Answers from Heaven
Section 1 - Worship (Basic)
(Click for Advanced)
This first section of the Answers from Heaven Bible Study series deals with the idea of "Worship." It looks at who Yahweh (God) is, who we are, and why the spiritual part of one's life is just as important as the physical or mental parts. In the Bible, Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ, the Son of God) tells us that the most important instruction His Father has ever given us is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matthew 22:37) In order to do this, in order to truly worship Him, we must first know a few things about Him, and about ourselves.
The questions below are presented for your consideration. Included as suggestions for answers and discussion are the references to Bible verses; however, the verses themselves are not quoted here. This is so that teachers and students can look them up in whatsoever version of the Bible they prefer.
Question 1: Who is God?
Bible Verses: 1 John 4:8, 1 John 1:5, Psalm 99:9, Psalm 116:5, Deuteronomy 32:4, Job 36:5, Exodus 34:7, Jeremiah 29:11, 2Samuel 22:32-33, Matthew 6:26-33, John 3:16
Notes: There are a number of ways to answer the question of who God is. The verses above take two approaches. The first set (1 John 4:8 to Exodus 34:7) answers the question by looking at His characteristics, those things about His nature that make Him who He is. The second set (Jeremiah 29:11 to John 3:16) answers the question by looking at the things that He does because of those characteristics. These verses tell us about the things He wants for us, and what He has shown us about Himself by these things.
What we discover, by looking at the total picture, is that God is loving, powerful, and full of wisdom. Because He is fair, God also punishes evil - this is for the safety and happiness of everyone that would be harmed by wrongdoing. Because of this, the "judgment of God," that many people fear, is actually a good thing for those who worship Him and avoid evil.
Question 2: What does it mean that God is "Holy?"
Bible Verses: 1 Thessalonians 4:7, Ezekiel 44:23, Hebrews 7:26, Leviticus 10:10, Leviticus 20:26, Leviticus 19:2
Notes: The word "Holy" appears many times in the Bible. What does it mean? This is an important question since, based on the verses for question 1, we are told that the reason we should worship God is because He is Holy. In the verses above, we see that this has to do with separation from evil, and from impurity. We also see that if we are worshippers of God, we also are considered "holy," and therefore to be separate from these things as well.
Question 3: Why are we told to worship God?
Bible Verses: Psalm 138:2, Psalm 43:4, Psalm 28:7, 1 Chronicles 16:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18
Notes: Some people have asked, "If God is so powerful and mighty, why does He need people to worship Him?" As the verses above show, the true blessings of worship are for those who offer it. By acknowledging the glory of God, we gain joy as well as moral and spiritual strength. Worship transforms us into more spiritual beings, as our Father intends. As we behold Him with spiritual sight through the act of worship, we ourselves draw closer to glory, and partake of His divine spirit and nature.
Question 4: How do we know that God loves us?
Bible Verses: Psalm 116:5, Deuteronomy 10:18, Hebrews 13:5, John 15:13, John 10:18, Hebrews 12:6, 1 John 4:16-19, Revelation 1:4-5
Notes: Biblical love is more than just an emotion. It is a commitment. It is an active, living presence, and it shows itself in words and actions. The greatest of the actions that show love is that of "sacrifice," and the verses above show us that God has sacrificed more than we can understand in order to bring us close to Him. We love Him, and offer Him worship, because He first loved us, and showed us how.
Question 5: What does the death of Yahshua (Jesus Christ) have to do with the worship of God?
Bible Verses: Matthew 16:16, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, 1 Peter 5:10-11, Acts 4:10-12, Acts 2:36-42
Notes: When Yahshua, the Son of God, surrendered Himself to death for mankind's sake, this was the clearest revelation of the character of the Father that the universe had ever witnessed. Because of this reconciling act of love, those who heard and believed these things were converted to Christianity. They became followers of this Savior, who was crucified and then raised back to life, and who teaches us to worship His Father because of His great love.
Question 6: Why do we need the sacrifice of Christ?
Bible Verses: Colossians 1:16-17, Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Isaiah 53:4-11, 1 John 4:9-10, Romans 3:23-26, Hebrews 9:27-28
Notes: Sin, to give a very basic definition, is a state of being that separates us from God. The result of this is death for the sinner, because God is also the source of our life. As the Colossian verses explain, it is only the power of God through Christ that keeps the universe together, and sin is that destructive force that would disrupt this.
Because all have committed sin, Christ's perfect life is offered as "propitiation," (KJV) or "expiation," (RSV) which means a payment, or an appeasement. By accepting Christ as our substitute, we may be reconciled unto God, and brought once again into harmony with His original plan for mankind: to be everlasting and joyful creatures.
Question 7: Why do we need the resurrection of Christ?
