Worship 30

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.

Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

In the area of the discussion and/or arguments regarding worship, the Regulative Principle of Worship has taken center stage in circles that are concerned about biblical worship. However, until we come to grips with what it means to glorify God we will not understand the purpose of worship. If we do not understand the purpose of worship and how one is to glorify God, then we have no hope of fulfilling the Regulative Principle of Worship. The Regulative Principle of Worship has the basic idea that what God commands is the principle that regulates how man is to worship.

We have no real need to argue about that principle as stated in one sense, but we must deal with what does God command in worship. The primary thing He commands in worship is that we worship from the heart out of love. It does not matter if we have all the outward things lined up and doing them, but without true love for the true God that would be nothing more than the Pharisees did. Without love and the desire to glorify God as He has set out how we are to glorify Him there is no true worship. Jonathan Edwards put it this way: “God does not seek His own glory because it makes Him happy, to be honored and highly thought of, but because He loves to see Himself, His own excellencies and glories appearing in His works.”

The statement by Edwards (just above) gets at an aspect of worship that seems to have been forgotten in the modern day. Worship is not done in order to increase the happiness of God, but it is to be done in order to manifest the excellencies and glories of God. In other words, the primary purpose of worship is not for our own happiness or to increase the happiness of God, but the primary purpose of worship is to manifest the glory and glories of God. Worship, then, must be about God Himself and it is for God Himself. Worship, in one sense, is to seek the pleasure of God in seeking to glorify God. We glorify God not by trying to add something to Him or to His happiness, but by manifesting who He is and desiring His glory to be manifested in our hearts. We cannot glorify God when we sing His praises from the brain and the voice box, but only when He is the love of our hearts will His glory spill over in song and in life.

True worship can only come from the heart of love for God and true love for God can only come from God (I John 4:7-8). A real and true desire for His glory can only come from Christ who is the shining forth of His glory and in that He is the perfect image of His glory. The Lord Jesus Christ dwells in the heart of His people and is the life of His people, so we can safely know that apart from the glorious Lord Jesus Christ moving in the hearts of His people there is no true worship. True worship, then, must come from God first and foremost and it will always come through Christ. We must be careful to worship based on the truth of who God is in Christ and we must know that we cannot come to God other than by Christ. The Regulative Principle of Worship does not just regulate the external man, but the heart of man as well. We must not worship God in our own way, but also not in our own strength. True worship comes from the heart that God has justified and Christ is the life in. Christ came to reveal the Father, so true worship reflects that by worshipping God through and by Christ.

We can only shine forth the glory of God in worship if in fact it is the true God as revealed by Christ that is being shone forth. Christ, who is the shining forth of the glory of God, is necessary to true worship. The Spirit of Christ is necessary for worship as only He can work love and joy in our hearts. The Spirit of Christ is necessary for worship because only He reveals the truth of God in our hearts. It does not real good if we only follow the externals of the Regulative Principle, we must follow the internals as well. The internals include knowing God, loving God, and seeking His glory. These can only be done by the work of Christ in the soul.

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