Worship 12

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.'”

Amos 5:21 “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. 23 “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.

While there are many views concerning Christianity, there are fewer views about the essence of Christianity. People can disagree on many things and still hold to the basic truths of Christianity. Rather than this being evidence of Christianity being wrong because people disagree on so many things, one should ask how can it be that Christians can hold together on the basics of the faith when they disagree on so many things. One area that people disagree on is how to view Christianity as a whole. While there is not time to discuss that question fully, it should be brought up in relation to the topic of worship as it is very, very relevant. One can think of this as meta-theology in a sense.

One view of Christianity is that it is rational and moral. This is to say that people who hold this view (whether stated or not) think that Christianity has a defined set of doctrines and people are to subscribe to those beliefs and then conduct themselves according to a prescribed set of morals. What this view seems to think is that people are to believe and conduct themselves in a certain way. Worship, then, would be seen as believing correctly and behaving correctly. This seems to be the prevalent view (on one form or another) and seems to have been the prevalent view for many years.

Another view (second view) of Christianity is that it should be viewed as more of a life than as a set of beliefs and moral behaviors. Eternal life is to have Christ living in the soul and manifesting and expressing Himself though that soul. When Christ who is eternal life is joined to a human soul, that soul has eternal life and Christ is the very life of that soul. The beliefs that a person has comes from knowing Christ and from the life of Christ teaching the soul in the inner man. The behavior of the person comes from Christ as life living in and through that person. In other words, as Christ shares His life with a person He is sharing the very holiness of God with that person and the life of that person is really an expression of Christ Himself rather than just a set of moral behaviors.

Clearly, and with no real question at all, these two views have very different ways of thinking of worship. The first view will always think of the worship of God as following a set of rational rules and being sure that what they do is specifically prescribed. The first view will seem to think that God is only pleased with a worship that He prescribes and people follow. The first view is heavy on the truth aspect of worship as Jesus set out in John 4:24. While there is another view that leans heavily and almost exclusively on human feeling, we can set that aside and note that it is less concerned about the truth aspect of worship.

On the other hand, the view that Christianity is essentially life and specifically the life of God in the soul of man (a book by that name was written by Henry Scougal in the 1800’s), worship will be seen as God moving men to adore Himself and share in His joy in His glory. Worship, then, while it must be in accordance with truth, it must also be from the inner man and specifically the spiritual man. This view thinks of God as the origin and source of all true worship regarding truth and spirit. This view seeks the Lord for worship and knows that what comes from Him will be acceptable to Him. It is, after all, His life, His love, and His joy shining forth in and through His people. The difference between these views is enormous and has more influence on us than perhaps we think.

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