Bible Verses: 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Romans 5:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Romans 6:4
Notes: Being forgiven for sin is only the beginning of the Christian journey. Following that is a process of growth called "sanctification." Thereafter, seeing loved ones whom we have lost being resurrected in the Day of Judgment, and being taken to glory ourselves, these are scenes that the apostles instruct us to look for with eager anticipation.
Because Christ was raised back to life, we know that death is not the end for humanity. We know that resurrection to life without end is the result of a faithful earthly experience, both for those who have passed away, and those who remain alive and faithful when He returns to establish His kingdom.
While this life lasts, the resurrection of Christ is the promise of things to come, and the example of the glory to which we are called in our daily conduct.
Question 8: What should our response be to the love of God as demonstrated by the Cross?
Bible Verses: Acts 2:36-37, Deuteronomy 7:9, John 14:15, 1 John 5:3, 2 John 1:6, Deuteronomy 5:29
Notes: Some of the verses from the second chapter of Acts are repeated here, this time to examine the reactions of those who had heard about the crucifixion of Christ. We also see, in connection with the love of God, several verses that speak about obedience to His commandments. If an imperfect human being said to us, "Prove you love me by obeying what I say," we might have cause to be concerned. However, because of who God is (See Question 1) we know that His character is that of wisdom and love. We trust, then, that the instructions He gives us are for our own great blessing, as the verse in Deuteronomy 5 makes clear. In this way our obedience is a demonstration of our trust in Him, an important aspect of worship.
Question 9: How do we worship God?
Bible Verses: Psalm 28:7, Psalm 33:1, Psalm 100:4, Ephesians 5:19, John 4:24, Isaiah 66:23, Zechariah 14:16, John 13:35, James 1:26-27
Notes: The worship of God can be expressed in many ways. Songs of praise, testimonies of thanksgiving, and a dedication to truth and integrity are examples. Participation in times appointed for worship (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) also forms an important part of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
As the verse from John's Gospel reveals, those who are Disciples of Christ, following His example of life and faith, are known to be His because of their love for one another.
Additionally, the Apostle James gives us a very practical view of "religion," which is another way of expressing worship toward God. He tells us that kindness toward others, defense of the needy, and maintaining purity of life are examples of true worship.
Question 10: Is worship designed only for special occasions, or particular days?
Bible Verses: Philippians 4:4, Psalm 16:8, Luke 18:1, Galatians 4:18, Ephesians 5:20, Ephesians 6:18
Notes: For some, the concept of "worship" does not occur to them outside of weekly religious meetings, or when praying in times of trouble. The mark of a faithful servant of Yahweh is consistency in the way that faith is applied to life.
There is never a "wrong" time to rejoice in the Almighty, to be thankful to Him, or to call Him to mind. Paul tells us in Romans 1:28 that those who do neglect to retain Yahweh in their minds fall prey to all kinds of temptations.
Question 11: Why doesn't everyone worship God?
Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 2:14, John 3:19, 1Timothy 1:5-7, Acts 20:30, 2 Peter 2:18-20
Notes: Because God is holy, and therefore separate from sin, those who desire sin, and who do not want to obey the instructions that God has given to us for our benefit, avoid Him. They do not like to think about Him, or talk about Him, and they sometimes become angry when others do. They will often try to come up with arguments that deny the presence of Yahweh, or the reality of His desire for us to lead pure, faithful lives.
Sometimes, the worst enemies of the Biblical faith are former Bible students, or even present ones who do not understand the message that It reveals. This is why it is important to judge people's words, not by their reputation, age, or experience, but by their agreement with the Word of God.
Question 12: Does the Bible provide words of comfort for those who are new to the idea of worship?
Bible Verses: 2 Samuel 22:3, Psalm 4:5, Isaiah 12:2, Hebrews 10:23, Titus 1:1-2, 2 Peter 3:13, Jude 1:24-25
Notes: One of the clearest messages that the Bible provides is that God is worthy of our trust. He loves to promise us great things, and then to fulfill those promises in ways even greater than we had imagined.
Among the greatest of promises that God has given to mankind is that of freedom from sin, and everlasting life as a result of this freedom. He has begun to fulfill that promise even in this life, by drawing us near to Him and keeping us from falling, a divine truth that we affirm whenever we worship in His name.
Here are some questions that a teacher may ask a Bible student in order to facilitate a discussion on the major topics of this section. By telling of their own experiences, and giving their testimony, Bible teachers can use these to guide the conversation toward the upcoming chapters of the study series.
Note that these do not have to be taken in order, and not all need to be asked. The conversation should be natural, free, and with the purpose of discovering the needs of the student that the Biblical faith can meet.
1) Do you believe that studying the Bible can teach you more about God, and how to serve Him?
2) What has been your experience with worship in the past?
3) Has your previous religious experience left you fulfilled?
4) If it has not, why do you think that is?
5) Are you thankful for the life that God has given you?
6) Do you believe that God is happy with the life that you are living now?
7) Would you like to be sure that your life is pleasing to God?