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I find this to be an odd question, and I wonder what the author means by "worship". Do they mean singing? If it's singing, then I think the amount and style of singing is going to be unique to each local church. But if we're talking about real, Biblical worship, then that answer is more simple - ALL of it should. ALL of it should be before church, during church, and after church. People often quote Romans 12:1 when trying to give an example of what worship looks like: "Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." So that's worship, right? Worship takes place all day long. It takes place in our hearts, and in our public actions. How are you responding to the driver that cuts you off or tailgates you? That can be an act of worship. Do you stop and give the person without a car a ride home when you see them carrying groceries? That's worship. Do you pray with your children and point them towards Christ? That's worship. Do you conduct your work with character and honesty? That's worship. The thing about Romans 12 is that it starts with the word "therefore", and this is often overlooked. People don't start sentences or thoughts with "therefore". That word is used at the conclusion of an argument, it is used when someone is trying to make a point. And this is no exception. So to understand Romans 12:1, we need to look back at the end of chapter 11. Romans 11:33-36: Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord Or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." ...... Therefore.... God is self-sustaining, He is the Creator of everything. His wisdom beyond comprehending. What is it that we can offer to God that He doesn't already have? There is only one answer - our hearts. Love cannot be love if it is forced, and Christ has given the freedom to love Him or to not love Him. So you worship every day, every moment, when you choose Christ over yourself.
You have not raised a question on worship or even on church worship but whether how much of the latter should be a priority! So let me start by first clarifying the term 'church' before I respond to your question because there is a clear misunderstanding of that term among many people. When people refers to 'church' they normally think, among others, denominations, buildings, priests, canons, bishops, archbishops (even popes) as well rituals, uniforms, dresses, hats, confessions, candles, statutes, services including charges of fees for being a member; for baptisms, for weddings or for funerals. These are the established and formalized groups, some of whom have completely abandoned the teachings of Christ but are businesses. The Church in a true sense is none of these. The church is simply a collective noun used for a group of Christians who share their adoration of Christ and follow His teaching. It is that meaning that Jesus referred to when He talked about a brothers' sinning example. He said “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (Matthew 18:17)”. He referred to the church being two or more witnesses (Matthew 18: 16). Therefore followers of Christ is what is meant by the term 'church'. There are other benefits from being part of the church (community) too. When we are faced with very many pressures from atheists, atheist-scientists, unbelievers, some other faiths and even governments, the belonging to a community gives us inspiration, social and moral support. However, there is also another important reason why we should come together as the church (community sense) and that is because Jesus said “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them (Matthew 18:20)”. This forum, the eBIBLE.COM, is the church because we all are engaged as a community in clarifying and discussing Jesus' teaching and therefore Jesus is with us during these sessions. Now that we have clarified the term let me answer the 'priority' issue. How much should church worship be a priority? The answer is 'none'. Worship is an individual activity. We are not saved collectively as a church but alone as individuals. Our worship of Christ is personal and is between our individual souls and Christ whether we worship alone or with others in the community. We may participate in collective singing, praying, listening, speaking and sharing our faith with others, but our worship is always between our individual souls and our creator.
Worship should be the number one priority/focus. "And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD." (Genesis 24:26) "And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son." (Genesis 24:48) "And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth." (Genesis 24:52) "And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped." (Exodus 4:31) In the Old Testament worship(ed) is to bow down. From the New Testament: "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11) "And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him." (Matthew 28:11) In the New Testamentand according to Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words worship is: "Worship (Verb and Noun), Worshiping: "to make obeisance, do reverence to" (from pros, "towards," and kuneo, "to kiss"), is the most frequent word rendered "to worship." It is used of an act of homage or reverence". (http://www.blbclassic.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4352&t=KJV) Obviously a lot of what's done/performed in churches today is not worship. The broken and humbled heart of a true believer should "worshipfullly" exhault our awesome God and Savior by praising Him along with his wonderful abilities and attributes.
The ongoing "worship wars" among 'churchianity Americana' today is so confusing to those inside and outside and perhaps displeasing to God. A simplistic trilogy pattern could be of essence when two or more are gathered in His name. That pattern goes: I. God's Worthship emphasized. To him be the glory, not our performance(s). II. God's Word should be a major part of this 'service'. III. Then the Work out in the world. After we have praise Him and digested His word, then go out and be the church to world. Anything less than all three could fall flat.
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