20 April, 2006

Worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth

To continue the topic from two days ago, I want to pick back up on the discussion of "worship, what it is, and why do we do it?" In the last post I talked about the concept of adoration and loyalty to God. I want to go on now to what Jesus might have been talking about in John 4:23-24, "But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

Again, it doesn’t say we can worship God anyway we want and when we want, but we "must worship Him in spirit and in truth". The word "must" makes it absolute. The word "must", according to Webster, expresses "an obligation, a requirement, a necessity, a certainty, and something that must be done". When "must" is used it means that it is not optional. Here the word "must" is expressing that in spirit and in truth is the only way to acceptably worship God.

So, if we must worship Him in spirit and in truth, what is it then that Jesus is referring to? It is evident that God seeks true worshippers, and He identifies them as those who "worship Him in spirit and in truth". Worshipping God in spirit means that it must be done from the heart (or spirit). Worshipping God in truth means that it must be done according as God has specified in the Bible. Worshipping God in spirit and in truth is a serious matter which must not be taken lightly. If we have any regard for our own souls, we will want to make sure we are worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

Since God is the object of our worship, He and He alone has the right to determine how we are to worship Him.

We read in Jeremiah 10:23, "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." It should be obvious to us, yet we seem to struggle with this concept, but we are not granted the option of directing our own ways in religion. God is the One who we look to for guidance and direction in our lives. Our very best in worship is due God and is prescribed by Him in the Bible. The worship God has prescribed is the only way we can be pleasing to Him in this life and finally attain everlasting life with Him in eternity. Sadly, worship is so very neglected by most Christians, yet our worship is of the greatest importance. Worship is a time when we pay deep, sincere, awesome respect, love, and fear (reverence) to the one who created us.
Acts 17:24-25 says, "God who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives life, breath, and all things."
God is the one who holds our eternal destiny in His hands.
Philippians 2:12 tells us to, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Our salvation is a very serious matter and will not happen by accident. Remember here, we are not talking about when we are "born again". Our spirits are born again when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and invite Him into our lives. Our spirits are "saved" at that moment, but our soul (our minds) need to be renewed. The salvation Paul is referring to here is not our experience of being born again. That work was accomplished on Calvary and we cannot work that out. It is accept Christ or not. But we must work it out "with fear and trembling" the salvation of our minds. We must work to renew our minds. I contend to you that what we do to "work out" our salvation in a very large part depends on whether our worship is pleasing to God or not. Again, worship is not just what we do in the worship time in church, but how we live out our lives from day to day. The ultimate question is, "Is my life giving glory and honor to Christ from day to day?" We must learn to live from the spirit (heart) side of us, rather than letting our minds rule the day. You cannot worship God with purity from the mind. Your "self" will get in the way. Worship must come from the spirit, that part of us that was created to be in fellowship and communion with the Lord. We can connect with God, spirit to Spirit, and we must be led by the spirit, not the mind.

Worship should cause us to reflect on the majesty and graciousness of God. God does not have to have our worship, but we must worship Him to please Him.
Our singing, praying, studying His word, giving, and communion are designed by God to bring us closer to Him and to cause us to think more like He thinks, thus becoming more like Him.
Our worship not only honors and magnifies God, but it is also for our own edification and strength. Worship helps us develop a God-like and Christ-like character.
We become like the one we admire and worship. When we worship God we tend to value what God values and gradually take on the characteristics and qualities of God. (But never to His level.)
s Philippians 2:5 says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ." How do we take on the mind of Christ? In Romans 12:2 we read, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." We renew our mind as we study and meditate on God’s word and worship Him.

When we worship God we develop such traits as forgiveness, tenderness, justice, mercy, righteousness, purity, kindness, and love.
There is an old saying that says, "Imitation is the highest form of flattery." How do you think God takes it when He sees His children taking on his characteristics? I submit to you... we worship God by becoming more and more like Him.


Maria said...

Darrel -

I'm your 9119th visitor! I'll be visiting more often...

thank you for visiting my spot and for leaving a comment. I like the affirmation that goes with the comments that fellow bloggers give. Also, I was really happy that you found it worthy to use my pictures along with your sermon... :) And last, that was really nice of you to ask permission to take them...

PS: just curious which one did you copy?

Darrell said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog.
The pics I copied are the ones of the men. It fits well with one I am working. I also copied 3 of the sea gull pics to use as powerpoint backgrounds in our worship service.

Thanks again!