on May 13, 2018

May 13: Growth Group Guide

bible study guide

leader guide

 

Worship... For the Purpose of Godliness

Chapter 5

Central Idea:

Worship -- focusing on and responding to God -- is the duty and privilege of all people. Worship usually includes words and actions but goes beyond them to the focus of our hearts and minds. God expects us to worship Him, our Creator, in spirit and according to the truth of Scripture. We cannot become godly without worshiping Him, but it is possible to worship Him in vain (See Matthew 15:8-9). As we learn the Spiritual Discipline of worship, we will become more like Jesus and understand and appreciate how worthy He is of our worship.

Jesus Himself reemphasized and obeyed the Old Testament command, “...worship the Lord your God...” (See Matthew 4:10). It is the duty (and privilege) of all people to worship their Creator. “Oh come, let us worship and bow down” says Psalm 95:6, “let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! God clearly expects us to worship. It’s our purpose!

Worship is... Focusing on and Responding to God:

To worship God means to ascribe the proper worth to God, to magnify His worthiness of praise, or better, to approach and address God as He is worthy. Notice how those around the throne of God in Revelation 4:11 and 5:12 address God as “worthy” of so many things. The more we focus on God, the more we understand and appreciate His infinite worth. As we understand and appreciate this, we can’t help but respond to Him. The more we truly comprehend God, we will in turn respond to Him more in worship.

All the worship of God -- public, family, and private worship -- should be based upon and include the Bible, because it reveals God to us so that we may focus on Him. Bible reading and preaching are central in public worship because they are clearest, most direct, most extensive presentations of God in the gathering. Worship is the God-centered focus and response of the soul; it is being preoccupied with God.

 
 

Worship is...Done in Spirit and Truth:

Before we can worship in spirit and truth, we must have within us the One who is the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17), that is, the Holy Spirit. He lives only within those who have come to Christ in repentance and faith. Without Him true worship will not happen. To worship God in spirit is to worship from the inside out. It also necessitates sincerity in our acts of worship. The balance to worshiping in spirit is to worship in truth. To worship intruth means to worship according to the truth of Scripture. We should worship God according to the truths He has revealed about himself in Scripture, not as we might want Him to be. We should worship God how He says we should worship Him in the Bible.

Worship is... Expected both Publicly and Privately:

According to Hebrews 10:25, God expects His people to participate regularly in worship gatherings with other believers, warning specifically about “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some...” We need public worship as much as these Jewish Christians in Hebrews 10:25 did. There’s an element of worship and the Christian life that can never be experienced in private worship or by watching worship.

On the other hand, no matter how fulfilling or sufficient our regular public worship celebration seems, there are experiences with God that He gives only in our private worship. We must never forget that God expects us to worship privately so He can bless us. We minimize our joy when we neglect the daily worship of God in private. Think of it: The Lord Jesus Christ stands ready to meet with you privately for as long as you want; willing -- even eager-- to meet with you every day!

Worship is...a Discipline to be Cultivated:

Jesus said, “...worship the Lord your God...” (Matthew 4:10). To worship God throughout a lifetime requires discipline. Without discipline, our worship of God will be thin and inconsistent. Worship must be much more than discipline, more than simply the proper expression of the correct words and form. Worship can’t be calculated or produced. Instead it is evoked; it’s the response of a heart evoked by the beauty, glory and allure of the object of your mental focus -- Holy God. And yet, we must also consider worship a spiritual discipline. Worship, like the other disciplines, as well as all relationships, must be cultivated in order for them to remain healthy and grow.

Worship is a Spiritual Discipline insofar as it is both an end and a means. The worship of God is an end in itself because to worship, as we’ve defined it, is to focus on and respond to God. There is no higher goal or greater spiritual pleasure than focusing on and responding to God. But worship is also a meansin the sense that it is a means to godliness. The more we truly worship God, the more--through and by means of worship--we become like Him.

 

Opening Questions:

This past week you were asked to link your Bible reading to prayer through biblical meditation. How did that go? Share your experience with the group.

What thoughts does the word worshipbring to your mind? Why?


Think about a time when you really felt close to God in worship. What do you think 
made that time so meaningful?

 

Worship is... Focusing on and Responding to God:

Do you agree that “Godliness without the worship of God is unthinkable? Why or Why not?

Describe what it means to worship God in vain. (See Matthew 15:8-9.)

What do the following passages reveal about worship: John 20:28; Revelation 4:8; 5:12-13?

According to the following verses, in what ways has God revealed Himself to us so that we might focus on Him?

  • John 1:1,14; Hebrews 1:1-2 -

  • Romans 1:20 -

  • 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21 -

 

Worship is... Done in Spirit and Truth:

What does John 4:23-24 reveal about how God desires His people to worship?

What do you think this text means: “To worship God in spirit is to worship from the inside out”?

What is the difference between worshiping God as He is revealed in the Bible and worshiping Him as you might want Him to be?

How can you “Delight yourself in the LORD,...” in your worship (Psalm 37:4)? 

 

Worship is... Expected both Publicly and Privately:

What is God’s view of corporate worship? (See Hebrews 10:25.)

  • How does this verse conflict with the common assumption that religion is an individual matter only?

What happens in your life when you neglect the daily worship of God in private?

What does Christ’s willingness to meet with us privately in worship at any time reveal about His character?

 

Worship is...a Discipline to be Cultivated:

In what ways is it difficult to ask others for help in developing godliness through public and private worship?

Why do you think it seems easier to worship God one day a week instead of worshiping Him seven days a week? Is one-day-a-week worship even possible? Explain your answer.

Many Christians believe they have “worshiped” if they merely attend church on Sunday. How does what you’ve read and learned in this Bible study expand this perspective of worship?

 

Purposeful Prayer:

  • Focus your mind and heart on the worthiness of God and praise Him for who He is.

  • Thank Him for His willingness to meet with you in worship every day.

  • Allow your deep feelings for Him to well up within you and express them in words of praise and adoration.

What steps can you take this week to improve your private worship...your public worship?