Saturday, May 28, 2022

Proper Worship (John 4)

"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth" (John 4:23a).

Yesterday our study of Psalm 63 turned our thoughts to the worship of our great God. We will focus more closely on this subject for the rest of the month of May.

People are born to worship because God created man in His image, making people religious by nature. We find evidence of this truth in every society. All people, no matter when or from what culture, have expressed the desire to worship something. Though all cultures are in some way religious, not everyone worships the true, living God; even those who worship the God of Scripture do not always worship Him properly.

Proper worship of God flows from a correct understanding of who He is. When God’s people come face to face with the God of Scripture, they cannot be bored and despondent. Yet, this attitude is typified all too often in churches of every denomination. People are either bored in worship, or they become enthralled in the emotionalism of the moment. Churches try worldly methods and techniques to attract people to their services, but if the worship is not based on God’s Word and the truth of who God is, the efforts will be in vain.

Whenever we worship anything other than the God of Scripture, we commit idolatry. The way to incite interest in worship is to bring the character of God before people. David did not rely on distractions and manipulations to stir his soul in worship; he simply focused on the true character of God. When God’s character in all its fullness is presented in worship, people respond with intensity. But if error about God is taught, or God is replaced by entertainment, our churches will turn into synagogues of Satan.

Jesus commands us to worship God in spirit and in truth. We cannot properly worship God if we are ignorant of His character. When we approach God in the assembly of His people, we must worship in spirit, having a heartfelt response of praise, ardor, reverence, and service to the true character of God. When we worship Him in truth, we exhibit a sound intellectual understanding of God as He has revealed Himself to us. Such an understanding cannot but inflame our souls as we bow before His holy presence.

What are some ways you are tempted to worship a god who is not the true God? Deuteronomy 13 instructs us on what to do when faced with this temptation. Apply it to your life today. Do not to listen to those who teach contrary to Scripture. What should you do instead (vv. 3–4)?