Worship 19

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 ‘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.'”

The concept of worship is not just something that is okay to do, but it is vital to our whole lives as Christians. If we do not worship in truth and love, then we do not worship at all. We are commanded to worship God and we are commanded to worship God in, by, and through Jesus Christ. There is no true worship of God apart from the heart of man (where Christ dwells) and when there is reverence, awe, love, and truth. The first two commandments deal with worship in their own ways. However one views the commandments, the first two are written in stone and written on human hearts. Human beings worship something or someone at all times, the question is whether it is the true God or not and whether it is from the heart moved and strengthened by grace or not.

In thinking of worship in terms of the Bible and theology as a whole, what is it that man brings to God and what is it that man can do for God? If we think through those two questions carefully, we will begin to understand something of true worship. Man can bring nothing to God that pleases Him but God Himself. Man can do nothing for God unless it is God working through man to manifest Himself for His own glory. In that context, then, worship can be nothing but the manifestation of God. It is not man doing something for God, it is God shining forth His glory (Christ) and beholding Himself in man and manifesting His glory (Christ) through man. This is not to say that there are no benefits to man in worship, but it is to say that worship is for God primarily and in that man is to find joy. It is God manifested that man is to have joy in and not the feelings of the music.

True religion derives its pedigree from heaven—it comes from heaven, and constantly moves toward heaven again; it is a beam from God, as ‘every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning,’ as St. James speaks. God is the first truth and primitive goodness; true religion is a vigorous efflux and emanation of both upon the spirits of men, and, therefore, is called ‘a participation of the Divine nature.’ Indeed, God hath copied out Himself in all created being, having no other pattern to frame any thing by, than His own essence; so that all crated being is by some stamp or other of God upon it, at least remotely allied to Him; but true religion is such a communication of the Divinity, as none but the highest of created beings are capable of…Religion is a heaven-born thing, the seed of God in the spirits of men, whereby they are formed to a similitude and likeness of Himself. A true Christian is every way of a most noble extraction, of a heavenly and divine pedigree, being born from above. (John Smith, 1660)

If one will take the time to meditate and pray upon the quote of John Smith just above along with the relevant Scriptures, a different picture will emerge of worship than simply following a bulletin at a church service. True religion/worship does not start with men, even redeemed men, but the original of it must come down to man and be aimed at heaven from where it came. True worship comes from God first and that is the only true source of it. True religion and true worship is a participation of the Divine nature (II Peter 1:3-5) as opposed to being what man does for God. The praise of God can only come from God as opposed to the human voice moved by self and pride. The praise of God can only come from illuminated minds who have the love of God given to them where they love God and as such adore Him in Christ. Praising God is not just saying good things about Him, it is having died to self one now is lifted up in Him and exalts Him and enjoys being in His presence. It is God coming down, coming among His people, and then granting them a sight of Him and a taste of Him where they join Him in admiration of Him and His glory. As they admire and praise His glory, that is His glory shining through them.

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