What Did Jesus Teach About Worship?

Featuring Rick Muchow Posted on September 9, 2008

Jesus said the life of worship is a focused life characterized by prayer. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he told Peter: “Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.” (Mk 14:38, NLT) 

Jesus also taught that authentic worship flows from a heart filled with love for God. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, he said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is a farce, for they replace God's commands with their own man-made teachings.” (Mk 7:7, NLT)
Let me offer three thoughts about Jesus’ teaching on worship:
First, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is filled with lessons about worship: God blesses worshippers (Matt 5:3-12), Worshippers are salt and light to the world ( Matt 5:13-16), Worshippers must obey God’s commands (Matt 5:17-20), Anger and worship (5:21-26), Thoughts matter (5:27-30), Promises (Matt 5:33-37), Always act like your father in heaven (Matt 5:43-48), Good deeds (6:1), Giving (6:2), Praying (Matt 6:9-13), Forgiveness (Matt 6:14), Fasting (Matt 6:16-18), Priorities (Matt 6:19-21), Money (Matt. 6:24), Worry (Matt. 6:25), Condemning others (Matt 7:1-5), Ask God for good things (Matt 7:7-11), No short cuts (Matt 7:13-14), Watch out for false teachers (Matt 7:15-20), Worship is worthless without obedience (7:21-27).

Further, the Lord’s Prayer offers wonderful insight into worship. Often referred to as the Model Prayer, it shows us that not only is prayer an act of worship but the Lord’s prayer also is a prayer of worship, incorporating five themes of worship: “Our Father (Abba) which art in heaven, Hallowed (Hallelujah) be thy name. Thy kingdom come (Maranatha). Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Hosanna): For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” There’s a worship sermon in there! 
Finally, Jesus taught about worship by the way he lived his life. He set a high standard and exceeded it. He completely fulfilled the will of the Father, facing all the same temptations we face without sin. He chose to worship God rather than giving into temptation. (Luke 4:8) He was baptized. He was obedient to the Father by enduring the cross. (Heb 12:2) He observed the Sabbath and taught in the synagogue.(Mk 6:2)  Jesus meditated on Scripture. He sang a hymn.(Mt 26:30)  Peter tells us: “This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived.  He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step by step.” (1 Peter 2:21-22)

Additional teachings by Christ related to worship: 
Prayer: Matt 9:13, Matt 9:38,  Matt. 12:7, Matt:14:23,
Children, Mt 19:13 
Love the lord your God, Mt.  22:37
Follow good teaching, Matt 23:6
Love the Lord your God, Mk 11:24, 12:30
Watch out for false teachers, Mk 12:38
Rebukes faking holiness, Lk 11:42
Jesus commands humility, Lk 11:43, Lk 14:10
No one can serve two masters, Lk 16:13
Spirit and truth, Jn 4:20-24
Worshippers keep commandments, Jn 14:15
Christ’s presence is known by those that keep commandments, Jn 14:21
Jesus warns of the consequences for worshipping God on this Earth, Jn 15:19
Love is better than sacrifice, Mk 12:38

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