).

IV. Worship Is Not Restricted To Place Or Location (Jn. 4:21).

A. God prescribes the worship, but He dwelleth not in temples made with hand (Acts 17:24).

1. Places have to do with comfort and convenience, but are no more a part of worship than is the pew, etc.

2. They are authorized expedients.

B. The place of worship can change, but not the worship itself.

V. The Worshiper Must Be A Christian And Temple Keeper (1 Pet. 3:10-12; Jn. 9:31).

VI. The Five Items Of Worship.

A. The Lord’s Supper – In the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 10:21). There is a Table (1 Cor. 10:21, 16) and one loaf (1 Cor. 10:17).

1. Christians are members of the house of God and Conclusion: have access to the Lord’s Table (Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:5-9).

2. “Breaking bread” – Emblematic of His own consent to die and be broken for the sins of the world.

3. Breaking bread and drinking the cup are commemorative of the Lord’s death (1 Cor. 11:25-30).

4. It had a fixed time of observance – Acts 2:42; 20:7,16.

B. Singing – Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Matt. 26:30; Rom. 15:9; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; etc.).

C. Prayer – 1 Corinthians 14:15-16; Jas. 5:16.

1. Do not pray to be seen of men (Matt. 6:5-13).

2. Conditions of acceptable prayer:

(a) Addressed to God (Matt. 7:7-12).

(b) In the name of Christ (1 Tim. 2:5).

(c) Involves praise (“hallowed be thy name”), thanksgiving (“give us our daily bread”), confession (“God be merciful to me a sinner”), petitions (“lead us not into temptations”), etc.

D. Teaching – Admonishing, etc. in sermons, songs and Bible Studies (Acts 2:42; Col. 3:16).

E. Contribution – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.

1. As God is revealed before men as an eminent, transcendent Being, may all men be struck with their need for communion and fellowship with Him. The provisions for worship have been made by God and they are available to all in every place. It is up to us to accept them.

2. By worship God is honored, reverenced and given homage in “Spirit and truth.”

3. Let us be content with the most sublime plan of worship that man can attain by worshiping God (proper object) with all our heart (the proper motivation) according to His truth (the proper direction).

4. “Oh worship the King. . . . ” Worship is a deep and special privilege that children of God enjoy. It should not be a burden, but a blessing. It will be a blessing if we will make the effort to enter into it with the right motivation and attitude.

Guardian of Truth XXX: 18, pp. 556-557
September 18, 1986