Jesus said, "...the true worshipers shall worship the Father in SPIRIT AND TRUTH; for such people the father seeks to be His worshipers. †God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in SPIRIT AND TRUTH."†† (John 4:23-24)
††††††††† In SPIRIT: †refers to our attitude, love, motive, and zeal to follow the LordÖ."'spirit' here does not refer to the Holy Spirit, but to the spirit of man." (Pulpit Commentary [vol. XVII, p. 169])
††††††††† In TRUTH: refers to the revealed truth of God.† Jesus prayed to His Father, "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth." (John 17:17)††††
††††††††††† Certainly we MUST worship with the proper MOTIVE, ZEAL, EMOTION, and TRUST.† That is our part; to worship with the proper SPIRIT.† But we MUST also worship according to the commands and examples of the WORD of God.† We cannot invent our own ways of worship.† God provided us with clear instructions - That is the part He provided; to worship in TRUTH.
††††††††††† When we study the New Testament, His law for us today, we find only the following items of worship being commanded, or practiced by the first century saints as they were guided by the apostles who were being directly led by the Holy Spirit.
††††††††† 1.† PRAYER:† "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,..." (I Tim. 2:1-8)† Also, those who had just become Christians "were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to PRAYER." (Acts 2:41-42)† Godís word gives us authority to pray. †When saints pray with the proper spirit, that is worship.
††††††††††† 2.† LORD'S SUPPER:† ďAnd on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together
to break bread, Paul began talking to them....."
20:7)† Paul rebuked the church at
††††††††† 3.† SINGING:† "Let the word of
Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one
another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in
your hearts to God."†† (Col. 3:16)†
Paul tells the church at
††††††††† 4.† GIVING OF OUR MEANS (Fellowship):
ďOn the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come" (I Cor. 16:2)† Those who had just become Christians "were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and TO FELLOWSHIP, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." (Acts 2:41-42)† †Godís word gives us the authority to give of our means.† When saints give of their means with the proper spirit, that is worship.
††††††††† 5. †TEACHING: Those who had just become Christians "were continually devoting them†††† selves to THE APOSTLES' TEACHING and to fellowship, †to †the †breaking †of †bread †and †to
prayer." (Acts -42)Ö.Also,"And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them (preaching)....." (Acts 20:7) Godís word gives us the authority to have preaching of the Gospel.† When saints actively listen, with the proper spirit,† that is worship.
††††††††† 1.† CAN WE pray with our minds and hearts and please God?† Paul said, "I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also:..." (I Cor. 14:15)† Obviously we can.
††††††††††† What if we add, as some religions do, a "prayer wheel" (an apparatus to which a written prayer is attached, each revolution of the wheel counting as an utterance of the prayer. [Webster's Dictionary]); would that be "in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH?" Obviously not!
††††††††† 2.† CAN WE† partake of the Lord's Supper on the first day of every week, blending our hearts and minds as we commune with our Lord as He instructed us to; remembering Him in the way He requested and be pleasing to God?† Obviously we can.
†††† †††††† What if we use a computer to do our remembering for us; or simply play a video tape each week of saints partaking of the Lord's Supper instead of our actually partaking of it ourselves? Would that be "in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH?" Obviously not.
††††††††† 3.† CAN WE sing with our minds and hearts and please God?† Paul said, "I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with †the †mind †also." ††††(I †Cor. †††)
Obviously we can.
†††† †††††† What if we add the mechanical making of music (i.e. drums, guitar, piano, organ, etc.) to praise God; or have a group sing for us?† Would that be "in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH?" †Obviously not.
††††††††† 4.† CAN WE† save a portion of what God has blessed us with each week out of our paychecks, and lovingly give it to the Lord on the first day of the week and be pleasing to God? Obviously we can.
†††† †††††† What a percentage was automatically taken out (like our social security and income tax) without our having to put any thought into how much or why? Would that be "in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH?" †Obviously not.
††††††††† 5.† CAN WE meet with other Christians and hear the word of God proclaimed; "searching the scriptures to see whether these things were so" (Acts ) and be pleasing to God? Obviously we can.
†††† †††††† What if we sent a tape recorder to services instead, collected and stored up the sermons until we have a more "convenient season" to hear the word of God proclaimed; would that be worshiping "in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH?" ††Obviously not.
We Cannot Please God By Adding To, Or
Taking Away, From His Instructions!
††††††††††† Paul told the Christians at
††††††††††† Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
David A. Beck