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What is True Worship?

Worship no longer consists of the offering of bulls and goats, made by priests of the Levitical order. Rather, it consists of spiritual sacrifices, offered up by priests of the new order—the individuals who make up the Church (1 Peter 2:5). Thus, worship is no longer a mechanical process; rather, it is carried out in spirit, by the Spirit. That is to say, the Spirit of God generates in the heart of the believer notes of worship of the Lord Jesus Christ and of God the Father.

Worship is offered up through the Spirit in any geographic location at any time, because the way into the holy presence of God has now been manifest (Hebrews 9:8). When Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), the veil that separated the holiest of all from the outer chamber of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). The believer, therefore, does not have to wait for a “worship service” to be bowed in worship and adoration. The Spirit, by whom the Christian worships, is not limited by geography, time, or other constraints.

When we examine the New Testament, we discover that worship is entirely independent of our words or activity, but is totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s work. To illustrate this point, let’s examine what I have come to savor as the most compelling picture of worship in the Old Testament. Read the account of the Queen of Sheba and her introduction to Solomon’s glory in 1 Kings 10:1-10.

In this passage we first find the queen making a concerted effort to see King Solomon. She had heard about him and deemed it worthy of her effort to see him with her own eyes. This is also the first step for all who would be worshipers of the Lord Jesus Christ and of God the Father. We have to make a diligent effort to see God—the Father and the Son—as revealed in the Word of God, and commune with Him.

Having seen and communed with the King, the queen is left to ponder all the glory she beheld in him. “When the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her” (1 Kings 10:4-5). In view of his glory, she was breathless.

How deeply moving is this picture to the soul of the Christian worshiper! How it should inspire us to be in the place where we are able to gaze and reflect upon the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father! Worship takes place when the offerer’s heart and soul are completely lost in wonder and amazement as he gazes upon the Object of his deep admiration.

—Condensed from Prayer and Worship in the Holy Spirit by Humphrey Duncanson