True Worship *
Text: John 4:23, 24
I. True worshipers worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24; Phil. 3:3; Ex. 34:14).
A. Worship is the devotion of the heart to God (Ps. 45:11; 27:8). True worship is the fruit of the divine Spirit (The Desire of Ages, p. 189).
B. Worship is the innermost expression of an all-inclusive commitment to God (Matt. 22:37).
1. "It is the emotion of the soul that renders worship acceptable to God."-Lee's Theology (1871), p. 363.
"The soul can split the sky in two
And let the face of God shine through." -EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
2. An intelligent act of the will and understanding rendered in the entire sincerity of mind (Isa, 1:18; Rom. 12:1, 2).
3. The centering of all affections of the heart upon God in reverent adoration, and joyful praise (Ps. 9:1; Col. 3:2).
C. Worship is a personal entering into a saving spiritual relationship with God-a presenting of one's self as a sacrifice to God in answer to God's great sacrifice for man (Eph. 5:2; Rom. 12:12; 1 Peter 2:5). "Thou who gayest all to me; I now yield my all to Thee."-R. E. NEIGHBOR. All who worship God in the Spirit:
1. "Rejoice in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:3) .
2. "Have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3).
3. Seek purging from sin (Heb. 10:2, 12-14).
4. True worship is a "fellowship" with God the Father and with His Son, and with God's people (1 John 1:3).
II. Public worship is the assembling of a professed Christian congrega lion for the purpose of (a) corporate worship and praise of God, expressed in prayer and thanksgiving and homage; (6) receiving of religious instruction from God's Word; and (c) for the purpose of mutual encouragement to strengthen one another in the faith (Heb. 10: 22-25).
A. Jesus our Lord was faithful in His Sabbath church attendance (Luke 4:16).
B. The enlightened early church and its faithful ministry were loyal to the weekly Sabbath worship (Acts 11:26; etc.).
C. They offered worship to God the Father through Christ (Eph. 3:14), and to Christ as the Son of God (John 9:38; Matt. 14:33; Heb. 1:6).
1. "The Aramaic 'Abba° appears to have been adopted by Greek-speaking Christians as the peculiar title for God in the Churches" (see Rom. 8:15)."-A Dictionary of the Bible (ed. by James Hastings, 1902-04), vol. 4, p. 943.
2. "One effect of the resurrection was to develop so exalted a conception of Christ in the Church that homage which cannot be distinguished from worship came to be addressed to Him."-Ibid.
3. A Worship of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19).
God the Father, Lord of heaven,
Ever would I worship Thee;
Thou didst purpose full redemption,
Sent Thy Son to die for me.
Jesus Christ, one with the Father,
God the Son, I worship Thee;
Born of Mary, pure and holy,
Died, and rose again for me.
Holy Spirit, guide and teacher,
I would also worship Thee;
Thou dost tell me of the Saviour,
Shedding forth His love in me.--R. E. NEIGHBOR
III. Mode of public worship: no specific rule governing details, but positive principles of acceptable practice.
A. Elements of true worship.
1. Reverence and adoration (Heb. 12:28; Lev. 19:30; Rev. 5:11-14).
2. Order and edification (1 Cur. 14:26, 40; Ps. 107:31, 32).
3. Participation of membership in praise and loving worship (Ps. 150:1, 6; Ps. 26:8; 31:23; 40:16).
B. Procedures in apostolic worship.
1. Prayer (1 Cor. 14:15).
"Prayer was a leading part in the worship of the primitive church, and should be now and always. Dr. Mosheim says that the worship of the primitive churches was commenced with a prayer, and that other general prayers were offered, after the lesson of instruction, which consisted of the reading of a portion from the Scriptures, and a discourse from some preacher present."-Lee's Theology, p. 365.
Forms of prayers and written prayers were not in general use in the early church. The prayers offered were "the extemporaneous effusions of a mind glowing with divine love."- MosHEnvr, Commentary, vol. I, p. 185. (Italics supplied.)
