Worship 2

John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.

Matthew 15:8 ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME 9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'”

Isaiah 1:13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies– I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. 14 “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.
15 “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.

Malachi 1:10 “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you.

In the vast majority of professing churches today there is an order of worship handed out each morning. The purpose is not to say that is wrong in and of itself, but simply to say that everything has been planned in advance. It is also to say that the idea of worship has become in our day coming to a building of a professing church and following the “order of worship” as set out in the bulletin. In other words, as long as a person comes to the building, stands and follows the order with all the others, one is thought to have worshipped. Dare we ask what would Jesus say regarding what we think of as worship?

Is it be possible that Jesus would respond much like the text from Malachi just above? Remember, He was the One who drove men out of the Temple with a whip. Would He want the doors of our buildings closed so that they would not uselessly do what they think of as worship? Would He want the doors of our buildings closed so that people would not be deceived into thinking that they worship when they follow the properly stated order? Would He tell us that He is not pleased with this heartless stuff we are doing and would He clearly tell us that He would not accept our offering? If true worship must come from Him first, that is, if the fire must come from Him rather than our flesh, then what are we offering to Him most of the time?

The reality of worship must be thought of as coming from the heart and not just some order devised of men. The reality of worship cannot just be a ritual we perform, but instead our hearts and our affections must be engaged. It is critical to know, however, that God alone can move our hearts to have true affections for Him and they cannot come from the flesh. The flesh can be moved by forms of self-centered music and with good public speakers who know how to get the feelings going with self-centered motives. The words of Christ in Matthew 15:8 (see above) are simply chilling if we will read them with understanding rather than let our eyes fly over them. There we see the utter sinfulness of a worship that honors Christ with our lips while our hearts are far from Him. It is hard to deny that this is what goes on in our own hearts the vast majority of the time. This is not just about those who are clearly distracted with other things, this is about those who are paying some attention and yet their hearts are far from the words that their lips are saying.

We must also be cautious about what we think of as worship since Christ says that it is in vain that men worship Him because they teach as doctrines the precepts of men. If we boil Matthew 15:8 down and look at the important parts, it is teaching us the heart of John 4:24. Worship must be in spirit and truth. Apart from worship of the inner man (spirit), our worship is simply that of our lips and perhaps our minds to some degree and yet our hearts are far from Him. If what we hear at worship is not the truth of Christ, then the precepts of men that we are hearing renders any of our pretended worship as vain (empty, meaningless). This should shock us and stun us in terms of how hard our hearts are toward God. This should shame us because we have just assumed that God would accept our heartless words and heartless duties and so we think we have worshipped. Could it be that God is weary of our so-called worship? Oh sure, that must be the other guys.

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