Worship 9

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.


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.

Since John 4:24 (see above) gives God as spirit as the foundation for spiritual worship, we must come to grips with something of what that means. The text does not list this as an option, nor as a really good option, and it does not give this as the best option. It tells us that this MUST be done for there to be worship at all. Apart from spiritual worship, our order of worship in the bulletins and all the singing and praying we do from them is not worship. This is not some scare tactic, it is simply fact.

If we don’t have spiritual worship, then like the Israelites of old our worship is as a worthless offering that God says to bring no longer. Without spiritual worship, our prayers (pictured by incense) are an abomination to Him. Our Sabbaths our assemblies are things that He cannot endure. Our solemn assemblies are much the same as open iniquity to Him. The things that He commanded, the festivals and feasts, were nothing but a burden to Him and so all we do would be a burden to Him that He is weary of. Without spiritual worship, He hides His eyes from our prayers and even our man prayers.

Admittedly this sounds harsh and over the top. However, perhaps it is actually an understatement. God is spirit and those who worship Him MUST worship in spirit and truth. If spiritual worship is absolutely necessary to worship, then anything other than that is false worship. Perhaps we should shout to the heavens that people must take care as to what true worship is and stop pretending that what they do is true worship and is actually only bodily actions and perhaps affections of the flesh. Could it be that what we think of as worship is really little more than religion of the flesh rather than spiritual worship? Sure this would be laughed at among many, but in light of the words of Jesus Christ we must take them seriously. In light of His hard words to the Pharisees and the things they did which are much the same as we do in our day, we should consider the words of Christ with heavy hearts as we cry out to God to show us what true worship is and plead with Him to grant it to us.

If we really have a conviction that there is a final judgment, then we must know that our worship (or so-called worship) will be shown for what it truly is on that day. Will we want to stand before the judgment seat and be told that our worship was of the flesh and that our hearts were far from Him in truth while we said nice things about Him with our lips? Could it be said about conservative churches (professing) and Reformed churches (professing) that they wanted correct creeds and yet their hearts were far from Him? Could it be a judgment on us that we kept on doing what we do without shutting the doors of the buildings and uselessly kindling fire on the altar?

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

If we apply the text just above (Matthew 7:21-23) to worship, what does it tell us? It tells us that not everyone who says that they worship the Lord will enter the kingdom. It tells us that not all preachers will enter the kingdom. It tells us that not all those who do miracles will enter the kingdom. In other words, not all those who do many works and say that they worship God really and truly worship in truth. It seems very likely that included in the people in Matthew 7:21-23 will be those who attended church on a regular basis. They will likely be those who had solid theology. They will likely be those who did many works. They will likely be those who followed the order of worship. They will likely include those who sang the songs with enthusiasm. But they will still hear those dreadful words of “Depart from Me.” Part of the practice of lawlessness is worship from the flesh rather than worship in spirit. Surely, Lord, it is not us? Me?

One Response to “Worship 9”

  1. David Jefferis Says:

    Richard, this is absolute truth. Only those chosen of God and are given ears to hear and eye to see will be able to hear the words and believe them.

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