Worship in Spirit and in Truth Part A

 

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What are the elements of true worship according to the Bible?

 

In John 4:24 it is written :

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth“.

 

First, true element of worship begins with knowing God, the object of our worship.

 

The Lord here explains the nature of God that He is a Spirit. Then He present’s to us an important element that must be used in worship and it is absolutely necessary.  Another fact to point out, is that because God is spirit, He is to be treated with reverence. What do I mean? I mean that God is not to be looked as normal, for He is Holy. We are not to think that God will accept the way we usually like worship as if he is anything like us. No, God is Spirit. And so, we must understand that when He instructs us to worship Him, it will be different with the way the world worships its idols and its music. So this, in short, is the beginning of our study, that God is to be worshipped with Reverence. With respect and honour. Worship on Sunday is not merely about us singing about God or singing of our experience with God. It is worshipping Holy God with awe. It is knowing that we are not worshipping a human idol, but the true and living God the one who sustains all things! So much of worship involves knowing who God is.

 

My journey first began when it dawn on me that the style of music and the lyrics that I used to love as a young Christian, where not biblical. Found out not because I read books on hymns and psalms. And I did not know it was so because of the regulative principle. I knew it was wrong because I was aware in those days of small portions of God’s character and Holiness. I began to think that the worldly style and taste of music did not go well with God’s Purity and Holiness. I knew that it was my Christian duty, to separate myself from the mind of this age and to be transformed by the renewing of my mind through the word of God (Romans 12:1-2). I separated myself because i am commanded to live a holy life, because God is Holy. What are the reasons for my separation? We read Isaiah 6:1-3 and we see the mighty Seraphim’s, even they, worshipping God with such reverence and awe crying out ‘HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is the Lord host‘. Then we see Isaiah’s reaction in verse 5 “Woe is me!‘ which is a word usually said concerning judgement and condemnation (see Matthew 23). But Isaiah in a way, is humbling himself, making himself low, as if his whole being and soul bowed down before the presence of the Lord. Then He said ‘i am undone‘, as if he said ‘this is the end of me‘. Because he knew that the Holiness of God is incompatible to his uncleanness. Thus Isaiah the Prophet teaches us how we ought to look to God in our worship since He alone is the object of our Worship. This will promote a reverential spirit.

 

Knowing that God is Holy, also implies, that we are to worship Him with all our mind and body because He is perfect and righteous. M.Watts defines worship saying : ‘Worship is the reverence and homage that we render to the Supreme Being, through means such as praise, prayer, the reading of Scripture, and the preaching of the Word of God.‘ (Malcom Watts, What is a reform church? P46). And if we are to show reverence before God, we must also understand that since He is Almighty and Holy God, there is no one better, who can direct us and instruct on how we ought to worship God than God Himself.

 

Stephen Charknock that Puritan Divine, on this subject wrote: ‘The pillars upon which the worship of God stands, cannot be discerned without revelation, no more than blind Samson could tell where the pillars of the Philistanes theatre stood, without one to conduct him. What Adam could not see with his sound eyes, we cannot with our dim eyes; he must be told from heaven what worship was fit for the God of heaven.“ ( Charknock on the Attributes, vol 1, London, the religious track society, p249).

Thus, the Scriptures command us “Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20). In Psalm 29:2 we read “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.“ Jesus said to the devil and whoever follows him “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve“ (Matthew 4:10). In Romans 12:1 we see that God commands to be worshipped in a certain way that pleases Him, for it is our “reasonable service” to Him. In other words, what God commands is for our good, because He knows that this is the right way that we are supposed to enjoy Him. This is not an assumption as if it is like the way we think the likes of our friends. When we tell them to do something that they may like, we can only assume that they may like it, they may not. We bring our uncertain proposals to one another (depending how well you know them). But God brings certain and knowable proposals since He is Lord. For it is He who has made us and knows us well how we function from the inside out (Psalms 103:14). And shall not the Potter know the nature of His creation? In the same way, shall not the clay acknowledge by submitting to the nature and greatness of his creator?

 

And if God has commanded us on the way of worship then we must not be ignorant to make our own way of worship. We are not wiser than God. We must not allow anything to abuse or to overrule that command that God said in our lives. M. Watts adds “The law of worship is that only what God has prescribed in Scripture may be introduced into His worship, or, to put it in another form, what Scripture does not prescribe, it forbids.“ (p49).

