Sunday, December 17, 2017 am                                            Nt Church Index

Worship and the Church (2)
Worship in Spirit and In Truth

     Today we continue our brief study of worshipping God as the Lord’s church.  Last week we defined worship, discussed some elements of true worship and showed how it is a work of the church – 1) Directed toward God, 2) Commanded to worship; 3) We have a pattern to follow as a congregation; and 4) Edification is a biproduct of proper worship.  Today, we want to notice how our worship is to be in spirit and in truth. 

     In spirit and in truth is taken from John 4:23-24 where Jesus was engaged in a discourse with the Samaritan woman about worship.  He noted 3 elements associated with true worship: 1) An object of worship; 2) Proper attitude; and 3) Proper action.  Interestingly, Joshua in his farewell address made a similar statement, “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!  Joshua 24:14 (we often most quote vs. 15). 

     In our next lesson we will examine what we do and HOW we are to carry out each act.  Then we will engage in a special study on Instrumental music.  Finally, we will notice why and when we need to assemble. 

Let us get started emphasizing our worship in spirit and in truth. 

 I.                     Worship in Spirit

a.       Our attitude is important!  Our worship to God must come from the heart.
We need purity of heart in all that we do.  Matthew 5:8, it is the pure of heart that will see God!
Psalm 24:3-4, Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or stand in His holy place, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart…”
Hebrews 10:22, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Because of our Lord’s sacrifice, we can draw near to God with a true heart.  Clearly, ONE of the ways we draw near to God is in our worship.   James 4:8, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you… cleanse your hands, purify your hearts…
Mark 7:6 – their heart is far from me, thus making it vain – a text where for eating bread with unwashed hands.
We need holiness - Psalm 29:2, Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.   
Friends, genuine worship is going to come from a genuine Christian.  It will not be something we do a couple of times a week, while living for ourselves the rest of the time.

b.       God condemns improper attitudes – early on He rejected Cain’s sacrifice.  While rebuking what he did, the LORD also rebuked his heart – Genesis 4:6-7.
Malachi 1:6-14 describes the corrupt attitude in worship of Judah, returned from captivity and having not learned her lesson. 
Amos 5:21-24 -I hate, I despise your feast days, sacred assemblies, burnt and gain offerings, and the songs and instruments of praise.  Considering God commanded all of these, why would He hated and despise them?  Because they had corrupted them with ungodly attitudes and motives.
- Matthew 6:1-18 deals with our worship.  In this text Jesus says, when we give, don’t sound a trumpet (1-2); when you pray, don’t do it piously and to be seen of men (5-8); and when you fast, do so dignified and not drawing attention to yourself (16-18).
- Psalm 51:15-17, David wrote, O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.

c.        Every act of worship involves a proper attitude

                                                   i.      Giving – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 – God loves a cheerful giver.

                                                 ii.      Lord’s supper – 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 – do not eat in an unworthy manner, not discerning the Lord’s body. 

                                                iii.      Singing – Colossians 3:16 – with grace in your hearts, Ephesians 5:19, we are singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 14:15 – I will sing with the spirit and I will also sing with the understanding

                                                iv.      Learning the word – Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Acts 10:33, Cornelius and his household were ready to hear the things commanded of God. While not dealing with a formal worship, it shows the attitude we have toward His word.
Acts 17:11 – the Bereans searched the scriptures, …  See also 1 Thessalonians 2:13
The fact that we are worshipping “in spirit and in TRUTH” implies that the truth is not only practiced, but taught. 

                                                  v.      Prayer – 1 Corinthians 14:15, we pray with the spirit and with the understanding
Luke 18:10-14 – Pharisee and tax collector

d.       AS the churchlet us ensure that what we do is in sincerity
Ensure that what we do is not mere ritual.  Yes, God has given us clear instructions about HOW to worship Him, but we must not make it JUST going through the motions. 
- There are little things we can do to ensure this doesn’t happen.  Reminders, saying a few words, variety within bounds (different songs, etc.), setting background for readings, etc.
When we come together, we as the church, seek to facilitate proper worship.  Make it as comfortable as possible (again, this is not the priority, but in whatever we can remove distractions, we can help).
Ensure that what we do is in reverence - Hebrews 12:28.  NEVER forget who our worship is directed to.  We have problems today with a casual mindset that has made its way into the church in many places. 

We ensure that it is done, “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

 II.                   Worship in Truth

a.       God has always demanded we worship properly.  He gives us a pattern.  This is manifested from the beginning.  Even in Genesis 4, the first sacrifice, it is implied there was a pattern.  Abel followed it and Cain did not. 

b.       The Bible condemns corrupted and vain worship, etc.   Again, from the beginning, we see this.
Matthew 15:7-9, when we create and bind man made traditions, it makes our worship to God vain.
1 Corinthians 11:18-22 – what they were doing was NOT the Lord’s Supper.  They were condemned.
1 Corinthians 14 – their lack of orderliness and competitive attitudes and actions were condemned by God.
Colossians 2:23 speaks of self-imposed religion and false humility, etc.  The KJV uses the expression, “will worship” meaning one who worships according to his own will rather than God’s will. 

c.        True worship includes:
Only following the New Testament pattern – the Old Law was nailed to the cross.  Ephesians 2:14-15, Colossians 2:14, etc.  Even John 4:22-24 – the context, the hour is coming…
Following the pattern He has given us – God’s instructions about HOW to worship Him is not an accident.  We must respect the boundaries of scripture – 1 Corinthians 4:6
Colossians 3:17 tells us that whatever we do, it must be “in the name of the Lord.

d.       As the church, let us ensure that all is in place to worship truthfully.  Facilitate our singing together, leaders to orderly conduct the service, removal of distractions, etc.

e.       Do not fellowship those who are practicing or teaching error – Ephesians 5:11, Romans 16:17-18, etc.

f.         In our next lesson we want to notice the “truth” of each act of worship. 

 It is important that we take our worship to God seriously.  When we assemble together we are here to bring glory to Him.  This will only happen if we follow His instructions in all that we do.  Remember that worship is a taste of eternity, WHEN it is done properly.  How are we worshipping God?