by John E. Werhan
We live in an entertainment society; many people constantly seek to have their senses stimulated by some form of entertainment. Just think about how many people spend hours and hours watching television, playing video games, using the internet, etc, for a variety of entertainment experiences.
On the other hand, consider the amount of money that people spend each year traveling to various places partaking of entertainment such as sporting events, concerts, vacation destinations, etc. It is without question that our society has an insatiable appetite for entertainment.
Sadly, this desire for entertainment has found its way into what some call “Christian Worship.” Many of the religious organizations in our society have become more entertainment oriented in their assemblies. They have traded “worship that is directed to God” for “entertainment directed toward man.”
Jesus in His conversation with the woman of Samaria gives us an easy answer to what we are to worship. He said, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
As Jesus himself was being tempted in the wilderness, he tells Satan, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Matthew 4:10).
It is evident by the words of Jesus that our worship must be toward God and Him alone. When we assemble to “worship”, it is to give glory to God, not for man to receive glory. Yes, as we glorify God in our worship assemblies we will receive blessings, but our focus must be on what we are giving to God, not on what we will receive.
“The principal New Testament word (59 times) is proskuneo, “kiss (the hand or the ground) toward,” hence, often in the oriental fashion bowing prostrate upon the ground; accordingly, “prostrate oneself.”
It is to render homage to men, angels, demons, the Devil, the “beast,” idols, or to God. It is rendered 16 times to Jesus as a beneficent superior; at least 24 times to God or to Jesus as God. It is always translated worship. When one is assembling to “worship God” then that worship must be totally focused on Him.
God is the audience and people are doing the worshiping. Anyone or anything that takes the focus off of God becomes the object of worship and God is robbed of His rightful place in the assembly and in the hearts of man.
When we allow our “worship assemblies” to become entertainment, we move the focus from God to those doing the entertaining. Paul wrote concerning the Gentiles that they had, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25).
These people in Rome were exchanging true worship of God for idolatry. Anything that takes the place of God, whether in worship or one’s life, becomes idolatry.
Worship is not to be for the purpose of exalting man or for the purpose of entertaining man. True God instituted worship is for the purpose of giving praise and glory to the Great Creator. Nothing else is true worship.
God alone must be our focus of worship. He alone should be considered the audience. All we do in our worship assemblies should be arranged with God in mind as the audience, the one who is being glorified.
John is the preacher for the Northeast church of Christ in Sentinel, OK