Thursday, July 7, 2016


WORSHIP (part 2)

Most everyone is at least somewhat familiar with the descriptions and order for worship as outlined for the Hebrews when they came out of Egypt.

Everything was given down to the smallest detail concerning the building, the priests, the offerings, the order, priestly garments, etc. These are all specifically described in the books Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers in the Old Testament.

There were even specific instructions concerning the packing and moving of the holy things for whenever it came time for the nation to relocate to a different area.

These instructions, given by God to Moses (Num. 4:5-6), were so precise that the slightest deviation could cause problems within the camp, and DID when David tried to move the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Abinidab in Gibeah. (2 Sam. 6:3-8)

David sought the Lord as to why this terrible thing happened to them. After all, it was a good thing David was trying to do when “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah.” (2 Sam. 6:7)

The Lord revealed to David that it was because “we sought not God after the due order.” (1 Chron. 15:13)

Fortunately for us and many others of past generations, that sort of thing hasn’t happened again.

There have been many times when God was not sought nor worshipped according to the prescribed order, but He has held His peace at least as far as immediate and swift judgement is concerned.

The prophets spoke repeatedly of the false worship that was being offered to the Lord. (Isa. 1:11-15; 29:13-16; Amos 5:21-24) Jesus refers to one of these when He chides the Pharisees for their false worship of “…teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9)

Therefore, a simple question can be put forth:
Did the possibility of false, vain, or ineffective worship cease when Jesus died?
Many would have us believe so, saying things like, “Don’t put a limit on what is worship.” Or, “As long as the heart is right, then it doesn’t matter.”

These things “sound” right when first spoken, but are filled with the existential humanism that is destroying our churches today.

Therefore, as in the case of David, we must ask the question—
Does God have a proper order for worship?
Yes, but it is not within the proscribed limit of specific rules and regulations.

For those of us living in the “age of grace,” there are two passages from the NT that give us the guidelines for worship—
But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Jhn 4:23-24)
Let all things be done decently and in order. (1Co 14:40)
In the first passage, Jesus is talking with the Samaritan woman at the well and she brings up the issue of “worship wars” for their day (not unlike what we are experiencing in our own time).

The question then was about the proper location for true worship. She was stuck with what she had been taught, but knew that there were other viewpoints.

Jesus answered her question in two parts: first, He told her she didn’t know what she was worshipping; secondly, He told her a change was coming in the “how” of worship.

The “who” of worship has never changed, and Jesus (in a very un-Christlike manner by today’s standards) told her she was worshipping ignorantly.

The question of today is about the “how” of worship.
  • What kind of music? 
  • How loud? 
  • How big of a spectacle? 
  • Hymns or choruses?
Jesus, in His usual manner, went to the heart of the issue.

The heart of the issue is the issue of the heart.

Jesus said that worship must be “in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23)

That appears at first glance to be quite open-ended and broad.

Thus we are left with a statement that begs an explanation, for which no immediate explanation is given.

We will look into this next.

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