DNA: Created to Worship God

(Romans 12:1-2)

January 21, 2024

What is worship?

According to Meriam-Webster, that’s a dictionary, Worship: to honor or show reverence for as a divine being or supernatural power

I’d say most of us agree with that response.

When we actually look at the etymology of the word worship, we find that it is directly related to the concept of worthiness.

Another derivation of ‘worship’ is ‘worth-ship’, when you ascribe worth to someone.

There must be worth ascribed to the one that we are worshipping.

Unfortunately this word worship has come to be used very casually in many ways, even in the church we have:

  • Worship Services
  • Worship Centers
  • Worship Leaders
  • Worship Teams
  • Worship Bands
  • Worship Budgets

But what is worship?

For some people it’s ‘singing’, ‘shouting’, ‘raising your hands’, ‘prayer’, or other forms of demonstrative praise.

Worship is not the same as merely singing, shouting, raising your hands, praying, or doing other forms of what we might call adoration to God.

Those things might indicate that worship is happening, OK, but they are not essentially the essence of what worship is.

To put it another way: you can do all of those things (sing, shout, raise hands, pray) and never at all worship God.  

However, you can worship God without doing any of these things.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This verse begins a major new section of Romans

The word therefore tips us off to that.

Paul is shifting in his focus.

Primarily Romans 1-11 is predominantly about doctrine.

And Romans 12-16 is predominantly about application.

To be fair there is application in 1-11 and there is doctrine in 12-16.

But we must have a firm grasp on the doctrine before we can approach the application.

In other words, sound doctrine must always be the basis for godly living.

Let me share an example with you.

The Mormons are very well known for emphasizing the importance of family.

They have very strong family values, but they deny the biblical truth about the person and work of Jesus Christ as Messiah as Paul describes in Romans 1-11.

They deny the deity of Christ, they deny that Jesus was both fully God and fully man and because of that they are not in a right relationship with God.

They have a religion based on works, and they will be condemned at the judgment if they do not repent and trust in Christ alone for right standing before God.

Their house has no foundation.

On the other hand, I have known men who are theologically articulate regarding the great truths of Romans 1-11, but who are mean and unloving towards their wife and children.

What good is the foundation of sound doctrine if you do not build on it love for God and others as He commands?

The world will mock the truth if we do not show it by our godly lives.

In Romans 12-16, Paul builds on the solid doctrine of 1-11, showing us practically how to live as Christians.

In 12:1-2, he sets forth our need to commit ourselves totally to God, which is what we will talk about today.

Remember our core value is DT: WE ARE CREATED TO WORSHIP GOD,

In 12:3, he tells us how to think of ourselves in relation to God and others.

Then in 12:4-21, he spells out how we are to relate in love to others.

The entire chapter is an exposition of the two great commandments: to love God with our total being and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

In Romans 12:1, Paul explains why you should give yourself totally to God as a living sacrifice, and that is because that is our spiritual act of worship

Here at MACC when we say WE ARE CREATED TO WORSHIP GOD we mean:


The idea of glorifying God is that we are honoring God with our entire life.

When Paul was writing to the Corinthians he encouraged them with these words found in 1 Corinthians 10:31, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

To glorify God requires full commitment to Him.

In Colossians 3:23 we read, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”

Something that really irritates me are Christians who don’t work hard.

They look for ways to get out of work and that drives me nuts.

They spend more time trying to visit with others at work than actually doing the work that is assigned to them.

I can tell you that it happens in churches, it happens in factories, it happens on job sites and it just runs all over me.

If you have been employed to do a job, then do the job and stop visiting and wasting the employers money.

It’s a bad reflection on the Kingdom and not how we are to live.

Did you realize that our work is worship to the Lord.

We spend half our lives involved with work.

Yet, we often dismiss work in God’s economy, focusing on more “holy” or “spiritual” matters, neglecting the divine intersection of our jobs and worship.

Some people have developed a mentality that says, “On the days when I don’t feel like my work means anything, I easily flip the switch and just go through the motions.”

But it’s not that simple, how I work is a reflection of the God to whom I gave my heart, my allegiance, and my talents.

We don’t think about the purpose and meaning we bring to our work.

We simply focus on how it makes us feel.

And you can replace work with school or anything else.

Listen folks to honor or glorify God in everything includes having a strong work ethic, even when we work for those we do not like or labor in difficult situations.

Glorifying God in everything means we honor Him in our thoughts and actions.

Our thoughts are to be set on the things of God (Psalm 1) and the Word of God (Psalm 119:11).

When we focus on God’s Word, we know what is right and can follow through with doing what is right.

Jesus always glorified His Father in heaven.

There was never a moment when He did not glorify God.

Our Lord’s every thought, word, and action was totally devoted to the glory of God.

When Jesus faced the temptations of Satan (Matthew 4:1–11), Jesus quoted Scripture all three times.

