Worship In Spirit And In Truth
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:24
Its hard to say how many times I have heard a sermon on what true worship is. It seems as if the favorite passage that is used is John 4:24. Is it possible that whoever choose this passage totally misses the point of the verse. I am left with an impression that the outward appearance that men see during the worship service is addressed more than the attitude of the worshipper. The outcome is that they preach exactly what Isaiah prophesied.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' Matthew 15:7-9
I donít think that you can teach man how to approach God in the spirit if their heart is far from God. It may be all that is taught to the congregation is to honor God with their lips and a raised hand. The reason we hear sermons like this may be thatís how to speaker thinks you should worship God. After comparing these two verses we should see the attitude of true worship that God wants. Anyone can worship God by the rules of man just as anyone can say they love you and stab you in the back when your guard is down. The attitude of the person makes a huge difference.
Honoring God with the words of my mouth is really easy when I see one of those Seven Wonders of the World. In the time allotted to me I have seen the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Hawaiian coastline, Niagara Falls, the mountains, valleys and plains of America. They are awesome, but they have their way to make feel so insignificant within the vastness of Godís creation. Every one of these places I can see the creative skills of God in his finished work and my mind is quickly overwhelmed. It takes an awesome to rule over such a huge creation, but he gave man dominion over it.
It is also easy to honor God because he has answered my prayer and his reply exceeds my fondest desires and needs. However, it is not until after my joy has subsided that I praise God for what he has done for me. Perhaps the worship God wants may be nothing more than the words of appreciation that seems to bubble up from deep inside through the words of my mouth.
Rules of worship taught by men may be considered your reasonable act of worship by some. However, the rules of worship always require a positioning of your body in some manner and a spiritual attitude manifested in the twinkling of an eye. Most of the rules of worship depict manís perspective and what he thinks true worship is, but there are thousands of men and each one thinks differently. It may be confusing, but anything done in the flesh to be seen by men doesnít impress God in the least because God looks at the heart, the acts of worship done in the flesh is seen by the judging eye of man.
In my opinion, congregational worship is much different than the worship that God wants individually. Congregational worship is a gathering of Godís people to worship as one body with one voice. It is a united worship to glorify our Lord and Savior for all he has done for each of his children including us as individuals. Congregational worship is also a way for those who are visiting to see that God is real and easy way for them to hear the gospel. To your friends and relatives, congregational worship may be an introduction to God and a means to prepare the heart for the word proclaimed from the pulpit.
Individual worship involves drawing near to God and having a face to face love feast. Moses was a man that spoke to God face to face and Paul met God on the Damascus road and was taken up to the third heaven. Meeting with God face to face was an experience that changed the lives of both men. They knew from a face to face meeting with God that he was real and that experience encouraged them to be an ardent and enthusiastic worker for the Kingdom of God. Worship may be a major factor that changes the attitude of devotion from mediocre to an absolute and complete devotion.
In this short study of worship I have found the perfect description of the word from the Greek word that worship (proskuneo) is derived from in Philippians 2:10-11. Proskuneo, (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): KJV-- worship.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11
The word Proskuneo, reminds me of a dog I once had that licked my hand to get my attention and when I got up he followed me to the kitchen and back to my chair where he sat down to watch my every move. He loved to fetch the tennis ball, which I threw as far as I could and when he came back he dared me to take the ball from his mouth. You see, worship maybe being with a person showing some kind of interaction that both derive a mutual benefit from.
Referring to another part of Strongís definition of worship, The act of worship is described as fawning and crouching, a form of stooping such as bowing the knee in reverence of nobility. Its honoring another above yourself. It is kissing the signet ring of authority on the extended hand of Royalty or a clerical leader such as the Pope. It is the words that give honor to a worthy official such as Mister President, but for Muslims it is falling on the knees and touching the ground with the forehead. As you can see there are many forms of obeisance or courtesies extended to persons of nobility, but from my perspective, it will be an honor to bow the knee and declare that Jesus is Lord.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Palms 2:12
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