2. Praise-singing (1 Cor. 14:15; Ps. 149:1).
(a) Jesus and His disciples used hymns (Matt. 26:30).
(b) Anthems and hymns comprise a portion of the Scriptures. Example: "Gloria in Excelsis" (Luke 2:14); the "new song- of the twenty-four elders (Rev. 5:8-10); song of Moses and the Lamb, which redeemed saints will sing (Rev. 15:3, 4); the final glorious Alleluia Chorus (Rev. 19:1, 6, 7), at the marriage of the Lamb and the bride.
(c) The key word of the book of Psalms is "worship." It is the book of devotion of all ages. "Here every heartchord is touched and tuned to Holy melody."-A. T. PIERSON. "The Greek title 'Psalms' means songs set to music; the Hebrew title is 'Praises,' . . . with praise the book begins and ends."-A. T. PIERSON, in Keys to the Word, p. 43. Praise, penitence, and prayer range through the stories of creation, providence, grace, the moral attributes of God, the divinity and humanity of Christ, the pardoning and purifying grace of the gospel, and reach their climax in the hallelujah Psalms.
3. Lessons from God's inspired Word.
(a) Voices of prophets were read (Acts 13:27).
(b) Proof texts were quoted in preaching (Acts 13:33-37).
(c) Paul expected his epistles to be read in church (Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27).
4. Manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, with emphasis on prophecy (1 Cor. 14:1, 24, 25). But all to be in order and with understanding (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:20, 21).
5. Offering should be brought-"bring an offering, and come into his courts" (Ps. 96:8; 1 Chron. 16:29; Dent. 26:10).
6. Benediction (2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Tim. 1:17; Eph. 3:20, 21).
IV. Attitude of true worshipers.
A. Toward God.
I. A believing mind (John 9:38; Acts 24:14).
2. An open heart (Luke 16:14, 15).
3. A willing will (John 9:31; 7:17).
4. Approaching Him in the assurance of faith (Heb. 10:22), and with dedication of heart (Ps. 27:8).
B. Toward worship.
1. "In thy fear" (Ps. 5:7).
2. "In the beauty of holiness" (Ps. 29:2).
3. "Received the word of God" (1 Thess. 2:13; 1:6; Heb. 2:1, 3).
4. "In spirit and in truth" (John 4:23, 24; 8:32).
C. Toward self.
I. "No confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3).
2. A sorrow for and confession of personal sin (2 Cor. 7:10; 1 John 1:9; Neh. 9:3).
3. No compromise with evil (2 Cor. 6:15, 16).
4. Determination, so to live and worship that others will recognize that the true God is at work in man. "He will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth" (1 Cor. 14:25; cf. 1 Peter 2:9).
D. Toward others.
1. Brethren: Love and fellowship (John 13:34; 1 John 1:7).
2. The lost: Love and service (Eph. 4:15; 2 Cor. 5:17-20; Matt. 22:39; 5:46, 47). J. A. B.
Text: Matt. 15:9
I. Multivarious forms of false worship. All man-made gods a form of man worship.
- Men worship "the creature more than the Creator" (Rom. 1:25).
- Worship work of their own hands (Isa. 2:8; Micah 5:13; Jer. 1:16; Acts 17:25).
- Worship of human authority and commandments of men (Matt. 15:9).
- Worship of human power, political and ecclesiastical. "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15; cf. 2 Thess. 2:3, 4; Rev. 13:7, 8).
II. Spirit of false worship is the self-centered spirit of Satanism. "I will exalt my throne . . • ; I will be like the most High" (Isa. 14:13, 14); "exalteth himself above all that is called God" (2 Thess. 2:4).
