Worship 15

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.

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.

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;


Matthew 15:8 teaches us a fair amount about true worship, though there is a lot of correlation between this passage and John 4:24. However, it has a different approach and as such it is useful to think through it. This text (just above) in Matthew features a negative approach, that is, it is showing what is not true worship. Verse 8 shows us that it is not honoring God with our lips that matters, but instead He looks for the heart. The negative point is that people can do a lot with their lips but when their hearts are far from Him, there is no true honoring of Him.

Verse 9 teaches us that all worship is vain when people try to worship and yet the doctrines they teach are nothing but the precepts of men. This is a profound statement that we should be careful to note and seek the Lord for His precepts. The two main issues in Matthew 15:8-9 is that without the heart we do not honor God even when we speak highly of Him with our lips and that it is in vain we say we worship Him if we teach the precepts of men as doctrine. This is, once again, stating the truth of John 4:24 in a negative way. John 4:24 says that true worship is in spirit and truth and Matthew 15:8-9 says that false worship is when the heart is far from Him regardless of what the lips say. The second thing is that Matthew 15:8-9 tells us that it is not true worship when our doctrines are nothing but the precepts of men while John 4:24 says we must worship in truth.

This should give us pause to think of our own hearts and doctrines. When the professing church comes together the issue is whether the hearts of the people are prepared to worship and do worship and not just mouth the words. When the professing church comes together it is vital that the doctrines that they hear are the teachings of God and not just what man has come up with. It is not that doctrine is unimportant, but this teaches us that doctrine is vital. Truth is not just an archaic notion of the past, but without it there is no true worship. While many can jam out and get the folks jammed into the buildings with “church” on the door, apart from truth there is no true worship regardless of how fired up the people are. When men come up with their own doctrines, they make it impossible worship the true God in truth.

The balance is in Scripture through and through. It is not just that men are to have lips that express the greatness of God, they must have hearts to do that. It is not just that men are to have academic doctrines, but they are to have doctrines according to God in Christ. Academic teaching can be nothing more than the precepts of men. While that type of thing can have the appearance of wisdom and of great learning and godliness, it can also have little of God and as such be nothing more than the precepts of men. It is not great confessions that make up truth, it is truth that God shows men and it is that true that flows into the heart by Christ and from the heart by Christ that makes true worship. This is really quite profound while quite simple in another sense. We must have hearts that the lips speak for and we must have our doctrines from God. If not, all that we do whether orthodox or not and regardless of what else we do, will be less than what God accepts as true worship. He does not accept it because it does not come from Him.

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