 

Some have risen to object that God has said anything concerning how we must worship Him. The argument is ‘God has said nothing, therefore we can worship Him as we desire to‘. But that would also imply, logically, to welcome any form of worship which will be based according to our own personal preference. This maybe sexually immoral, sensual or worldly. But here is where we underestimate total depravity. Man is born in sin, thus it‘s will can only be immoral. Thus we will produce out of our own desires on how we worship God, sinful things. Like a tree with a bad root will produce only bad fruits. And the moment we do so, we create an idol that looks like God but it is a god of our own imagination. One who accepts our way of worship, one who is tolerant with the way the world worships God, which is in fact based on how they see and know who He is. So how should we respond?

 

My friend, the world does not know who God is, only believers who do. In John 14:17 the Lord said the world does not know God because they don’t have the Spirit of God “the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but you know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you“.  Now, if we take a style of worship or a tradition that the world follows, how are we supposed to believe that this will be acceptable to God the Holy One? We are not talking about trivial things which do not affect the way we learn about the worshipping of God according to His nature. Rather, we are referring to things which contradict the very nature of God. It is an offense and an abomination to Him.

If we say that the Spirit of God is in this style which the world would allow openly and joyfully, then is it reasonable to question its spiritual origin or identity? That is, is it the Holy Spirit that convinced you to accept those type of styles? Off course it would be a reasonable thing to do. We commanded to test all spirit’s and be good Bereans (Acts 17:11, 1 John 4:1).

The Scriptures tell us that God has given us commands how we ought to worship Him throughout the entire Bible. In fact, if we look at the book of Exodus 20 we see the Law of God prescribing us on how God is to be worshipped. The first command declares that God alone is to be worshiped. The second commands believers to obey the instructions given by God, on how we ought to worship Him. So the first is: who we worship. And how we worship Him. When God said ‘thou shall not make unto thee any graven image‘He is talking about making an invention or a rule that God has not commanded, by making it sound that it is acceptable to God. We have made an image of god in our own mind which does not resemble the true and living God, for it is another. Watts explains “In the Hebrew, that word we read translated as make means ‘constitute’ or ‘appoint‘. So in the second commandment, God is prohibiting human beings from devising or observing anything in worship which He has not instituted.“ (p.50). Thus it is written “Ye shall not add unto the word which i command you, neither shall ye dimish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which i command you“(Deutoronomy 4:2). In the NT we see our Lord’s commands as one of them in John 4:24 “in spirit and in truth“, which we shall look next.

In Ephesians 5:19 the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit said “be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.“. What the Apostle means by ‘drunk‘ can mean not just literally by wine, but any other drug that aims to awaken our own selfish pleasures that will result by becoming foolish. The evidence that one is filled with the Spirit is that they will begin to obey God’s commands by faith. He then underlines what God has commanded in the worship service. In the praise, there should be singing of Psalms and hymns. Clear instructions. We could also remind ourselves another text, read Colossians 3:16.

 

What happens if we do not follow God’s commandments? There have been times when the Israelite’s did not follow the basic and clear instruction and institution of the worship that God commanded. For example, Aaron’s two sons Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1-3 were consumed with fire and died before the Lord. Why did they die? Because here is what is said: “took either of them in his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. “ The underlining words are that God has not commanded them to worship this way. Yet they did out of ignorance. They were trained priest and they knew very well what they should have done, but instead they disobeyed God. As a result, God punished them justly. Now look at poor Aaron,.. You can imagine what protests he did in his mind; even though it does not say. I am sure most of us would react in the same way. It is understandable, he just lost two sons by a consuming fire. It is a very painful thing indeed. But the way Moses replied to him implies that Aaron had a problem understanding why God executed his sons. Moses reminded Him “This is that the Lord space, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.“ In other words, Moses reminded him that God has already directed them on how He should be worshipped by us. And that God’s Holiness must be magnified to all the people as reverential worship, not to be defiled or abused. God will be worshipped in the way He appointed. So Aaron kept silent.

 

Another example is in Amos 5:26 when we see how the people have quickly determined to reject the worship God has prescribed to them. And have welcomed the worship of other gods in the temple. We read: “But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves“.

Creating a worship of their own inventions and gods of their own imagination and rituals according to their own desires, they created a law of worship for their own sake. But on the other hand, the Christian worships God (as we have looked) according to God’s nature and according to the commands that God himself gave to entrust and instruct us how to worship Him (John 4:23-24).

 

This teaches us that it is important that we obey God’s commands by trying to study and understand what things He meant when He commanded us to worship Him. Christians who are eager to study who God is and His attributes will soon discover that God is to be worshipped quite differently from other gods and idols and other styles of worship.

 

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7 responses to “Worship in Spirit and in Truth Part A

  1. Too many Christians are still forgetting that God is a Omnipotent All Knowing Being . Too many make Jesus into their god forgetting what the Bible says about this only begotten son of God.

    Your text looks very good but when we listen to your video than it contradicts with your saying over there. You not believing that God is a Spirit.

