By Johnie Edwards
The world’s philosophy tells us that we can worship as we please and whom we desire. This is true legally, but to please God, our worship must be on God’s terms. When Satan tempted Jesus to fall down and worship him, Jesus responded, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:10). God is a jealous God and He made it very clear to Israel of old when He said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou, shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I am a jealous God. . .” (Exod. 20:3-5).
God – The Object Of Our Worship
In today’s society, men worship about everything but God. They worship men, angels, false gods, and even Satan. When Cornelius fell down at the feet of Peter to worship him, Peter said, “Stand up; I myself ship God! also am a man” (Acts 10:26). He would not allow Cornelius to worship him. Jesus sharply rebuked Satan when he tried to get Jesus to worship him (Matt. 4:8-10). John was told, “See thou do it not” when he fell down to worship an angel, and was quickly told to “worship God” (Rev. 22:8-9). The Samaritan woman told Jesus that “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain (Mt. Gerizim); and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:20-24). Once and for all Jesus settled the issue that men ought to worship God!
Man’s response to God’s desire for worship has gone from faithful worship by many to no worship at all. Men have responded sometimes by:
(1) Worshiping God in vain. Jesus accused the scribes and Pharisees, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). You see, our teaching can be of such nature that it even renders our worship vain. These people were worshiping God, but it was to no avail. How sad it is when men go through a form of worship and it all be for nought!
(2) Worshiping to please self. Paul referred to “will worship” as he wrote the Colossians (Col. 2:23). Many respond to the plea of worshiping God by doing as they please in worship. Often it is said, “We like it this way” or “it sounds good” and the list goes on. When folks say things like that, it is pretty evident that they have no desire to please God in their worship! It might be well just here to remind you, “For even Christ pleased not himself . . .” (Rom. 15:3).
(3) Mockery. Man have been known to just make fun of the Lord in their worship. In the past, the Jews worshiped in mockery. “And they worship has gone from faithful worship by many to no worship at all. and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshiped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him” (Mk. 15:18-19). There is no way that worship of this nature could be sincere; but they were merely having a good time – this the Lord will not accept.
(4) In spirit and in truth. The only kind of response that God will accept is the kind of worship Jesus referred to as He talked with the woman at the well. He said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). Worship is to be of a spiritual nature. To worship in spirit is to worship from the heart. It involves understanding, meaning and feeling. To worship in truth is to worship by the teachings of the truth, the Word of God (Jno. 17:17). The Word of God must be the standard by which we worship. Early Christians followed this rule when “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). They also sang praises from the heart (Eph. 5:19).
Some Reasons Why We Should Want To Worship God
We should feel a response of love toward God and want to honor Him in our worship. We need to want to worship God, not out of a fear of going to hell if we don’t, but rather from a desire to please God in our worship. Let’s take a look at some reasons why men ought to worship God.
(1) God Made Us. We should worship God for He made us. That which is made needs to adore the maker. In the very beginning God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:26-27). Man is superior to everything God made and God put him in a position of dominion over the rest of His creation.
(2) God Provides For Us. God cares about His creation. From the feeding and watering of Israel of old, Paul told the Athenians, “For in him we live, and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28). Since it is in God that we even live and move, surely we ought to give Him the praise and adoration of our hearts in worship. Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you. . .”(Matt. 6:30).
(3) God Loves Us. There is no love like the love that God has demonstrated for His creation. The highlight of God’s love can be seen in the golden text of the Bible. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). Paul told the Romans, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). When we ponder the fact that God gave His only son to die for our sins, surely we should be motivated to worship Him.
(4) There Is No Other. We ought to worship God for there is no other God to worship. As the people in the Old Testament were told, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:22). If we don’t worship God, it is like Peter said one time about Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68). There is only “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:6). It is either we worship God or we don’t really worship!
(5) Heaven Will Be a Place of Worship. Heaven will be an extension of our worship after our earth life. People who don’t like to worship God while here will be most uncomfortable in heaven! As the book of Revelation closes, God’s people are pictured as they worship God. John reported that “they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints …for all nations shall come and worship before thee” (Rev. 15:3-4).
Have you checked your worship lately?
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 3, pp. 65, 86
February 7, 1985