Friday, October 5, 2012

Worship II: Worship in Spirit...

(Read Worship I first)

We all worship. Worship is what we were created for. Everyone worships. Whether or not you call yourself a Christian; whether or not you call yourself spiritual or religious, you worship. As pastor Louie Giglio puts it, "Every day, all day long, everywhere you go, you worship. It's what you do, it's who you are." Simply put, "worship is our response to what we value most." (Giglio). Which begs the question, who or what do you value most?

At the end of the day, there are only two things we worship. We are either worshipping self, or we are worshipping God. Any worship apart from God is simply gratifying our own desires...worshipping self. Or look at it another way...we are either worshipping the Creator, God, or the created (which includes self). Everything in existence falls into two categories; God, and created things. So if you're not worshipping God, guess what...

Any message on worship must start with John chapter 4. Why? It's there that God lays out for us exactly what He is looking for in worship and from a worshipper. It's there we read the following words from Jesus;

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
This passage is ultimately about Jesus correcting a Samaritan woman’s mis-understandings of worship...and I think he is also correcting ours.

First, worshipping in spirit means it’s not about where you worship, but how…he wants whole-hearted worship. Second, you no longer have to “go somewhere” to worship God, because His Spirit now indwells all believers. You don't have to go to a temple, find a priest, and offer a sacrifice. You and I ARE the temple, Jesus is our priest, and Jesus is our sacrifice. And as we will learn later, not only is Jesus our sacrifice, but our whole lives are to be a living sacrifice as well...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The big point about worshipping in spirit is this; God is far more interested in how you worship and the spirit in which you are worshipping than where you are worshipping or what you are doing. In other words, Jesus is overturning “outward worship” and instituting “inward” worship…not worship of self, but worship of the heart...and "from the heart" isn't referring specifically to emotions, but "heart" is referring to your entire being...everything that encompasses you including your heart, but your intellect as well.

William MacDonald, author of the Believer's Bible Commentary puts it this way;

"The Jewish people had reduced worship to outward forms and ceremonies. They thought that by religiously adhering to the letter of the law, and going through certain rituals, they were worshiping the Father. But theirs was not a worship of the spirit. It was outward, not inward. Their bodies might be bowed down on the ground but their hearts were not right before God."

In Isaiah we see God’s heart on this matter; The Lord says: 

"These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13) 

Again, the point here is that we not fool ourselves in our worship. It is all too easy to do the right things, sing the right songs, focusing on our actions and "what we do" thinking we are honoring and worshipping God. However, He is far more interested in what's going on inside of us.

Spirit worship holds nothing back be it joy or sorrow, be it brokenness or fullness. Worshipping in spirit is all about bringing all that you are to the cross. It's about the widow who gave all she had...two copper coins. To put it as simple as I can, worship in spirit is to worship in complete and total honesty and transparency. This is what God is after. Don't pretend, don't wear a mask, don't try to hide from Him, but bring all that you are to Him in worship.

But that's not all...coming next, the other side of the coin...worship in truth.

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