Let Us Offer Sacred Worship to God
Worship is indispensable for honoring and serving God. Through worship God’s people receive the forgiveness of all their sins and the blessing of holiness, so they can get closer to God.
Some people think that worship is a time when they just go to church to listen to a sermon. However, worship is not a mere ceremony for listening to sermons from a fluent preacher, but it certainly has a spiritual meaning that we must realize. Every preacher just needs to perform the role of mediating between God and His people and conveying God’s will to them. Through the Bible, let’s review the importance and meaning of worship we offer to God.
The meaning of worship contained in the Old Testament sacrifices
The Old Testament law is only a shadow of the good things to come; it represents the New Testament law that is the reality (Heb 10:1). The regulations for the sacrifices that the Israelites offered to God in the Old Testament times have been replaced by regulations for worship in the New Testament times. So, when we study the Old Testament sacrifices, we can understand the meaning of worship we offer to God in the New Testament times.
The sacrifices in the Old Testament are divided into several types of offerings: the burn offering from a sheep or goat—a sacrifice made by fire as a sweet aroma to God, the grain offering made of fine flour with oil, and the fellowship offering as a way of giving thanks to God for His forgiving grace and making a wish to God. One of the characteristics of the fellowship offering was that the presenter could eat it with the priest. The sin and guilt offerings, a type of burnt offering, have the meaning of redemption from every kind of sin, but there is a slight difference between them in the nature of the sin; the sin offering is required when one commits a sin against God, while the guilt offering is required when a person sins against another person—when that person violates a social law.
“And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty.” Lev 6:6–7
As shown in the regulations for the guilt offering, the Israelites received the forgiveness of their sins by offering sacrifices to God. If there were no sacrifices to God, there would have been no way for their sins to be forgiven by God.
So, worship connects man with God; it is like a ladder that connects heaven and earth. If God did not give us the law of worship, there would’ve been no way for us to receive the forgiveness of our grave sins that we committed against God in heaven, nor would there have been a way to give thanks to God for His grace.
Through worship we should truly give thanks and glory to God for forgiving all our past sins and transgressions completely.
Those who made a covenant with God through worship
The periodical sacrifices used to be offered to God regularly at the appointed times. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,” “These are God’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times.” Saying this, God calls us to worship.
Worship is a time when we meet God. Through worship God gives us His instructions. God teaches us what we must do and what we must avoid in order to be saved, and implicitly tells us to go to Samaria and to the ends of the earth to convey His commands to all people on His behalf.
Responding to God’s call to worship, we keep the weekly Sabbath and Third Day and the yearly feasts holy. We attend worship services to meet God and to give thanks to Him for forgiving all our past sins and blessing us. So, every worship service is important whether it is held on the Third Day or the Sabbath or a feast.
Jesus taught us the importance of worship as follows:
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” Jn 4:21–23
God has said that He seeks the true worshipers who worship Him in spirit and in truth. He has also prophesied that He will send His angels to gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other (Mt 24:31). God is seeking the true worshipers who worship Him properly in order to take them to heaven.
He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: “Gather to me my consecrated ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Ps 50:4–5
God gathers those who made a covenant with Him by sacrifice. The people who made a covenant with God by sacrifice, that is worship, are the ones whom God gathers; they are God’s holy people who will be saved.
There are so many people on the earth who claim to believe in God. God carefully examines their every act to see which of them worship Him sincerely according to the Bible. Without worship, no one could connect with God and there would be no standard for judging whether or not they truly believe in God. The kind of worship they offer determines whether or not they are worthy of being saved.
So, we must not lose this precious opportunity to worship God. In this age when God is gathering His elect from the four winds, we should regard worship as more important and worship God in holiness.
God has made a covenant with us through worship
There are so many different Christian churches and denominations, and they insist on their own doctrines and worship in their own way. Then, what kind of worship belongs to God and contains His promise? This is a matter of great importance for the salvation of our souls. Let’s see through the Bible what kind of worship contains the covenant that God has made with us.
