B – TRUE WORSHIP – 2
We tried to define worship in our first lesson. We found that worship is only to God and is set apart for Him as we, ourselves, are set apart for Him in sanctification and in humble devotion and adoration. Worship must focus on God—not on things around us or on things on which our minds may wander. Worship is important to God and it must be important to us.
Worship cannot be merely a routine, a function, or just a ritual. Mal. 1:6 They were just going through the motions with no thought of real worship. Not only the lack of spirit was evident but they were not following God’s way.
God does have a way—a very definite way. We do not take this fact seriously. God said, “Don’t touch the ark.” It seemed such a natural reaction when the ark started to fall when carried. However, the one who touched it so it would be steadied and not fall was struck dead on the spot. God is serious about our following His way and His way only. This is “Truth.” We worship in spirit and Truth.
Mal. 1:13 Have we ever thought the service was tiresome? This was their reaction. God condemned it. That is not the attitude of true worship. We don’t come to be entertained. That is not a worshipful heart. How we must examine ourselves that we not only worship in spirit but in Truth. Many examples can be given of unacceptable worship. Many times the people of God were doing the right thing but without the heart of worship. Amos 5:21-23 God wanted no part of their festivals and solemn assemblies. God didn’t even want their music for they were not really worshipping Him. It was all just a form.
God commanded sacrifices and burnt offerings but He wanted much more than that. Hosea 5:6 God delights in loyalty to Him and His Word—loyalty and knowledge. Isn’t that spirit and Truth? Isaiah 1:15 For their lack of true worship, God was removing His ability to even listen to their prayers. Could this affect answers to our prayers? God gave them His way to retrieve their worship. Isa. 1:16,17 Then God gave them (and us) a wonderful promise to be carried out in Christ. Isa. 1:18-20
Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus reminded them of the words of Isaiah. Matt. 15:8,9 He called them hypocrites. They were play-acting their worship. Verse 8 reminds them and us that worship must come from the heart. Verse 9 reminds us that worship must be from Truth or biblical and not the doctrines of men.
True worship cannot be acceptable if God is reduced to an idol. Neither can true worship be done in the right way with the wrong spirit or attitude in the heart. At the same time, we cannot have acceptable worship if we have the right heart but we don’t follow the teaching of the Word or of Truth. True worship always comes down to both spirit and Truth.
Acceptable worship is described in Ps. 24:3-6 In this way we can truly seek God in acceptable worship. God seeks true worshippers. Jhn. 4:23 They want to follow His Son in the way of salvation and a faithful life. We don’t worship to make ourselves happy. We worship God to please Him. If we long to please God, we will have joy.
A worshiper of God became synonymous of a Christian. Paul was preaching to Jews in a synagogue when they resisted him. Acts 18:7 Justus was a Christian and was described as a worshiper of God. Weren’t the Jews worshipers of God? Not in the true sense now for they rejected God’s Son. Now a person cannot truly worship God if he doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son.
When man meets the Savior, worship follows. Matt. 2:11 These men knew the one they were seeking and when they found Him, they fell down and worshiped Him. A leper came to Jesus and believed even before he was healed. He fell down and worshiped Him. Matt. 8:2 A synagogue official had faith in the power of Jesus and fell down and worshiped Him with a plea. Matt. 9:18 When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water as He stilled a storm, they worshiped Him. This gave them a greater faith than ever. Matt. 14:33 Many other examples could be given of those who believed in Jesus as the Son of God and had faith in His power. They worshiped. If our belief is real, we will fall down humbly in spirit and worship as we realize who Jesus is and what God has
done for us. Worship is a way of life.
We have seen how God seeks true worshipers. We have been saved to worship. Heb.12:28 The Greek word for “serve” in this passage means “worship.” Do we have reverence and godly fear when we think of God and meditate on Him and on His Word? If we don’t, notice the next verse. Heb. 12:29 God has given us everything but He does have some expectations of us. Among others—true worship in spirit and Truth.
A heart of worship is expressed so well in Psalm 84.
Ps. 84:1,2 – My soul, heart, and flesh–in other words, my whole being cries out to the living God—in true worship.
Ps. 84:4 – Just as the birds find a place to nest in protection, so I long to dwell with you, O God. Wherever You are, I want to be with You to worship You. This worship will not be starting and ending but will be always.
Ps. 84:5 – Our true strength comes from God—not physical strength but the spiritual strength that leads through life and on to heaven—on the “highway.”
Ps. 84:8 – In worship we call upon God in praise and recognition of His all-powerful existence.
Ps. 84:9 – God is our shield in time of trouble as well as in time of temptation. We praise You for this and ask You to hear our plea.
Ps. 84:10 – Can we honestly say this? We sometimes mention a “doorkeeper in the house of the Lord.” Than to dwell in tents of entertainment, riches, popularity, etc.
Ps. 84:11 – God will not withhold any good thing if we walk uprightly! He deserves every bit of worship we can muster. 1 Tim. 4:8; Phil. 4:19
Ps. 84:12 – There is deep, real, permanent joy in trusting in God and worshiping Him in spirit and Truth
There are many more Psalms to help you truly worship. Find them and mark them.