JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO WORSHIP
There are many and varied types of worship in the world today. The world religions seek to worship the God of the Bible or man-made gods in vastly different ways. These varied types of wor-ship range from close to the Bible pattern to the ridiculous. Denominationalism has a host of contrasting worships. A number of individuals have their own ideas of worship, choosing to worship as they see fit, rather than following the Biblical pattern. Many have chosen to worship God on a lake, in the woods, or wherever they are, reason-ing that they can worship God alone. They have rejected any organized form of worship, as in an assembly of the church. Are these various forms of worship acceptable? What does the Bible say?
First, the word of God is the pattern or authority in settling this matter. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18). Mary told those at the marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1, 2), “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” (Verse 5). 1 Peter 4:11 exhorts all today, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;….” “Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the mount.” (Hebrews 8:5; Exodus 26:30). This included the structure of the tabernacle and the things therein, including the willing offerings. (Exodus 25; 26). The altar of the Lord was where worship would take place and was to be built without change. (Joshua 22:28, 29). People were not at liberty to worship God as they chose, wherever they chose. Again, 1 Chronicles 28 and 29 are God’s instructions, His pattern, to Solomon by the mouth of David, as to how the temple was to be made. Similarly, God through New Testament writers has given His pattern for New Testament worship and Christian living.
Second, the word of God describes various kinds of worship. Paul found ignorant worship in Athens. (Acts 17:23). He found gods made of gold, silver, stone graven by art and men’s device. (Verses 25-29). Colossians 2:23 speaks of “will worship”, like those in Israel where “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25). Many today ignore the worship God ordained, and they do what pleases them and the crowds. A number of “will” worshippers are described as follows, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” (Matthew 15:7-9; Isai-ah 29:13). W. E. Vine describes such people as having worship that is self-imposed, pretended, and self-chosen. (Word Studies in the New Testament, p. 912). Stephen described some whom “God…gave…up to worship the host of heaven” (Acts 7:42), idolatrous, offering sacrifices to idols. (Verses 40-42). Paul wrote of “things offered unto idols”, showing that such worship was wrong. (1 Corinthians 8:1, 4ff). Revelation 9:20 forbad them to “worship devils”, which the devil tried to get Jesus to do. (Matthew 4:8, 9). We should respond as Jesus did, saying, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Verse 10). When John “fell down to worship before the feet of the angel” he was told, “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” (Revelation 22:8, 9).
Third, some people are accustomed to extolling a man. For example, the pope is called, “Holy Father”, “the Vicar (representative) of Christ upon the earth”, “pontiff” (bishop over all), and more. Multitudes bow before him, giving him worship and praise that is reserved for God alone. Hosts of preachers wear the title of “Reverend”, “Elder”, “Bishop”, and such like, setting themselves apart and above others. Some are all but Deified. Job said, “Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.” (Job 32:21, 22). Matthew 23 may be the strongest rebuke in the scriptures. Among the things which Jesus reprimanded was the wearing of flattering titles. (Verses 1-12). Many do not seem to get this. Children give reverence (respect) to parents who correct them. (Hebrews 12:9). However, “Holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9). Man should not presume to be held in the reverence which belongs to God. When Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet to worship him, “Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. (Acts 10:25, 26). Compare Acts 14:8-18). Paul refers to himself as an “apostle”, one sent, a messenger, “a serv-ant.” (Romans 1:1).
Fourth, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). Compare Joshua 24:14, “in sincerity and in truth.” These verses, whether under Old or New Testament law, call upon worshippers to have the right frame of mind and the right thing when bowing before the Great I AM. Worship, Greek, PROSKUNEO, means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i. e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):–worship.” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, p. 1190). Our worship ought to be in all humility, totally centered and fixed upon God. Total reverence should permeate the worshipper. The worshippers mind should be free of any and all outside matters and distractions when kissing toward the Creator of heaven and earth. We should “pray with the spirit, and…pray with the understanding also:…sing with the spirit, and…sing with the understanding also.” (1 Corinthians 14:15). Our minds should be exclusively fixed upon the body of Jesus when breaking the bread, and upon the blood shed for the remission of sins and to purchase the church when drinking of the cup. The sermon ought to find us following reverently every word spoken, with the intent of following up on the things said later to see if they were so. The contribution should find us cheerful at what we have prospered, and that we may aid the needy, while helping to evangelize the lost and edify the saved. May we not be thinking of any other things during these five items of worship.
Fifth, any and all who have been saved by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:12-14), upon obedience to His will (Hebrews 5:8, 9), having believed (Hebrews 11:6; John 8:24), repented (Acts 3:19), confessed (Romans 10:9, 10; Acts 8:37), and been baptized (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Romans 6:1-5; Galatians 3:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 12:13), should want to worship the One who saved you from an eternal hell, and gave you hope of eternal life in heaven. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” This verse should not have to be preached and taught to the extent it does to one who truly understands what has been done. Christians should anxiously look forward to the first day of the week when they can unite to thank God for what He has done, and to give him glory and praise.
Sixth, God showed His great love for the lost by sending and giving Jesus, His only begotten Son, only Son of a kind, to stand in my place, to die so that I could be saved. (John 3:16). Jesus willingly left the glories of heaven and came to earth to die for the remission of my sins. (John 15:13; Matthew 26:28). Such love demands that every person of understanding should seek for opportunities to worship the giver of such matchless love.
In view of the few things written herein, Christians ought to be filled with joy, remember these great truths, and frequently sing some of the great songs of the church. The late and beloved Tillit S. Teddlie, wrote “True Worship.” Read it, and sing it often. Other songs one might find comforting are, Holy, Holy, Holy; O Worship The King; Lord, We Come Before Thee Now; and such like.
Beloved, reject the doctrines and commandments of men; they are in vain. (Matthew 15:7-9). “Worship God” “in spirit, and in truth”; such worship is acceptable.