    • Dear Sir

      I think your accusation might be a misunderstanding. If i could ask: could you show me which video that i have done contradicts what i wrote in the article?
      Also, just to add, you mentioned : too many make Jesus into their god forgetting what the Bible says about this only begotten son of God’. Do you believe that Jesus Christ (who is God John 1:1-3) is the second person of the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

      • The writing of John you quote nowhere says Jesus is God like Jesus also never implicated such thing.

        the video on which I reacted is https://thepilgrimsmedia.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/is-jesus-the-son-of-god-video-blog/

        We do believe what is written in the Holy scriptures that Jesus is the sent one from God of whom God Himself declared that Jesus is His only begotten son.

        Nowhere in the Bible is such a teaching which was brought into Christendom in the 4th century. The Nazarene Jew rabbi Jeshua (Jesus Christ) like his apostles and all Jews believed and believe in Only One God Who is One and not three.

      • Dear Sir

        Thank you for your reply and comments. I will be brief.

        I must remind you, that the Apostle’s believed that Christ should, in the same manner, be worshipped as God. That “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:9-11). Now, if what you said is true; that Jesus is not God but a created being, then what Paul is saying here contradicts with Exodus 20:3,5. Because God has commanded the Jews and Gentiles not to worship any other gods, but Him alone.

        Did you known that in Revelation John at one point bowed down and worshipped an angel? (Revelation 19:10). As it is written : Then i fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God’. The word here ‘proskuneo’ is translated as worship.

        You see, if Christ was not to be treated and worshipped as God the Father, as the angel says: worship God, then why is it that Paul is agreeing with God when he writes, directed by the Spirit of God to worship Jesus Christ in the same manner as God in Philippians 2:9-11?

        He would be committing idolatry if Jesus Christ was a created being, and they knew that every well (Exodus 20:3,5, Matt 4:10). But John said that Christ was in the beginning and He alone is the giver of life (emphasis on John 1:3). He uses the ‘Word’ referring to Christ, not just speaking words, but a person (John 1:14, 1 John 1:1-2, 1 John 5:7, Revelation 19:13). This proves that Christ is not a created being.

        Furthermore, the same word ‘worship’ told to John in Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9 is the same word used in Hebrews 1:6 that the Father commanded to be given to the Son who is not a created being. If Jesus was a creation of God, then God would be lying to himself and to us. But we know that God by nature cannot do that.

        So is it right to worship the Son in the same way of worship and honour given to the Father?. Read John 5:23.

        I hope you consider these verses carefully. And repent from denying the worship that the Lord Jesus Christ deserves (John 14:6).

      • From the writings of the apostles we know that they told that people should know that Jesus is the sent one from God (not God himself) and that each person should accept him en believe in him and in Him Who sent Jesus. They also asked that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, i.e. master of the new world, which is created or possible by Jesus Christ, him being the 2nd Adam. They did not to worship him as the God, but to be respectful to him as a god or special high person. You also seem to confuse different words being used, one of worship in the meaning of ‘praying to some one or something in adoration’ and the other word ‘giving reverence or showing respect’.

        You write ” If Jesus was a creation of God, then God would be lying to himself and to us. ” it is just the opposite, in case Jesus is God than God would be telling lies saying that Jesus is His only begotten beloved son, plus He also would be lying about Him being an eternal Spirit, i.e; having no beginning (=no birth) and no ending (=not able to die), having no flesh, bones and blood (whilst Jesus told us he is no spirit and showed his wounds on his flesh and asked us to remember his shedding of blood) plus telling us that man cannot see God and live; and that He can not be tempted nor that man can do Him anything, because Jesus was tempted, bullied, spit on, tortured and even killed (or did God fake that He died? = according your way of thinking Jesus being one and the same as God) .

        Christians should believe in Christ Jesus to be the sent one from God and to be the Messiah, that is what we believe and we follow his words and the words of his heavenly Father Who is greater than Jesus. (We reject human doctrines and only want to keep to the Word of God given to mankind with the Bible.)

        Please, Look at what is written in that Word of God and come to believe those sayings.

