What is real worship?
If you ask people that question you will get a host of answers. Attending church, reading the Bible, praying, singing in the choir, repeating scriptures, or anything that happens in church that talks about God.
Worship is defined like this: religious reverence; act or ceremony of showing reverence; adoration or to adore; to pay divine honor; to perform a religious service. When one thinks about real worship it is a much deeper experience than just what we do by attending church, reading the Bible and all the other things mentioned. When one reads Isaiah 6: 1-8 we see a true example of an act of real worship. We can see in this text five requirements of true worship.
Requirement one: Real worship requires a personal encounter with God. In verse 1 Isaiah tells us that He saw the Lord, high and lifted up. Many times we think of worship as a time we come and watch people perform by singing, teaching and praying. These are important aspects of our worship time together, allowing the Lord to speak to our hearts.
Real worship is not coming together with others, but is when we spend time truly encountering the Lord to develop our personal relationships with Him. Real worship is not how close to the Lord the choir members or the preacher are at a worship service, it is about how close we get in our own personal encounter with God.
Requirement two: Real worship requires a personal conviction of sin. Isaiah realized his sinful condition and responded by saying in verse 5, “Woe, is me, for I am undone.” It is so easy for us to hear a message at a worship service and point to our neighbors with an accusing finger so they might address their sin. Sadly, we have become so self-righteous that we live and act as if we have no sin.
The Bible is plain when it says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We are all filthy, dirty, no good sinners and we need to admit that sin does exists in our lives and when we do we have begun the steps to real worship that leads to……
Requirement three: Real worship requires a personal cleansing of sin. Isaiah, in verse 6-7, realized he could not truly worship and serve the Lord as long as sin was present in his life. He allowed the Lord to send one of the seraphims to take a hot coal from the alter and apply it to his lips this was to bring his sin under the judgment of God. Then he was cleansed so that he could enjoy his relationship with a holy God and practice true worship.
We, too, must admit sin to the Lord and allow Him to place it under the precious blood of Jesus so that our sin can be judged and removed from our lives. It is when we have allowed the Lord to truly cleanse our hearts and lives of sin that we can really enjoy a time of worship.
Requirement four: Real worship requires hearing a personal call to serve. Isaiah states in verse 8a that He hears the Lord ask, “Who shall I send, and who will go for us?” It was a call to represent the Lord to the people and nation around him. We must remember that God is still calling men, women, boys and girls to be a witness for Him on this earth and lets others see the differences He has made in their lives. It is a call that goes out to all born again believers and not to just a select few. Real worship is not just saying what we want to say to God but hearing as He speaks and calls us to serve.
Requirement five: Real worship requires a commitment to serve. Isaiah says in verse 8b “Here I am, send me!” It was Isaiah’s choice to step out and follow the Lord and do the work he was called to do. In fact you see that he did so with great enthusiasm and excitement. He wanted to be completely obedient to the Lord in faithful service and worship. It is when we are willing to say, “Here I am Lord, send me” and faithfully follow the Lord in all areas of our lives that we can say we are truly in sincere worship of our Lord.
One more time, what is real worship? Are we willing to spend time doing what is required for real worship to bring honor, praise and glory to the one who sent His Son to die on the cross and the Son who gave His life so that we could live eternally with Him.
Are we practicing real worship?
Rev. Tim Burton is minister of Flippin Memorial Baptist Church.