A. The spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:3; 2:18). Issue: God or antigod.
B. The spirit of error (1 John 4:6; Isa. 32:6; 2 Peter 3:17).
I. A refusal to hear God's Word and a preference for "other gods" (Jer. 13:10).
2. Antinomianism-a refusal to adhere to God's law (Jer. 16:11; Isa. 8:20; 48:18; cf. Isa. 8:16).
3. Phariseeism and legalism (Matt. 5:20; Rom. 10:2, 3; Isa. 64:6; etc.); "Lies hypocrisy" (1 Tim. 4:2).
C. The "spirits of devils" (Rev. 16:14).
III. Results of man's false worship.
A. War: "They chose new gods; then was war in the gates" (Judges 5:8; cf. Isa. 59:8).
B. Confusion: "Confounded be all they . . . that boast themselves of idols" (Ps. 97:7).
C. Strong delusions (2 Thess. 2:9-11).
I. Damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:1-3).
2. Doctrines of devils (1 Tim. 4:1).
3. False christs and false prophets (Matt. 24:24).
D. Alienated front the life of God (Eph. 4:18).
I. False pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:12).
2. "Sporting themselves with their own deceivings" (2 Peter 2:13).
E. Evil judgments: "Because they forsook the Lord . . , and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them" (2 Chron. 7:22; cf. Jer. 16:11; 22:9; Isa. 26:9).
F. Lost souls: No love for truth (2 Thess. 2:10). All man-made gods are corrupting and powerless to save. They are but human deities of the religion of deception and unrighteousness, resulting in:
I. A deceived heart (Dent. 11:16; Heb. 3:13) . 2. A reprobate mind (Rom. 1:28-32).
2. A trust in vanity (Isa. 59:4, 14, 15; etc.).
3. A walk in darkness (Isa. 59:9; 1 Peter 2:9).
4. Willful sinning (Heb. 10:26, 27), eternal loss.
G. Road to oblivion: "If thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, . . . ye shall surely perish" (Dem. 8:19). A great lesson of history—no civilization can save itself without God. There is no security in sin. The great perversion of evil hearts: foolish idea that manmade gods can save (Isa. 46:6, 7).
IV. All false religion is the worship of self and of Satan, who is the "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4;4; Luke 4:7). Issue: God or antigod?
"Where'er God builds a house of prayer
The devil too erects a temple there;
And 't will be found upon investigation
The devil hath the largest congregation."
A. The worship of devils (Rev. 9:20). Satan's ministers masquerading in the garb of religion as angels of light and ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
B. Underlying principles of false religions. "Ye shall be as gods" (Gen. 3:5) . "Ye shall not . . . die" (Gen. 3:4). Earmarks of the self-deification and self-immortalization of man. These are the self-centered principles of sun worship (Eze. 8:16; Dem. 17:3) and spiritism (Rev. 16:13, 14) as they have been manifested throughout all pagan history, and as they are reasserting themselves in our day.
C. It is Satan's constant effort to make some form of his false religions universal. The devil seeks world worship in a federated world whose universal religion will be antigod in the name of God.
1. Past examples: worship of man-made gods and goddesses (Acts 19:27); astrology and planet worship (Jer. 44:19; 2 Kings 10:19; I Kings 11:33); worship of religio-politics (2 Kings 17:16; Jer. 8:2; Deut. 4:19). Beast empires of past. Golden image of federated power (Dan. 3:5-28).
2. Ultimate global combine of the dragon and the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 13:3, 4, 8, 12, 15; 14:9-11; 17:13, 14; 19:20). A federated apostate world at war with God (Rev. 20:4).
3. A bold attempt to counterfeit the coming of Christ (2 Thess. 2:8, 9) and take over the rulership and receive the worship of a federated world.
V. Appeal (Rev. 14:7).
1. "There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god" (Ps. 81:9).
2. Christ refused the worship of Satan and his federated world (Matt. 4:9, 10).
3. In this judgment hour of history, God will "famish all the gods of the earth" (Zeph. 2:10, 11). The time has come for men to cease giving glory to man and to "fear God, and give glory to him; ... and worship him that made heaven, and earth" (Rev. 14:7). The judgment hour has struck!
4. The way of life or the way of death (Deut. 30:15-20).
J. A. B.