Front Page
Series Contents
Series Theme:  Worship

































































1. Introduction
2. The Verses
3. Conclusion

4. Application
































































1. Introduction
2. The Verses
3. Conclusion

4. Application



















1. Introduction
2. The Verses
3. Conclusion

4. Application


Title:   3. Main New Testament References to Worship


Each of these pages about prayer form part of a series of Worship Seminars. To that end we hope that they will be used to stimulate worship and not merely provide information.

1. Introduction

We simply look at some key verses that specifically mention ‘worship'. We are not looking, here at least, at the many associated verses that could be considered. We'll look at the wider picture later.

If you are concerned about New Testament practices you may wish to go directly to Page 5 which considers 1 Corinthians 14 gatherings, or if you wish to consider basic ways of expressing meaningful worship using the Old Testament model, go directly to Page 6. These first pages seek to consider a wide range of verses from Old & New Testaments in order to focus on just what worship is.

As in the Old Testament we'll simply work our way through verses in the order they come in our New Testament.

We pick up the thread of the Old Testament, where we saw Jeremiah warning against so-called worship while their lives were far from God:


2. The Verses

Matt 15:3-9
Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, `Honour your father and mother' and `Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, `Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to `honour his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: "These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"


1. Again verses of great challenge, now spoken by Jesus to key religious people of the day.
2. Yes, they claimed to worship God but they had distorted the word of God, twisting it to suit themselves, and thus, said Jesus, their so-called ‘worship' was meaningless.

Jn 4:21,23,24
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

1. Jesus introduces us to worship which is not simply outward actions, but something that comes from deep within.
2. Of course, in one sense, Jesus didn't come to bring something new, it had always been the Father's heart for His children to worship Him from their hearts, but with the coming of the Day of Pentecost, His children would enter into a new spirit dimension.
3. All believers are now indwelt by His Spirit (see Jn 14:17b, Rom 8:9, 1 Cor 3:16, 6:19, Eph 2:22) and as we are motivated and energised by His Spirit so we worship Him who is Spirit.
4. The key word for worship used again and again in the N.T. is to do with bowing down before, paying reverence to and even of kissing the hand of a superior as an act of homage and subservience.

Rom 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.


1. Jesus came to usher in a new covenant (see Heb 8:8-13). The old covenant had had regulations for worship (Heb 9:1) but these were but copies or shadows of the real thing that was to come (Heb 9:23, 10:1) and there is no longer any need for us to offer sacrifices for sin as part of our worship (Heb 10:18) because Jesus has become The sacrifice (Heb 9:26-28)
2. Thus Paul can now say that our sacrifice is to be actually our very lives. We don't just do special religious acts to worship God, we worship Him by our very lives now; by the way we lay down our lives to God, available for Him.
3. New Testament worship thus starts with lives that are surrendered to God, that have received His salvation through His Son, that have received His Holy Spirit, and are now led by Him. This is where New Testament worship starts.

Col 2:23
Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence


1. This is a necessary correction to those who would take the idea of living sacrifices in Rom 12:1 to include physical harshness.
2. Giving your body does not mean treating it harshly as some of the people in Colosse had been doing. That had been self-mortification which is a form of self-righteousness, a self-centred thing.
3. No, this sacrifice is simply about surrender to the Lord's will.

Rev 4:10
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power

1. No study on ‘worship' can be complete without reference to the heavenly throne room as revealed to us through John's vision.
2. Worship is seen in the context of the truth about God being proclaimed. When that is being done by the creatures closest to the throne, the human elders respond as is only fitting – they fall down and worship.
3. In heaven when the Lord is visible, the response is to worship.
4. In addition in these verses, note that the twenty four elders are crowned as signs of their ruling role, but before God they cast those crowns down in abject submission. This is the sign of a true worshipper – they submit everything to the Lordship of God.

Rev 7:11
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God


1. In the heavenly vision it is now the angels that we see worshipping.
2. Again worship is expressed as falling down prostrate before God, acknowledging His greatness and His wonder.

Rev 11:16
And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God


1. The heavenly vision is filled with worship but it is always a response.
2. The response is to something being revealed about God or His plans. It is worth, in each case in revelation looking up the surrounding verses to see the content and note the thing about God or His plans that causes the worshippers to fall down.
3. The list of places in Revelation where you see this is: 4:10, 5:14, 7:11, 11:16, 19:4
4. The nature of the response is yet again worship by prostrating before God, acknowledging His superiority and greatness.

Rev 15:2-4
And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: "Great and marvellous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed."


1. Still in the heavenly vision, there is a picture of all the Christians who resisted the enemy and are now in heaven. They know the truth! They know what God has done!
2. They also know the natural outworking of all this: when the nations of the world see the reality of this then ALL will fall down and worship God, because that is the natural and right response to God, the Lord God Almighty, the King of ages.


3. Conclusion

We have observed


  • a warning against annulling so-called worship with twisted beliefs or doctrines
  • Jesus speaking about spirit-worship
  • Paul speaking about worship that is life-sacrificing
  • Paul warning about effort-imposed ‘worship' that creates self-righteousness
  • John revealing heavenly worship, the perfect example of responding to a vision
  • of God where, in every case, the worshippers fall down before God in abject
    submission. This is what worship is.
  • John's revelation that every creature will worship when they see God revealed.


4. Application

As with our Old Testament Study, to avoid it being a merely academic exercise, we need to ask ourselves questions to enable it to be applied to our daily lives:

1. Do I know what it means to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led?
2. Do I know the freedom of being led by the Spirit in worship?
3. Do I see giving my life to God as an act of worship?
4. Does my worship flow out of my relationship with the Lord, or do I use it
to try to please God and make myself feel righteous?


In the New Testament, key uses of worship are in respect of:

• Worshipping God – e.g. Mt 4:10, Jn 4:21-24, 1 Cor 14:25 , Rev 4:120 etc.
• Worshipping Jesus – e.g. Mt 2:2,8,11, 8:2, 9:18 , 14:33 etc.