Tuesday, January 3, 2017

True Worship

What is the true worship of God, and what does it look like? Now let us face facts, we are all going to worship something; if it is not God, it will be something else (Romans 1:22-25; Colossians 3:5; Matthew 6:24). Also, even if people  claim to be worshiping God, it can be a distorted picture of God (2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Isaiah 43:10; Matthew 4:10). But given these limits, there are those who jump to the opposite extreme. They develop questionable boundaries as to what constitutes correct worship. They can say that everyone who does not worship exactly the way they  do is doing it wrong. So we need to ask what constitutes genuine worship. This is worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23,24).

There are basic truths of God that form the basis of true worship (Jude 3, Romans 16:17; Isaiah 8:20). These are not every detail people contend over, but the basic truths of God and what He has done (Galatians 1:8,9; 1 John 4:1-3; Deuteronomy 13:1-4). The general tendency here is to be too broad or too narrow. We either accept anything, no matter how questionable it is Scripturally. Or we can try to hold people to all sorts of requirements not found in Scripture. Now Scripture does say worship should be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). But the picture given is a quite informal one (1 Corinthians 14:26). They are told to follow basic order and not all speak at once (1 Corinthians 14:27-33). They are also told they should not do things that do not make sense (1 Corinthians 14:9-19). This gives broad boundaries for what can be done. But the main issue is the substance of what is said and done.

Also, what is done must be genuine.  It must be an expression of the inner self of the worshiper (Malachi 1:10; Matthew 6:1-18; Isaiah 58:2-10). I do not believe this requires some particular type of experience. What it does require is basic honesty of our worship and a life that reflects that.  This is speaking against going through the motions of worshiping God and then going out and living as we like. We need to mean it. This is opposed to putting God in some corner of your life and only taking Him out in an emergency. Our worship of God should be constant, and we should trust Him at all times (Proverbs 3:56; Psalm 127:1,2; 37:3-6). But the main thing should be sincerity, and we should not make the chief issue that of methods.  

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