The Bible on Acceptable Worship

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).

Man must worship God. Worship is the expression of adoration, reverence and devotion. Worship may take numerous forms, but acceptable worship will take the forms prescribed by God. Jesus quoted Isaiah in Matthew 15:9, "But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men."

Acceptable worship, as it is described by Jesus' statement in John 4:24, must be in spirit and truth. The instruction that we should worship in spirit is instruction demanding our minds, our attention, to that which we do. No mechanical recitation of prayer, no thoughtless singing of spiritual songs, no inattentive eating of the elements of the Lord's Supper: but concentration on that assigned significance of the thing being done, understanding that prayer is made TO GOD, that songs are being sung to make melody WITH THE HEART, that the elements of the Supper are to bring to mind the death of the Son of God. Yes, worship must be in spirit.

According to John 4:24, worship must also be in truth. God has not left us to ad lib our adoration, reverence and devotion. He has told us what to do and how to do it. He has given instruction, for instance, regarding our worship in the Lord's Supper, as to when and how often (Acts 20:7). He has given instruction regarding our worship in song, in prayer, and in giving of our means. And those who worship in truth will obey Him.

It does not matter if "it seems good to me." God is Spirit, and only as He reveals Himself can we know what is good to Him.

- by Patrick Farish

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