In Matthew 4:9 we see the first time that Jesus explicitly talked about worship. Satan brought Jesus to the top of a mountain and told Jesus that He could have all the kingdoms of the world if He would fall down and worship him. Jesus responded with a paraphrase of Deuteronomy 6:13 and said, “You shall worship the Lord your God…” When we look at the wording in Deuteronomy, it says, “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him…”
Jesus knew that Satan wanted more than to just see him in a certain physical posture. Satan wanted to be feared and served. The “fear of the Lord” is a daily attitude that should motivate and direct our service to Him. That sacrifice of service is central to worship.
Romans 12:1-2 emphasizes this point. Paul calls to mind the great mercies of God that he described in the first eleven chapters of Romans and begs us by those mercies to present our bodies to God. The word for present is one that would be used of the priest as he brought an offering. Paul admonishes us to present or offer our bodies. This is not some kind of abstract concept or feeling. Our physical bodies should be used in God’s service because of the mercy He showed us by purchasing us (1 Cor. 6.19-20).
Verse one also describes it as a spiritual or reasoned worship. It is not just giving God our flesh and blood. It is devoting all we do with our bodies to Him. This is our reasoned, spiritual act of worship or service to Him. The priests served God by the things they did in the temple and we worship the Lord by doing everything as an act of worship and service to Him. When we worship God this way our lives are transfigured from being conformed to the thinking and mores of this age to being in line with the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
In the last half of Colossians three Paul illustrates how each relationship in a believer’s life is transformed and defined by our relationship with the Lord. We do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks to Him. We worship Him through our daily sacrifice of service.
The church marquee said “God doesn’t want visitation rights. He wants full custody.” That captures the idea of worship. Worship is not just 10% of our income, twenty minutes each morning, one day a week, or even a couple weeks on a mission’s trip each year. God deserves and desires for us to worship Him with all our assets and all our actions every day each week of every year He gives us.
Proverbs 21.27 says that, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination.” If we live like the world all week and try to present a pious looking praise on Sunday, God finds it detestable. Our Sunday praise is a delight when it confirms our daily offering of service to God. When we fear and serve the Lord by the daily presenting of our body as an obedient, living sacrifice, we have mastered the central part of worship.