What does it mean to worship someone? Maybe to answer that question we should start at the origin of the word. Our English word “worship” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “weorthscripe” which means “to ascribe worth.” Therefore, as we worship God, we are ascribing worth to Him. We are showing how much God means to us.
We do this not only at church, but also in our daily lives. As we study his Word, as we try to live as his children, we show how much God means to us. As we gather together at church for public worship, we also show how much God means to us.
Yet, maybe you have heard someone say, “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian!” That’s true! Going to church doesn’t make someone a Christian. Rather, faith in Christ Jesus as one’s Savior is what makes a Christian.
Although that statement is true (I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian), what attitude often lies behind that statement? Oftentimes those who use that phrase will also say, “I feel closer to God when I am out on the lake, in the woods, in the garden, etc. That’s where I worship God.”
That’s great! We should worship God wherever we are and in everything we do. For the Bible tells us, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The Bible also says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1).
So what’s the problem with that kind of thinking? What’s the problem with seeing nature as our place of worship? Often that is just used as an excuse for not coming to church. What is the problem with nature being your only source of knowledge about God? Although nature can teach us many things about God: his wisdom, his power, etc.; nature can’t teach us about God’s love. It is only in the Bible that we learn about what Jesus has done to save us from our sins.
Therefore, the book of Hebrews gives us the following encouragement: “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Even though we don’t have to go to church to be Christians, as Christians we want to come to church, not only because it is there that we learn about Jesus, but also because we are able to encourage one another. Church isn’t just about what you get out of it, but also what you give. You give glory and praise to God. You also give encouragement to your fellow worshippers. Therefore, let us not give up meeting together in public worship!
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