Worship 5

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.

We should examine the texts above and ask ourselves what is at the heart of worship in light of who God is and who man is. Does man bring anything to God? Does man add anything to God? Can man make God happy by saying good and/or nice things to God? Can man make God experience pleasure by making beautiful noises with the voice to God? All that man can do in terms of physical ability has been given to him by God. All that man can do in terms of nature has been given to him in creation and providence. If there is anything spiritually good that man does, he has not done that apart from the grace of God given him in Christ. After all, Jesus told us that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:4-5). Worship, then, adds nothing to God and must come from Christ first.

While the doctrine of evolution tells us that man is more like an accident of a series of causal events, and as such men must depend on themselves, the Bible tells us that man was created by God and utterly depends on God whether man knows that or not. In the spiritual realm, as noted in the previous paragraph, man can do nothing for God and must receive from God whatever is offered to God. Therefore, worship is utterly impossible apart from the grace of God giving us true worship. This is a vital point to notice. The heart of man must be prepared by God in order to worship God. The heart of man must receive grace in order to worship God. The heart of man cannot worship in a greater way than the degree of grace he receives. Worship must demonstrate the utter dependence of man upon God to manifest the glory of God or it is the work of the flesh.

We can also view worship being from the heart and the heart of man as being the instrument that God plays His own song to Himself and His own glory. Man is the instrument that God created to be played by Himself and Himself alone. Regardless of whether man sings hymns or Psalms or whatever, unless the heart is God’s instrument playing for His own pleasure there is no true worship. In other words, going to a building with the name “church” on the door does nothing for true worship. The church is the people and not the building and it is not the corporation or the tax-free status. When the church gathers at one location, worship should be looked upon as a symphony. The single Christian’s heart is one instrument that God plays, but the church is the symphony where God plays many instruments at once and the harmony rises and expresses His glory.

Isaiah 43:21 “The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise.

The beauty of public worship is not the voices as such and is not all the things that people do or don’t do; the beauty of public worship is when the different splendors of God in Christ are manifested and expressed. Each instrument that God plays is created and tuned by Himself for Himself and the manifestation of His own glory. All that should be done when the church meets together is to be instruments of music for God and His glory whether it is singing, praying, or preaching. All the teaching or preaching, singing, praying and so on should be done seeking the face of God and for Him to show Himself to and in His people. We are to love Him and His glory above all and that should be reflected in the worship of the public gatherings of His people.

If we are seeking to worship God above all, then surely we will be a God-friendly church that seeks Him above all. After all, God is the true “user” of the church and not those who attend. A user-friendly church is thought to be friendly to those who attend, but it is God’s church and so it should be focused on seeking Him to attend. Since the Father seeks such to worship Him (see John 4:23 below), surely we should seek Him to make us to be those who worship in a way that pleases Him. However, does our worship reflect whether God has sought us to worship Him or not? Does our worship reflect hearts that demonstrate that God has made our hearts into instruments of His glory? We can argue about the Regulative Principle until the cows come home (so to speak), but God alone is the One who regulates the heart and makes it His instrument of praise to Himself.

John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

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