Thursday, September 11, 2014
“In His Presence: Contemplation on Worship”
You’re listening to The New You, the daily broadcast for people who have been made new by the blood of Christ. I’m Robert Hatfield, and here is today’s Scripture:
“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’ ” (Mat. 15:7-9).
In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that it’s important to get worship right. Worship is not something to take lightly, and it isn’t always easily done.
Jesus taught that true worship is to be offered “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). In other words, worship done right will involve both mind and body, heart and actions. Today, let’s focus on both sides of worship. First, we will see the “in spirit” side, that is the mind and heart part of worship. Then, we will move to the “in truth” side of worship, which has to do with our bodies and our actions.
A sincere disposition must characterize the worshiper’s mind. The mindset in which you approach worship to God is just as important as the actions that you employ to express that worship. Empty actions are just that – empty. They’re vain. That’s the entire point of the text that I read at the beginning of today’s episode, Matthew 15:7-9. Jesus told of one who came to worship with an arrogant attitude (Luke 18:9-14). The Lord did not speak favorably of that proud prayer. In the Old Testament, God commanded the people to stop offering their empty sacrifices because they were hypocrites (Isa. 1:11-17). In Matthew six, Jesus tells us that basing our religion off of entertainment – that is, to be seen of men – is foolish (Mat. 6:1-4).
By contrast, the Bible outlines for us the disposition with which we should approach worship. First, we should approach the worship humbly. James 4:10 reminds us to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord. Second, we should come reverently. Listen to Habakkuk 2:20: “The LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Third, we should come with a servant’s heart. We are rendering service to God through our worship of Him (John 4:24; Col. 3:17). Finally, we ought to worship intentionally. Remember that it is impossible to accidentally worship. Abraham planned his worship (Gen. 22:5). So did Paul (Acts 24:11). You and I must plan to worship and put forth mental effort in offering our spiritual sacrifices before God in worship.
Scriptural deeds must comprise New Testament worship. This is the “in truth” side of the worship equation. We can observe from our brothers and sisters in the first century church exactly what worship should look like. They partook of the Lord’s Supper each Lord’s day (1 Cor. 11:23-27). They sang praises to God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). They prayed together (Acts 2:42). They gave of their financial blessings (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7). The word of God was taught (2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 20:7).
Let’s wrap it up: True worship will be comprised of both parts of Jesus’ equation: “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). You can’t have true worship without scriptural deeds, but you also can’t have true worship without the sincere disposition. May we seriously contemplate the honor and the responsibility of worship to God, and may we express that worship as He prescribes. He is worthy of our absolute best.
Memory Verse: We return once again to our perfect pattern, Jesus Christ, who shows us how to interact with others and to be more like Him:
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:32)
Sometime today: Read Psalm 135:15-18 and answer this question: what does the Psalmist say happens to those who worship idols? I’ll have the answer to that question tomorrow.
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This is The New You, I’m Robert Hatfield, and I hope you have a great day!