“When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ ” Ex 12:25–27
God gave the Israelites the details of the sacrifices under the law, which they should offer to Him. The most typical one is the Passover, a feast of God. God clearly said, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD.” Those who keep the Passover are the ones who made a covenant with God by sacrifice, and God is gathering these people.
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jer 31:31–34
The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that God would replace the sacrifices of the old covenant, which He established when He led the Israelites out of Egypt, with the sacrifices of the new covenant. In the new covenant God has promised that He will be the God of those who have His law written on their hearts and they will be His people. God has also promised to give them the grace of forgiveness, saying, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
According to this prophecy, Jesus came to this earth and proclaimed the new covenant in Mark’s upper room at the Passover to give us the blessing of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Now we worship God by observing the Passover under the new covenant. This proves that we are the people of heaven whom God seeks. We should take pride in the fact that we are God’s chosen people who keep the feasts in Zion.
The end of those who treat worship with contempt
Some people say, “What is important in worship is not a formality, but the heart.” Of course, our attitude in worship is important. However, the Bible says that one’s faith without deeds cannot save him and it is dead (Jas 2:14–17). Faith must be accompanied by action to be alive.
So, we must not treat the act of worship to God with contempt. Let’s think about the importance of worship we offer today, through some Bible Characters who treated the LORD’s offering with contempt.
This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD’s sight, for they were treating the LORD’s offering with contempt. 1 Sa 2:17
The Bible records that the sin of those who treated God’s offering with con -tempt was very great in His sight. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli the priest, committed the evil act of treating the offering of God with contempt, and they were cursed and killed (1Sa 2:12–34). This shows that we must not treat the act of worship to God with contempt.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? Heb 10:26–29
Through worship under the new covenant, we are given the opportunity to receive forgiveness for the sins we committed when we did not know God. However, if we leave God and wander into sin again after having received the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for those sins, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and punishment.
God has freed us from our sins which we could never pay for except by death. Nevertheless, if we forget the grace of God and sin again, we are like those who deny God’s precious blood of the New Covenant Passover. Can salvation be given to those who insult the Spirit of grace, instead of giving thanks to God for His saving grace? Certainly not!
Once we have received God, we should have a different attitude toward life from the one we had before we knew God. As God’s children, we need to respond to God’s earnest voice calling us, by worshiping God in spirit and in truth.
God’s people continue to meet together
In the Old Testament times, the Israelites had fellowship with God by continually offering sacrifices to Him throughout the year. Every morning and evening they presented the regular burnt offerings and also offered the sacrifices for the weekly Sabbath and the seven annual feasts in three times, so they could communicate with God.
God has replaced the complicated sacrificial system of the Old Testament with the simple system of worship in the New Testament. As a result, we’ve been able to give thanks and glory to God through worship without difficulty. Nevertheless, if we do not participate in the worship of God, we are the ones who have forgotten the grace of God who saved us from mortal sins.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Heb 10:24–25
In the early Church there were some who had the habit of giving up meeting together. The Apostle Paul, who completely followed Christ’s teachings, repeatedly urged the members of the early Church not to follow their bad habit, but to encourage one another all the more by meeting together continually.
In unavoidable circumstances such as a natural disaster, we may worship at home, but except for these cases we need to always meet together for worship, according to God’s teaching. God wants us to be blessed by offering sacred worship to Him, coming together even more as we see the day of salvation approaching. God urges His people to “gather together” before the Day of Judgment, saying that the humble people who do what He commands will be sheltered on that day (Zep 2:1–3).
God has chosen us from among so many people who are living without hope on this earth, and He has made a covenant with us through worship and has clearly revealed His will to take us to heaven. Let us all offer wholehearted and sacred worship to God, so we can receive God’s abundant grace and blessings. Brothers and sisters in Zion! Let us give eternal thanks and glory to our God Elohim for allowing us gracious and beautiful worship services.