The Essence of True Worship
For we . . . worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
-Philippians 3:3, emphasis added
Worship that focuses on God and God alone is true spiritual worship-worship that is energized by the Spirit of God. How do we know when we are operating in the power of the Holy Spirit? Here is a test: where God's Spirit reigns, believers relate to the Word-this is Spirit-filled teaching; where God's Spirit reigns, believers relate to each other-this is Spirit-filled fellowship; where God's Spirit reigns, believers relate to the Lord-this is Spirit-filled worship; where God's Spirit reigns, believers relate to the world-this is Spirit-filled evangelism.
God is the cause of all things, the fountain of all perfection, without parts or dimensions, for He is eternal. He is an infinite Spirit-filling the heavens and the earth-pervading, governing, and upholding all things!
God can be pleased only with that which resembles himself. Therefore, He must hate sin and sinfulness; He can delight only in those who are made partakers of His own divine nature. Since all creatures were made by Him, all owe Him obedience and reverence; but, to be acceptable to this infinite Spirit, the worship must be of a spiritual nature-springing from the heart, through the influence of the Holy Ghost. It must be in truth, not only in sincerity, but performed according to that divine revelation which He has given men of himself.
God is worshiped in spirit when, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, "believers bring all their affections, appetites, and desires to the throne of God; and God is worshiped in truth, when God's Word guides every purpose and passion of a believer's heart, and regulates every act of a believer's worship."
The essence of worship is spiritual. In John 4, Jesus told the woman at the well, "The location of worship is no longer the main concern. The issue is not where you worship, but rather whom you worship and how you worship." God is an immortal, invisible, and omnipresent Spirit. He cannot be seen or touched, and He cannot be represented by an idol or any kind of likeness. Yet, just as an earthly son looks like his dad, so Jesus came to give us the image of the invisible God. And so Father was Jesus' favorite title for God.
The Gospels record about seventy times when Jesus spoke to God, and every time He called Him Father, except when He was on the cross bearing the judgment for man's sin. Then He said, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).
Jesus spoke three times in John 4 of worshiping "the Father." But only once does Jesus refer to God as "our Father," and that was not a direct address to God. It was a sample prayer, as the content shows, for Jesus would not have asked for forgiveness (Matthew 6:9).
Spiritual worship is an evidence of salvation. One who is not saved cannot truly worship; One who is truly saved will be motivated by the indwelling Holy Spirit to worship. It is fair, then, to examine ourselves on the basis of our worship. If you have trouble worshiping, maybe you are not saved. If you get bored in church, or if you do not mind missing church altogether, it may be because the Holy Spirit is not in you prompting your heart. If He is there, you must yield your will to His power.
To continue reading this message and see a comparison between Jewish, Samaritan and True worship, please click here.
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