Worship 4

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.

It seems as if worship is what people think we give to God, but that is profoundly wrong. Man can do nothing for God. While it may sound odd and even strange, true worship is when man is emptied of self (to some degree, not perfectly) and God fills the man with Himself and beholds His own manifested glory in and through the human being. Worship is not what we give to God, but worship is what God does through man. It could also be said that worship is not what man gives God, but is instead what God grants man. God’s love for man is recognized and manifested in God’s giving man a love for Himself in and through Christ, so we can at least see something of the picture that worship is an aspect of God giving man Himself.

What man normally thinks of worship is really idolatry and it makes God to be an idolater as well. If God loves man and focuses on the so-called needs of man rather than His own glory, then God is an idolater and does not love Himself with all of His Being. If God is not His own chief end, then God is an idolater. These are not some crazy statements made with a total lack of reverence, but they should force us to look at what is going on in the church meetings today. God is said to be focused on man and the needs of man and one never hears of how God is focused on Himself and His own glory. If God the Father loves men and the things of men more than Christ, then the Father is an idolater. If the Son loves men more than the Father, then the Son is an idolater. The Son does all things out of love for the Father and for His glory and as such He is perfect in holiness.

This, or course, has huge ramifications for what is seen as worship and what goes on when the church gathers. Man must seek the God-centered God (the only true God) in order to worship rather than seek to give something to God. Man must love the God-centered God who loves Himself, yet he must do that out of the love God works in man or men will love god out of self-love. Even sinners love those who love themselves and as long as men think that God loves them they will love Him, though indeed it is only self that they love rather than the true God. What goes by worship it seems the vast majority of times, then, even in Confessional churches with orthodox creeds, is really the worship of self. Yes, Christ died for sinners, but what does that mean? Did He love sinners more than the Father and so gave Himself for them? No, that would make Him an idolater. We need to hear of the cross of Christ who loved the Father and gave Himself in the place of sinners so that instead of being in worship of self we will worship the true and living God.

Let us then enter (in our imaginations) a local congregation that considers itself Reformed and generally evangelical. What would we expect to find? We would expect some announcements and a prayer or two. We would hear about all the activities of the church in the coming week or perhaps hear of our possible blessings. We know that an offering would be taken and we will be told what blessings we will have if we contribute. We will sing songs about how Christ gave Himself for us and some basic things. We will then most likely hear a sermon that takes a passage of Scripture where the text is explained and then the application is made by giving us things to do. But where is God? Where is the supreme and sovereign God preached about where our hearts are drawn off of ourselves and God takes over? Is there a place for the true God in our modern services? If He came down in the services (we think we are doing Him service) and took over, would we want Him to depart and leave us in our little comfort zones? Throughout the whole of Scripture when God came on the scene men and women fell on their faces and cried out for mercy. Sinners are not comfortable in His thrice holy presence. Do we really want the true God to come to us?

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