Worshiping... In Spirit and In Truth
If it is true that whatever a church uses to attract visitors, whatever it promotes to lure people to their services and whatever it does to get families to come or to join as members... is what they will have to keep doing in order to retain them and to maintain their contentment...
Then, wouldn't it be wise to do what would be Biblically right?! Wouldn't it be good to do what God tells us to do?! Wouldn't it be right to do what God desires?!
In other words: to be pleasing to God,
worship must be as HE desires!
Not as WE desire or what pleases US
or what WE think will work.
SO… WHAT WOULD GOD HAVE HIS CHURCH DO?
Would He have His people falling down on the floor in the front of the church building as worship?
Would He have His preachers engage in “tricks” or money making schemes as worship?
Would He have churches de-emphasize His Word, His doctrine and replace it with entertainment or a show?
Would He be pleased with His people merely going through rituals?
Many churches today have not only lost sight of the PURPOSE of worship… but they have also lost concern for what pleases God in worship... The PRINCIPLES of Worship according to God’s Word.
They have turned to doing what pleases man.
What man wants. What will draw man, excite man,
captivate man, appease man...
What will get men to come to our church
and thus make it bigger!
ALL WITH LITTLE OR NO THOUGHT AS TO WHETHER
WHAT THEY’RE DOING PLEASES OR HONORS GOD!
SO HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT PLEASES GOD? HOW DO
WE KNOW WHAT HE WANTS US TO DO IN WORSHIP?
SIMPLE... OUR LORD TELLS US:
“…True worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.”
SO, not only does God tell us who He is seeking... “True Worshipers”
But He also tells us WHAT “true worshipers” MUST DO!
NOTICE HE SAYS: MUST WORSHIP THIS WAY!
IT IS NOT OPTIONAL... THIS IS WHAT GOD DESIRES.
WORSHIP TO GOD MUST BE IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH!
Lets consider the first element of worship...
Jesus commands: Worship in “Spirit.”
What do people think of when someone speaks
of Worshiping God in Spirit today?
Speaking in gibberish... they’re spirit filled because you can’t understand them?
People waving their hands in the air or dancing uncontrollably, they're worshiping in the spirit because they wave their hands?
Going through a ritualistic service based on traditions and being able to stay awake?
Having slick entertainment, using a multi-media extravaganza
to entice and pump up a congregation into a frenzy... you're worshiping in the spirit because the music is loud and upbeat? (Could it be... the music just pleases you?)
Or, just repeating the same seven words over and over eleven times as they're flashed on a wall? (Known as: 7/11 choruses.)
What about a congregation just "sitting on their hands” for 30 minutes displaying no emotion whatsoever?
Or, Worshiping God in the spirit... just isn't important, it doesn't matter.
MEASURING THE SPIRITUALITY OF WORSHIP BY THESE
STANDARDS IS NOT ONLY UNBIBLICAL... ITS RIDICULOUS!
So, what does God mean when He says in: Jn. 4
He seeks worshipers who will worship Him in Spirit?
The opposite of what God accused Israel of over and over...
It is the opposite of what Jesus accused them of as well...
“These people worship Me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from Me…”
GOD WANTS HIS PEOPLE TO WORSHIP HIM FROM RIGHT HEARTS!
A PURE HEART! A HEART OF FLESH THAT HAS BEEN PLACED THERE BY HIM!
A HEART THAT IS ALIVE TO THE THINGS OF GOD!
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ez. 36:26
Worshiping God in Spirit has little to do with outward
appearances and everything to do with inward realities!
It does not come from external manipulation… but from a work of God to take out a dead cold heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh! One that is alive to God... which causes His people to WANT to give true worship to the God who did it!
Spiritual worship is the opposite of phony worship! It is the opposite of just putting in the time... just going through the motions... just going to church to be seen... to network... or just going to church for what you can get out of it!
True praise to God, comes from those who have true hearts for God! Living hearts to God! When your heart is right with God... then and only then is your praise going to be genuine! Not contrived! Not coerced! Not just going through the motions... Not looking for what you can get out of it… But rather seeking for what you can give to God in worship!
This will carry over to every aspect of worship!
The prayers of the church will be real communion with their God.
The giving will be cheerful because they know all that God has done for them.
The true believer’s praise will not be contrived, it will be exciting and real... because it is to the object of their love: THEIR SAVIOR!
The hearts and minds of the congregation will be attentive to His Word, because they know... that in His Word their God is revealed! His ways are explained!
The true believer will want to hear from their God in the proclamation of His Word in worship.
When your heart is right...
your worship will reflect that you are alive in Christ!
This is the understanding that the Reformers, Protestants of old
and even the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention held...
regarding the worship of God in spirit!
And this is what we hold to at Grace Baptist Church!
(back to top)
This leads to the second element of worship...
according to our Lord: worship in “Truth.”
Again, what do people think of today when someone
speaks of worshiping God in Truth?
It means the preacher mentions something about the Bible and then places it on the side of the pulpit, maybe with an occasional quote of a verse from Scripture here and there?
Its following the official denominational dogma?
It means that you hear what you’ve always been told?
Its reading from a liturgical missal or prayer book?
It means rushing through Sunday School Quarterlies on time?
It means never offending anyone with negative or hard thoughts
or doctrine, only speaking of the positive things to enrich life?
Does it mean hearing testimonies from celebrities and athletes?
Is it hearing songs that have a Christian message?
Does worshiping God in Truth mean that everyone has the right to believe whatever they want and still be considered a Christian as long as they say or think they are?
Once again, although common practices
not what God demands!
Here too, Grace Baptist Church believes with the
Reformers, with Protestants of old and the founders of
the Southern Baptist Convention that...
Worshiping God in Truth, has to do with the bold proclamation of God’s Word... All of God's Word! Not just the portions that are easy, or verses people like... or are familiar with. As Paul said in Acts 20:27: “The whole counsel (purpose) of the Word of God.”
By “Worshiping God in Truth” we look to the Scriptures that teach the importance of doctrine and knowing God’s Word. Jesus said: “You Shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your MIND.” Matt. 22:37
It seems that many churches today have forgotten all about the “mind.” Churches today seem more concerned with the "emotion." Sermons have become a series of stories, illustrations, anecdotes or jokes... with little or no exposition of God’s Word... that is: comparing Scripture with Scripture.
The thought today is: “No doctrine is good doctrine!” “Just tell us about Jesus... that’s all we need!” The writer to the Hebrews chided them for similar thinking when he said... "For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the Word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." Heb. 5:13-14
God wants His people to know Him...
and He has only revealed Himself through His Word.
Thus, knowing God must come from knowing His Word!
So worshiping God in Truth consists of the passionate,
careful exposition of His Word to His people.
Additionally: This is also the way that God declares
He will save the lost!
In Jn. 8:32 Jesus says: It is Truth that sets men free.