The living God dwells where His people worship, and life happens where He dwells. It is my conviction, therefore, that the life-flow of a church congregation will rise only as high as their worship of the Godhead. We cannot underestimate the importance of teaching the Word of God, but the Word itself reveals that worship is what the Christian Church is all about.
The book of Ephesians says that we who trust in Christ are to be "to the praise of His glory" (1:12), "built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit" (2:22). Peter describes the people of God as "living stones . . . being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5). Each member of the Body is a part of the temple of the Lord, summoned to be a "living stone" of His dwelling.
God is looking for a place to dwell. We know of nowhere else in the universe except earth where God is not praised or welcomed. In the words of Jesus Himself, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20). During His ministry, Jesus had no home. When He was born, there was no room at the inn (Luke 2:7). In one sense, this is just an interesting analogy, but in another, it is a dramatic demonstration of the fact that God has a hard time finding a place to be on this planet.
In order for the foundation of our "spiritual house" to be firmly established, it is important that we understand the biblical grounds for worship. These derive from the saga of loss and recovery of humankind's fellowship with the Almighty God.
Stage 1: Lost Authority
Humanity is given dominion of the planet and gives it away.
In Genesis 1:26, we see humankind given rule and dominion over the earth: "Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion . . . over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'"
Authority over this planet and all its creatures was delegated to Adam from the Creator. Adam was given everything and was asked to obey God in only one thing. In violating that one thing, not only did Adam lose relationship with God, but also the dominion he had been given was lost (see Genesis 3).
Had that been all, it would have been bad enough. Man now lives on the planet without the right to rule over it, his relationship with the Creator has been severed and he must earn his living by the sweat of his brow. Loss of dominion also means that we now have an animal kingdom in turmoil.
And there is more. The consequences of Adam's disobedience are far greater. When Adam violated the trust God gave him by obeying the suggestions of another being, Adam submitted himself to another power. By so doing, he transferred the title deed to this planet into the hands of the serpent—Satan—whom Jesus referred to as "the prince of this world" (John 12:31, kjv). When Satan showed Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" and propositioned Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:8-9), Jesus denied the terms, but He did not challenge Satan's right to make the offer.
The Kingdom of God, intended to be administrated by man on earth, has been crowded off the planet by the kingdom of darkness. God could have taken back rulership, of course, but His desire has always been that the human race He created should rule the planet. Dominion was lost because of man's choice. God, out of His unfathomable nature of love, gave humankind the freedom to make that choice, just as He now graciously invites human beings to choose to receive eternal life through His Son, Jesus. Out of His perfect love, God did not—and does not—impose His rule.