There are ways to worship God: singing; praying; offering of our means; preaching; and the Lord’s Supper. But what makes these things to be worship? Simply obeying a command does not necessarily make that act worship. Some may practice the form of “rituals” without ever having truly worshiped God. Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24 ASV). But how do we worship in spirit and truth?
We understand that we must worship acceptably. Hebrews 12:28 admonishes us to “offer to God acceptable worship” (ESV). We most certainly desire the form of our worship to be well pleasing or acceptable to God. Hebrews 9:1 tells us that “even the old covenant had ordinances (“regulations” ESV) of divine service.” The implication, of course, is that there are regulations for New Testament worship as well (male leadership in worship; singing with your hearts as the instrument; observance of the Lord’s Supper on every first day of the week, etc.). The Old Testament warns against unauthorized worship (Ex. 30:9 & Lev. 10:1)
We understand that we must worship successfully. The christians in ancient Corinth had corrupted their observance of the Lord’s Supper. They assembled together but were divided into schisms (I Cor. 11:18). They came for a spiritual purpose but fulfilled physical desires (I Cor. 11:20-21). They were in a position to edify their brethren, but shamed those who were hurting (I Cor. 11:22). Instead of a spiritual feast, they engaged in physical gluttony (I Cor. 11:23-26). In correcting their practices, Paul shows us what makes for successful worship.
Our worship must be according to the pattern. Paul reminded the Corinthians of what Jesus had done and exhorted them to follow the pattern (I Cor. 11:23-25). Christians are to strive for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints (Jd. 3) and hold to the spiritual and obligatory traditions handed down to us by God (II Thess. 2:15; Matt. 28:19-20).
Our worship must be a proclamation of the faith. When observing the Lord’s Supper, Paul said it should be not only a memorial but also a proclamation of the faith held by the individuals assembled and the corporate assembly (I Cor. 11:26). If our worship does proclaim the faith once and for all delivered, it is either not true worship or it is not true faith.
Our worship must be a time of personal examination. I Corinthians 11:27-32 emphasizes the fact that worship is a time when individual Christians “prove (“examine” ESV) themselves” (11:28). When Christians approach the most holy God of Heaven in worship, the perfection of God highlights the imperfections sin has created in our own lives. This is the ordeal which Isaiah found himself in which is recorded in Isaiah 6. Although Isaiah recognized his sinfulness, God purified him and sent on an evangelistic mission. This should pattern should follow our worship services as well.
Our worship must also be a time of corporate edification. The Corinthians had apparently made a buffet out of the memorial feast and had neglected the poor among them in this sin (I Cor. 11:33-34). Christians should be considerate to all people, but especially as we worship together. The worship assembly should be a time for the congregation to be edified. Notice that a specific function of singing to God is to teach the congregation (Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16). I Corinthians 14:13-40 emphasizes the importance of edification which flows from the corporate worship of God.

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