Jesus was a man of the Word, fully committed to God’s will, and His example in overcoming temptation offers hope to all of us who seek to stand firm during times of testing.

Another way we glorify God in everything we do is in the proper treatment of our bodies.

Listen to Paul’s encouragement to the people of Corinth in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

To glorify God in everything, we must exercise faith (Hebrews 11:6), love without hypocrisy (Romans 12:9), deny ourselves (Luke 9:23), be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” to God (Romans 12:1).

Every area of life is important to evaluate and live to its fullest for the glory and honor of God.

We should strive for every thought and deed to bring joy to our Father in heaven as we live to glorify God.

Next Being Created to Worship God means:


Isaiah 6:1-4, In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;

    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

There can be no true worship unless the worshiper sees the Lord.

When Isaiah saw the Lord in all His honor and glory, he sensed his own unworthiness and he bowed in humility before the Lord.

Then the Lord took away his guilt and atoned for his sin.

This is the result of true worship.

The Father is looking for true worshipers.

The church is called to worship.

This is its ministry to God.

The church at worship is the truest picture of ministry.

We were created to bring glory to God (Isaiah 43:7).

As members of His church, we give Him glory through our worship.

Worship is the church’s highest privilege and duty, and its most important service here on earth.

Worship is also to be the church’s main function in heaven (Revelation 5:8-13).

Let’s look at some reasons why worship is necessary as a ministry to God.

  • Worship Is Necessary Because God Desires That We Worship Him. God created man to worship Him and enjoy fellowship with Him forever. Adam, the first man, enjoyed close fellowship with God. This is what God desired for all mankind. But when Adam sinned he lost his fellowship with God. His sinful nature was passed on to all mankind. But in a sense we might say that Adam also passed on to all mankind a memory of what it is like to be in fellowship with God. That is, Adam’s fellowship with God before he sinned gives an indication of what God wants to restore in our lives through Christ.
  • Man Is Born With A Deep Desire To Worship. All men everywhere have a form of worship because they are all born with a desire to worship. But that does not mean that all forms of worship are correct. Those who are not Christians worship what they consider to be their gods. Many people believe that God and nature are one. To these people nature is God, so they worship it. Others have made themselves gods of many kinds. There are even those who believe in an “unknown God” (Acts 17:23). The result is that they worship ignorantly—they do not even realize how wrong they are. Their worship is empty. The Bible says, “Worship the Lord your God” (Matthew 4:10). Worshiping the Lord satisfies our longing to have fellowship with our Creator.
  • God Reveals Himself To Us When We Worship Him. The true God who created man for worship and who desires worship has made Himself known. He has revealed Himself through His creation, through His Son, through His written Word (the Bible), and through the Holy Spirit. God wants to be revealed through His church also. But to reveal God, the church must first have communion with Him and see His glory. The Apostle Paul describes it like this in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18,  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Next Being Created to Worship God means:


The book of Matthew ends triumphantly.

Jesus has conquered death and risen from the grave.

Just before ascending into heaven, Jesus calls his disciples together for one last meeting.

This is recorded in Matthew 28:16-17, “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him…”

The disciple’s response to the resurrected Christ was a natural one—they bowed down in worship before him.

However, there is an eerie twist to the story.

After reporting that the disciples worshiped Christ, Matthew adds three bone chilling words, “…but some doubted.”

These three words confront us with a disturbing reality.

Face to face with the glory of Christ and in the midst of worshiping him—some still doubted.

Perhaps it wasn’t just Jesus they were doubting.

Maybe they doubted their ability to go on without him, as I’m sure many of us would have if we had been in their place.

But the fact remains that this momentous worship experience was not enough to assuage their doubts and fears.

It was not enough to change them.

The disciples’ experience raises a sobering question: How often do we come away from the most meaningful times of worship completely unchanged?

Unfortunately, too many Christians have a narrow view of worship.

Often worship gets reduced to singing catchy little tunes in church or it is merely an emotional experience that leaves us momentarily inspired.

In our passage this morning (Romans 12:1-2), Paul connects the “spiritual act of worship” with transformation and the renewing of our minds.

And in 2 Corinthians 3:18 he teaches us that when we behold or contemplate God’s glory, we are “transformed into his likeness.”

Therefore, worship is so much more than an emotional “feel good” experience.

It is more than a program at church or a concert by a favorite worship leader.

Worship is also participatory.

It is not something done to me by a worship band.

In fact, worship is not about me at all and it’s not about you at all; worship is all about God.

And if we allow it, worship can transform us, it can change our lives, not our emotional state but our very lives.

Worship awakens a desire to change by challenging our spiritual status quo.

Certain hymns and praise choruses, when taken seriously, are guaranteed to rock your boat.

Who can sing the classic hymns I Surrender All, Have Thine Own Way, or All for Jesus without fully considering the implication of those words?

Worship challenges us to take an honest look within.