        “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16 NIV)

        “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

        “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 28 ¶ “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.” (John 14:27-31 NIV)

        “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.” (John 8:42 NIV)

        “5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)

        “Now I want you to realise that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3 NIV)

        “When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28 NIV)

        “Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”” (John 20:17 NIV)

        “Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”” (Matthew 4:10 NIV)

        “23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”” (John 4:23-24 NIV)

        “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,” (Galatians 4:4 NIV)

        “21 ¶ When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” 23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,” (Luke 3:21-23 NIV)

        “19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him. 24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. 31 ¶ “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid.” (John 5:19-31 NIV)

        “”I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.” (John 5:36 NIV)

        “38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 “I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? 45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”” (John 5:38-47 NIV)

      • It are just the people who believe the Words of God as written in the Bible and the words of Christ, accepting him to be the sent one from God and the man of flesh and blood who did not do his own will (which he would have done when he would be God) but did only God His will, who give full respect to Jesus and appreciate most what Jesus really has done and believing in the great faith Jesus must have had in his heavenly Father, believing that he was going to get an other life after he died. In case Jesus is God he knew man could do him nothing and that he could not die, so he had no reason to be afraid and to perform schizophrenic act, like doing he was praying to God but talked to himself, even asking himself why he had abandoned himself (how can one do that?).

        Non-trinitarian Christians do have much more respect, appreciation and estimation than trinitarian christians who consider that God could not make creatures who could keep his commandements, which would also make of God a very cruel monster, demanding things He knew beforehand people could not keep to it, and letting them suffer so long, even after he performed the charade of doing as if he was a man and so called died, though God cannot die. The trinitarian idea also takes away all the good reasons of hope we do have, believing in the possibility that a man can come out of the dead. With your trinitarian teaching no such promise can be taken serious and God did not proof anything nor did man prof anything to God.

  2. Dear Sir
    Sorry for the delay.
    I thank you for your reply and i hope that this will encourage to think through what you have written. I will answer you response first.

    I was having some difficulty. But also, i was taking the time to allow you to come up with a better argument because if this is all you have, does not seem to agree with Scripture sir. I have allot of generals who would agree with that (The Apostle’s and the Prophets).

    I fear that you have twisted the words of the Holy Scriptures.
    You said: “They did not to worship him as the God, but to be respectful to him as a god or special high person.”

    First, you did not answer a satisfying answer regarding the reason why John was told by an angel not to worship him, but rather worship God in Revelation 19:10? If the Jews worshipped Jesus as a god or with respect as god (if he is not really God) then the Apostle’s and all believers committed a sin against God, because they are worshipping another God (Exodus 20:3,5).
    It is written “‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:29).

    Secondly, with all respect sir, you also completely ignored the meaning of the Greek for ‘worship’ and it’s usage in the Bible in other places. It is always referring to the worship of God, not a creation of God, nor an angel, nor another god or a special high person.
    Do you know what it means to worship deity sir? Your prayers are asked by Him and your reverence and fear! And on top of that your sumbition to His Lordship. Nowhere in the Bible does God allow any other creature to be worshipped in this way, unless they were equal to God. That is why Christ is equal to God as you read in (John 1:1-3). Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah were sent ones from God, but this special one who was indeed sent, was more than a man, more than a prophet or a messenger. If you are so well grounded in Scripture sir, you must really desire to ignore the meaning of another Greek word in John 3:16 ‘only begotten Son’ . μονογενής monogenes (mo-no-ǰe-nees’) adj.
    As a Greek, i can tell which is the meaning of this word in modern times and agreeing with the old koine also. The word means ‘the only one’ ‘the unique one’. It is singular, one of a kind, significant, set apart from any other. And that word is used only for Jesus Christ. Because He is not like other send one’s from God, for He is the Son of God.

    Can you explain sir in John 1:18 who is John referring to when he said “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him”. Who is the “he” at the end of the verse?
    Answer: Jesus. He is the invisible image of God (read Colossians 1:15-17) and according to Hebrews 1:3 (read) the express image of his person (God’s), in the original it means he (Christ) is the exact blueprint of God.

    Also, explain to me, do you think Job 1:21 is referring to God only?
    “He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’”
    2 Sam 2:6 “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.”
    Remember also Deuteronomy 32:29 sir.

    if you yes to my question; then why would God allow another creature (as you say Jesus is not God) to have the power to give life and create life and without him, there would have been no life; if God also said on mount sanai ‘thou shall worship no other gods’? Only God can give life (John 1:3). God could not contradict himself otherwise He would be a lair which i believe He is not.

    Lastly.
    If you have been listening to by audio video on youtube with the introduction on the doctrine of Christ deity, you would have noticed Christ’s own words. I would suggest you listen to it carefully and there will be more evidence on this topic from the very words of the Apostle’s. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVipX7Zz9yw

    I would like to thank you for you interaction with me sir. I hope that you come to the same conclusion as i have done. Repent from your sin dear sir and believe the one way truth and life (John 14:6).

    I would like to ask now regarding your religious beliefs. Were do you get the idea that a sinner can be a Christian and deny the deity of Christ?
    Also, what is your understanding of the Trinity?
    Could you give me names of teachers or professor you have been following who have taught the beliefs that you believe?
    Thank you.

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