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Is There A Difference Between Serving & Worshipping God?

Introduction:  The words "worship" and "service" are connected and at times used interchangeably; "Going To Services" or "Worship Services".  Yet we often make a distinction between "Bible Classes" and "Worship Services." 

Questions: Is everything we do as Christians worship to God?  Can a person be worshipping God and not know about it?  Can a person designate what they are doing as their worship to God?  Example: playing basketball, belly dancing, strippers for Jesus, etc.  Can I accidentally worship God? 

I)  Definitions

A) Service --  to serve, work, attend to

1.  In the New Testament --diakonia-- attendence, aid as a servant, ministry, relief, Romans 16.2; doileuo --  be a slave, bond servant, Romans 1.1; latreue to minister to, John 16.2.

2. Servant -- one under another's authority, i.e. a slave, a hired hand.

B) Worship -- to bow down to, kiss the feet of, to pay homage to

1. Israelites were to only worship God, Exodus 20.4.  To not bow down and pay homage to idols.

2.  Only God is worthy of worship, Matthew 4.10.

II) A Distinction Between the Two Terms

A) as Christians we serve God in every area of our lives, Romans 12.1-2

1.  Husbands/wives are serving God as they obey His laws on marriage and how to deal with each other, Colossians 3.18-20.

2.  This requires us to have the proper attitude toward God so as to have the proper attitude toward each other, Ephesians 6.5-7.

B)  Worship is a specific part of our service

1.  Various passages that shows a distinction between worshipping God and serving God:

a. Genesis 22.5 Abraham feared God and left his homeland, he was a servant of God but now he was about to go and "worship" God. 

b.  Isaiah 44.15 describes a man as he makes an image and "worships"

c.  Romans 1.22-25 see the distinction and connection between worshipping idols and serving idols.

d.  The Ethiopian Eunuch went to Jerusalem so as to "worship" Acts 8.27

e. Jesus made the distinction in Matthew 4.10.

2.  Jesus spoke of worship being at a specific location, John 4.20-24.

3.  Can compare "worship" and "service" to being similar to apostles and disciples.

a.  All apostles were disciples but not all disciples were apostles.

b.  Likewise, all worship is serving God but not all serving is worship.

III) True Worship Vs. Vain Worship, John 4.24

A) Not all worship is "true worship"

1.  Deut. 12.4, 31 shows that God rejected their worship

2.  God prescribes the worship He will accept.

B)  Must have the right object -- God

1.  Vain worship occurs when we worship something or someone else, Acts 17.23

2.  There can be only one object of our worship, that is God. 

a.  2 Corinthians 6.14ff Cannot worship two Gods at the same time.

b.  This is an exclusive relationship

C)  In the way prescribed by God -- in truth, John 17.17; Romans 10.17

1.  How did the disciples worship God -- Acts 2.42, Romans 10.1; 1 Corinthians 10 & 11 plus other passages teaches us that we worship God (bow down and pay homage to him) in our prayers, the Lord's Supper, preaching, giving, singing.

2.  This excludes praying to another God, or offering prayers in the name of Mary, or playing a piano in addition to singing, etc.

3.  This also excludes:  playing basketball, dancing, sewing, etc.

D) The "spirit"

1. Worship involves our heart, purpose, and intent, Matthew 15.8-9

2.  I can eat unleavened bread and drink grape juice and not be worshipping God.

3. The same for singing, or teaching, or even being baptized.  God is never pleased with heartless worship.

V) Worship is Not Confined

A) To one  place, John 4.20ff

1. Not limited to a "church building" Acts 5.12; or one hour, Acts 20.7.

a.  We can worship in a home, at a rented place, at 1 PM or 8 AM.

b.  The one limitation  is the Lord's Supper being on the first day of the week.

2. Can involve the congregation as the whole church comes together.

3.  Can involve additional individual worship, Acts 16.25.

Conclusion:  Not all we do is worship toward God but all we do should be in service to Him.  Proper worship is defined by God's word and any other would be vain worship.  In order to  worship God one must first be a child of God.  One cannot be in sin and be in fellowship  with God. 


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