Only when the first three concepts are present can we genuinely worship God. In Matthew 15, Jesus was asked by the scribes and Pharisees why His disciples didn’t follow the traditions of the elders. His answer was a stinging quote from Isaiah 29, which He applied to them: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).
Our ability to grow in worship is directly tied to our willingness to obey Christ. When our heart is far from Him, attempts at worship are vain. One of my favorite worship passages is Psalm 150, where we can make 4 observations about how worship must relate to God. God honoring worship recognizes:
1) The Object of Worship (v1). "Praise the Lord" is made up of two words: "hallel", to boast and "Yah", a reference to God, the Existing One. "Praise God" is also made up of two words: "hallel" and "El", a reference to God, the Mighty One. Worship is all about God.
2) The Reason for Worship (v2). His "mighty acts" display His omnipotence and His power is shown in the heavens. "Excellent greatness" is a description of the multitude of His greatness.
3) The Approach of our Worship is important (v3-5). Apparently, God is honored by music that springs from the heart and culture of the worshipper, who uses the language and instruments that are normal to him. And,
4) The Extent of Worship (v6): Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! There is no greater honor to God than when an obedient believer gives Him praise.