“Did you go to church?” That is a common question many people have asked others over the years. Perhaps a better question is: “Have you been to worship?” Or perhaps even better, “Did you go to worship?” That question could have a couple of different meanings. First, did you go to a worship service? And second, did you go to worship? In other words, did you go, not to a place that was having a worship serve, but did you to for the purpose of worshiping?
How do we know if we have truly worshiped pen we’ve been to a “worship service?” Just as the prophet Isaiah learned, we should know that there are at least three distinctive things that happen when we truly worship. We see this in Isaiah 6.
1. When we worship, God’s presence is felt (Isaiah 6:1-4). When Isaiah worshiped God, He knew He was in the presence of God. He saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, and the angels calling “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the temple shook at the voice of God, and the house was filled with smoke. We do not see these same manifestations of God that Isaiah saw. However, when we truly worship, we sense God’s presence. We know we have been in His presence. And His presence is unlike any other. And this is the reason why many “worship services” are boring…it’s because God’s presence is never felt. When God’s presence is felt, we experience joy, conviction, peace, confession, etc. It’s many things, but one thing it’s not—it’s not boring!
2. When we worship, God’s pardon is offered (6:5-7). When Isaiah was confronted with the presence of God, He cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” But one of the angels flew to Isaiah, touched his lips with burning coal, and said, “…your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” When we experience God, we understand that He is the powerful, awesome Almighty God…who is also gracious and forgiving.
3. When we worship, God’s purposes are revealed (v. 8). After Isaiah experienced God’s presence and pardon, He understood God’s purposes. If you’ve ever responded to God in obedience during or after a worship service, then you have truly worshiped. If you have applied the message of the Word to your life, then you worshiped. That’s what worship is…it’s revering God for who He is, and responding to God and what He wants. Worship is our response to who God is, and what He wills for our lives.
So, how do you know if you’ve truly worshiped God, or have just attended a “worship service?” Ask yourself…
Did I feel God’s presence? Did I understand God’s pardon? And did I respond to His purposes? If so, then you have truly worshiped!