Worship 21

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.'”

There can be no real question that in light of the verses above (as representative of Scripture) that there can be no possibility of true worship apart from the worship of the entire soul. We cannot settle for bulletins that outline our worship, but instead we are to seek the Lord for hearts that worship. We cannot just assume that we are going to worship instead of just going to a building to do religious acts. We cannot assume that we actually worship just because we sing songs, say words we think of as prayer, and give or listen to a man up front saying things about God from the Bible. God is real and God is everywhere. Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead and He lives in His people. He is the life of His people. Those who truly believe are said to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.

If we really believe that the paragraph above is even close to true, something must change if we are going to truly worship. While this may sound radical to some if not many, we must quit thinking of worship in an Arminian manner and seek it as if comes by free-grace. It seems that the norm of the Arminian way of worship is for people to assume that if they beat their own wills into submission, show up at “church”, and go through the steps outlined in the bulletin that they have engaged in worship. In that type of thinking (though the creed and the stated theology is different) worship happens when people decide to do so and they do the external acts. Some, though based in the Arminian type of thinking, will try to fire up the feelings of others as if their music and hyper-activities can fire people up and get them to worship.

I will argue in what remains in this post that true worship can only happen if it is moved by the free-grace of God. Yes, this has been stated before, but it is such a vital point it needs to be repeated several times. If God is sovereign and God sovereignly reveals Himself and sovereignly moves the affections and will as He pleases, then true worship can only occur when the work is God’s. We should seek the Lord to reveal Himself to us and open our hearts that we may truly worship. We cannot worship with proud hearts and hearts full of self, so we should seek Him to humble us and bring us low that we may worship in spirit and truth. We cannot bring the sacrifice of praise until our hearts are sacrificed to Him, which is to say that our hearts are broken from self and pride and we are irrevocably given over to Him and His glory.

I have read of a preacher who did not want to enter the pulpit until he had the presence of the Lord with him. The congregation would sing and sometimes for a longer period of time until the man thought the Lord was with him. It was said that the elders would watch out of the window and would see the preacher step off of the trail and bow in prayer seeking the Lord for His presence. Indeed this is what preachers should do, but this is also what the people should do in order to praise the Lord. We never earn His presence and we never earn His blessings, but we are to seek Him to empty us of self and pride so that His grace would work in us. We must always remember that worship is a blessing and it is by free-grace. We do not and cannot deserve to worship the living God, so we must always approach worship in that way. God must grant it by free-grace and come to us and share Himself with us. Oh that the Lord would open our eyes to what true worship is and how it comes so that we may seek it at the throne of grace and seek it as we would true grace.

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