Worship 7

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.

The Scriptures (John 4:24) places the weight and absolute necessity of spiritual worship precisely on the fact that God is spirit. As one author said (paraphrased from memory), God is spirit and all else tells us what kind of spirit He is. This is simply profound and should provoke the people of God to must thought and meditation. The body is to carry out acts of worship not because the act is worship in and of itself, but because it is to be an act of the immaterial part of man and the greatest love of man. The worship and adoration of God can be thought of as acts of the body, but God is spirit and that is the only kind of true worship. If the acts of the body are moved by the love of self and the flesh, then that is worship of some kind of self and is not the true worship of God.

We must always remember the weight and gravity of Matthew 6 which tells us not to do our acts of righteousness before men to be seen by men. On the one hand we can see that the prayers, alms, and fasting of the Pharisees were done by men in order to receive the praise of men. However, on the other side of the equation we can see that the so-called worship of the Pharisees was not spiritual worship in the slightest. We can also see with great plainness that the Pharisees did not have intents and motives where their bodily actions were acts of love to the true God in accordance with His spiritual nature.

In some sense the Pharisees represented all the false worship of Israel across their history. The people did indeed honor God with their lips and yet their hearts were far from Him and this was true over and over. It may be that they had people who were theologically orthodox and were outwardly quite moral men, but their worship was not acceptable to God because their hearts were not broken before Him and they did not look to Him with absolute dependence. When the hearts of men are not with God and do not seek His face and His glory in truth and spirit, then their doctrines may line up with many orthodox things but the heart of their doctrines are the precepts of men. When men use the doctrines of God for pride and self, those things have been turned to become the things of men.

When we see the wrath of God upon His people because of their turning from true worship, perhaps we can understand it some better. Even though they were doing what He had commanded them in terms of the external actions, their hearts were doing them for selfish purposes. These religious leaders were not doing their religious actions out of love for God or for their neighbors, but instead they were doing them for nothing but selfish purposes. They were doing them out of self-love and they did them for self-righteousness instead of utter dependence upon God and His sufficiency. Legalism has several facets and we must be careful.

As we apply these things to today, we must note that in reality there is very little of the true God brought up in the “worship services” in most places. Once again, this may sound impossible to be true. However, the living God requires worship to be in spirit and in truth. It must come from Him first and then it must come from the hearts of men out of love for Him with the intent of His glory and honor. The true God does all for His own glory and pleasure and when we twist away at the great truths of God and of Scripture enough to make Him man-centered, we have a false god and false worship. When that is true, God hates our prayers, our worship, and the assemblies of those who take His name. Worship is not optional, but instead it is vital. Apart from true worship, we do not have the true God to worship and we do not worship from our inner beings.

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