Worshipping God is a duty to be performed individually and collectively. It is a thing that other people standing afar off can see and observe.
Individually - by hearing the word of God, by believing and by having faith in the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus said that whosoever believes and is baptized will be saved. So a belief, followed by baptism is an individual acceptance and act in worshipping God. A man has accepted to be washed of his sins and to start a new way of living, different from the old one. Before baptism we were doing things for our own pleasure, not pleasing God. Now we are to show that we have changed. We should never be like a dog that returns to its own vomit or like a fool who repeats his folly (Prov. 26:11; 2 Pet. 2:22).
This is what man is like and we are being warned that if we return to our own vomit or go back to the mire, we will be away from the Kingdom of God. We got rid of what was not suitable for our body, we rejected it. We were washed of our sins at baptism and we should never return to that sinful way of life.
We have to examine ourselves on our own individual performance; self-examination by reading the Bible (Gal. 5:19-21). This chapter is a self-measuring stick. Really it is a tape measure of our daily behaviour. It will be our behaviour that pleases God; faith will grant us, by grace, a place in the Kingdom. However, if we look back, as Lot’s wife did, then we are lost for ever, unless we repent.
God sees all that we do. “Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men)” (1 Kings 8:39). “… But the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer. 17:10). “… knowest the hearts of all men” (Acts 1:24). “Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work” (Ps. 62:12). “Search me and know my heart; and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give — Winston Churchill
There is much more on the individual basis, the way we can examine ourselves and how we should know that we are being watched. Each one of us is on daily test whether we do good or not. We have to check for ourselves by reading the word of God our ‘tape measure’ and wherein we fail, we must repent and pray for forgiveness.
Breaking bread and drinking wine is both an individual and a collective act of worship.“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1). “And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren” (Gen. 13:8). Our unity is also a way of worship. We should never quarrel, because we are brothers and sisters in Christ. If we avoid quarrelling then we are worshipping God. Abraham avoided quarrelling because he and Lot were brothers. “Let brotherly love continue” (Heb. 13:1).
Collectively - Jesus and the disciples were together and ate and drank wine together (Mt. 26:26-30). And wherever possible, when we gather together, we should do this (1 Cor. 11:23-26). By being together and breaking bread we preach the Gospel until he comes and thereby are worshipping. We should also examine ourselves (1 Cor. 11:28). Wherever we are we should observe all things whatsoever he commanded us (Mt. 28:20). We should be separate from worldly activities and let God alone sanctify us, for his word is the truth (Jn. 17:17).
Our daily way of life and behaviour will show the world that we worship God. The thing is that God sees the heart, there is nothing hidden from him. The way we think and our personal conviction determine our faith. This is a duty that all men should perform, it is what God requires of us (Eccl. 12:13).
Bro AD Liwawa (Neno, Malawi)