Worship 10

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.

Worship is not a game and worship is not for our entertainment as such. Worship is not about how many goose bumps I get or how many whoops are uttered by those in attendance. Neither is worship a solemn or grim face that could not crack a smile or have a bit of joy at all. Worship is from the heart and the soul can be joyful with the joy of the Spirit or the soul can be in deep reverence. In fact, one can be in deep reverence and awe and find the most exquisite joys in His presence. What we must understand if we understand nothing else is that God is sovereign over our worship each moment and we will not truly worship unless He grants it. We cannot work up joy and we cannot work up reverence of heart, though indeed we can work up the outward postures that appear to be those things. Worship must always be approached as a gift of the sovereign God that comes to us by grace alone or we will try to work it up in the flesh. The two approaches are diametrically opposed to each other.

True worship is always connected with the glory of God as its true joy and as its goal of love. Either worship is a work of God in the soul enabling it to reverence Him and have true joy in His presence or worship is the soul working those things up in the flesh. We could also add that in between the previous two things that there is a lot of people in worship of a god of their own imaginations, but that is far from true worship. However, the second type of worship is also not a true worship since it comes from the flesh and not the Spirit of God or the life of Christ in the human soul. As noted in the previous paragraph, worship is not a game and it is not based on false theology. It is the soul being in the presence of the living God and the living God dwelling in the human soul and the soul being brought to an utter reverence (at times) or unspeakable joy (at times) at beholding and tasting of the glory of God.

Now it must also be said that utter reverence and unspeakable joy will not happen in the vast majority of times of worship, but if we seek this reverence and this joy for His glory rather than the fleshly delights we will have those more and more often. God is sovereign over the degree of our reverence and joy (which is to say that He is sovereign over our hearts, not us) and He chooses what degree of reverence and joy is best for His fallen creation. It is God who reveals to us the precise degree of light that He is pleased to reveal rather than that being in our control. It is God who opens our eyes to Himself rather than that being a work of the flesh. It is God who moves our hearts to the degree He desires in response to Himself. In other words, we are to seek to worship the living God as He pleases rather than as we please.

Some follow the Regulative Principle of Worship in a tightly prescribed way and others follow it in a looser way. Still others ignore it or simply have never heard of it. Yet if we think of the New Testament Regulative Principle of Worship as being John 4:24, we will view things in a different light. Apart from the heart having God revealed to it and apart from the heart responding in some way to the truth revealed, there is no true worship. Regardless if one sings all the songs from the Bible, apart from the truths of John 4:24 that is not true worship. Regardless if one preaches a perfectly orthodox sermon or one that is very close, if the heart is not involved as moved by God there is no true preaching and no true worship. The professing churches must get away from the idea that worship is going through a bulletin (though they would not admit they think that) that lists songs to sing, a time to pray, and time for preaching. The true God must be sought in all things and at all times regardless of what else happens.

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