Worship 25

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.'”

1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter is very clear at many points and in many things. The person who has speaking gifts (preaching) is to speak and preach as if he is speaking the very utterances of God, and in a sense that person is speaking the very utterances of God. True preaching (John Calvin held this as well) is when a man has been gripped by the Spirit of God and stands up and speaks to the people the words of God. In a sense the man is used of God to speak to the people. Men are not to stand and preach the fruits of their own brains, but instead they are to be the instruments of God and their mouths are to be the mouthpieces of God.

The person that serves is to serve “by the strength which God supplies. Why is the person to do that? It is so that “in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” The “so that” also includes the preaching as well, but notice again that preaching and serving are God-centered. The person who is preaching and the person who is serving are to do so in a God-centered way and fashion so that God would be glorified through Jesus Christ. After all, as the text sets out, the glory and dominion belongs to Him. If we do anything apart from doing it that God would be glorified through Jesus Christ we are doing it for the glory of self. This would be in one sense attempted theft of the glory of God.

In looking at how this applies to worship, one does not have to look very far at all. Preaching is worship in the specific sense, though one can argue that serving can be in the more general sense. However, the text tells us that whatever we do it is to be done in a way that God would be glorified through Jesus Christ. This means that we are to worship in a way where God is glorified through Jesus Christ. If we look at the text of Scripture again, we see that what glorifies God is when we speak we are to speak as speaking His utterances and we are to serve in His strength. The deduction for worship is obvious. We worship in spirit and truth when we worship according to the truth of His utterances and our worship comes from the strength He supplies.

When we worship in accordance with His truth and we worship with the strength He supplies, then our worship glorifies God through Jesus Christ. We are to serve in the strength that He supplies so that God would be glorified through Jesus Christ, so when worship in the strength He supplies so He will be glorified through Jesus Christ. If we don’t worship according to His truth and in the strength He supplies, then our worship is guided by our fallen understandings and our worship would be from the strength the flesh supplies. This should strike a nerve in our souls and cause a shiver to run up and down our spine.

Do we strive to worship God and yet worship in the strength of the flesh? Do we seek the Lord for true humility and lowliness of heart and seek Him to give us the strength to worship Him? Are we concerned at all where the strength comes from that we worship (or assume we worship) with and in? We worship the God that Christ has revealed and we also worship by the strength He purchased and grants us to come to the Father with. We can do nothing apart from Him (nothing spiritual), so we must worship in the strength that comes from Him. Following the bulletin in the required things is not enough, we must have Christ and the Spirit of Christ to truly worship.

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