Worship 23

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.'”

Isaiah 43:21 “The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise.

In going back just a little to expand on a thought, there is a huge difference between a man-centered God (concept 1) and a God-centered God (concept 2). The concept and practice of true worship in many respects revolves and hinges on that difference. If we think of God as being focused on man and His main goal is to help man and bless man (concept 1), then we will worship Him as the One who helps us and will only worship Him if He helps us. This is to say that concept 1 makes or leaves men in their self-centeredness and that all they do is moved by a version or form of self-love.

If we think of God as from all eternity doing nothing but what will glorify Himself and in love for Himself as triune, then we see what He does in a far different way. The Gospel is not just His helping man and saving man from harm, but the Gospel is really God manifesting His glory and enabling men to enjoy Him as their chief goal and love. In other words, the Gospel saves men from self-love and enables them to love God for Himself and to join His joy in Himself. God justifies sinners in order that He may dwell in them and manifest His glory in and through them and He does so for the glory of His own name and that He might enjoy Himself manifested.

For true worship to occur the justified soul is enabled to worship God for His own glory and the soul worships God for Himself. A person is not justified for his own sake, but for the sake of God. A person that does not worship for the sake of God is instead in worship of self (for the sake of self) in some way. A worship that is not for His own glory (in truth) is for the glory of self. Fundamentally, then, true worship must be for a God who seeks His own glory or it cannot be true worship. True worship is not the response of the flesh to some perceived benefit, it is being enabled by God or being an instrument of God to shine forth His glory and then adore that glory. It is to share in His joy in Himself and for His joy to be the very joy of the believer.

While Isaiah 43:21 can be taken to refer to the nation of Israel, we can also see that as spiritual Israel for all time as well. God has to create a people (new birth, new creation) for them to praise Him. In fact, He created them for that purpose and as the newborn baby cries for milk so the newborn soul cries out in praise and worship. Worship is not primarily for the benefit of believers, though it benefits them, but true worship is God expressing Himself and His glory in and through His people who are new creations in Christ. Not only does God save sinners to the praise of the glory of His grace, but He saves sinners that they may and will praise Him for the glory of His grace.

We must begin to see, understand, and practice worship as those that God has justified by His grace so that they may enjoy His grace and worship Him by grace in exalting Him as a God of grace. It is grace alone that can subdue a sinful heart and turn it to where it is pliable and exalting in God rather than self. It is grace alone that can soften a hard heart and make it melt with rays of glory upon it that it might now reflect His glory for who he is. Worship is not following the bulletin in an order of prayer, singing, and preaching; but it is an eternal plan for those chosen from all eternity to be a means by which God declares His glory through the mouths and hearts of human beings. If God is not the true focus in the time of worship, then self is. If God is focused on man in the time of worship, then it is not wrong for man to focus on man in the time of worship. However, in true worship the God-centered God is focused on Himself and therefore He brings the hearts of His people to be caught up in adoration and admiration of Himself.

 

 

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