As Howard L. Rice describes, facing one’s moral shortcomings is never easy: “God requires honesty from us, and such honesty can be painful. Because God knows us better than we know ourselves, pretending will not work. God’s knowledge of us demands that we come to terms with who we really are.”[1]


Finally Being Created to Worship God means:


Jesus had a life changing encounter with an outcast of outcast in Sychar at a well in the middle of the day.

Jesus encountered the well known, Woman At The Well, and in a discourse on worship he revealed to her his great statement about worship in John 4:24, God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

To say that we must worship God “in spirit” means, among other things, that it must originate from within, from the heart; it must be sincere, motivated by our love for God and gratitude for all he is and has done.

Worship cannot be mechanical or formalistic.

That does not necessarily rule out certain rituals or liturgy.

But it does demand that all physical postures or symbolic actions must be infused with heartfelt commitment and faith and love and zeal.

But the word “spirit” here may also be a reference to the Holy Spirit—there’s disagreement among good Bible scholars.

The apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:3, For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—

The word serve here in Philippians 3 is the same word for worship in Romans 12 it’s the Greek word λατρεία and it means worship.

The point is, it’s the Holy Spirit who awakens in us an understanding of God’s beauty and splendor and power.

It’s the Holy Spirit who stirs us to celebrate and rejoice and give thanks.

It’s the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to see and savor all that God is for us in Jesus.

It’s the Holy Spirit who, I hope and pray, orchestrates our services and leads us in corporate praise of God each and every week.

This worship, however, must also be “in truth.”

This is easier for us to understand, for it obviously means that our worship must conform to the revelation of God in Scripture.

It must be informed by who God is and what he is like.

Our worship must be rooted in and tethered to the realities of biblical revelation.

God forbid that we should ever sing heresy.

Worship is not meant to be formed by what feels good, but by the light of what’s true.

Genuine, Christ-exalting worship must never be mindless or based in ignorance.

It must be doctrinally grounded and focused on the truth of all we know of our great Triune God.

To worship inconsistently with what is revealed to us in Scripture ultimately degenerates into idolatry.


Some prefer to worship only “in S/spirit” but could care less about truth.

In fact, they think focusing on truth has the potential to quench the Spirit.

The standard by which they judge the success of worship is the thrills and chills they experience.

Now, make no mistake, worship that doesn’t engage and inflame your heart is worthless.

Jesus himself criticized the worship of the religious leaders in his day by saying in Matthew 15:7-9, You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,

    but their hearts are far from me.

9 They worship me in vain;

    their teachings are merely human rules.’”

True worship must engage the heart and the mind, the totality of our being.

But any affection or feeling or emotion stirred up by error or false doctrine is worthless.

Others prefer to worship only “in truth” and are actually offended when they or others feel anything or experience heightened emotions.

Not long ago I heard of a pastor who had said, “I often wish that we wouldn’t sing or have music, but that I could simply see and say the words or the lyrics that express biblical truth. I don’t like being distracted by the emotions that rise up in me when we sing to musical accompaniment.”

What I understand him to be saying, is, I want to keep my heart out of it.

By all means, let us sing only what is true.

But to do so without engaging our hearts is unthinkable.

Perhaps you’ve seen this statement by John Piper, one worth seeing again:

Truth without emotion produces dead orthodoxy and a church full of artificial admirers. . . . On the other hand, emotion without truth produces empty frenzy and cultivates shallow people who refuse the disciple of rigorous thought. But true worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine. Strong affections for God rooted in truth are the bone and marrow of biblical worship.

Many would insist this is simply impossible.

The human soul, they say, can’t simultaneously hold such seemingly conflicting realities.

You’ll eventually default to one side or the other.

Some insist you can’t focus on the truths of God’s Word without turning into an hyper-intellectual, arrogant elitist, while others argue you can’t cultivate heartwarming, emotionally uplifting celebrations without deviating from Scripture and succumbing to unbridled fanaticism.

I beg to differ.

Better still, Jesus begs to differ.

The Bible itself begs to differ.

God forbid that we should ever find ourselves individually or as a church failing to worship God in both S/spirit and truth.

Some here in our fellowship believe that there’s too much emotion at MACC, while others insist there’s too much doctrine.

Some will say we’re too experiential in our worship, while others contend we’re too theological.

Personally, I don’t think you can be too much of either, so long as both are embraced and God is honored.

None of this means you have to worship the way other people at your church do.

If the truth of God’s Word moves you to lift your hands, dance, or shout aloud, God bless you.

If the truth of God’s Word leads you into solemn reverence, as you remain seated and immovable, God bless you.

But let’s make certain that in either case we are worshiping in both S/spirit and truth.

For it is just such people the Father is seeking because we are CREATED TO WORSHIP GOD.

[1] Howard L. Rice, Reformed Spirituality: An Introduction for Believers (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991), p. 198.

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