The True Worship to God and Christ
God created everything in the world with man as the focal point of His divine plan. He created the sun so we can have light and warmth, and made our planet to rotate on its axis and revolve around the sun so we can have day and night, time and seasons. The moon and the stars were all created for our enjoyment. He created earth to be just perfect for man’s life, and everything in it – all the elements and gases, the plants and trees, the animals and fishes, for they are all essential to man’s survival. But why is man so special to God? This will be the topic of our study.
MAN’S INHERENT DUTY TO GOD
Why was man created by God? Here is the biblical explanation:
(Psalm 99:5 NKJV in all verses otherwise noted / emphasis on verses ours)
“Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His footstool—
He is holy”
“Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
KEY POINTS The Lord God created man for us to EXALT Him and render WORSHIP to Him base on our knowledge of Him. We also need to RECOGNIZE that we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. For the same reason we also share the truth about God.
Other than the reason of creation, why should we worship God? King David, a faithful servant of God, explains this:
(1 Chronicles 29:10-13)
“Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said:
“Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
“Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.”
KEY POINTS This is the reason why we worship and exalt. Because in Him is the greatness, power, glory, victory and majesty, even riches and honor. He reigns supreme above all with His power and might.
The Lord Jesus during His time on earth showed us a key element when we pray and exalt The Almighty God:
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”
To hallow God’s name simply means:
“The Lord reigns;
Let the peoples tremble!
He dwells between the cherubim;
Let the earth be moved!”
KEY POINTS To hallow means to tremble before Him, or having a reverent or divine fear of The Lord God.
THE WORSHIP SOUGHT BY GOD
In the time of Christ, there is a group of people sought by God to worship Him. Who are they and what makes their worship special to God? This is what The Lord Jesus says about them:
“Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.””
KEY POINTS The Lord mentions about the time when the TRUE WORSHIPPERS will worship God. This is the kind of worshippers whose worship God seeks. How does Christ classify them as true worshippers? They worship in SPIRIT AND TRUTH. In fact, The Lord Jesus emphasized its importance. He said that “those who worship Him (or God) MUST worship in spirit and truth”!
Majority of those who practice ‘Christianity’ misconstrue the term worship as that which is commonly done inside a church or temple. After all, present day Christianity is patterned by the Catholic Church after Judaism, the religion of the Jews, who performs worship only in certain locations that were commanded to them by the prophets of old. This was especially true in the time of The Lord Jesus. However, He guaranteed the end of such practice when He told the woman that the hour is coming when God will no longer be worshiped on their mountain, nor in Jerusalem – two assigned places where early Israelites and Jews worshiped God. This statement of Christ signals the time when location is no longer a factor in worshiping God.
This truth was declared by Stephen, the martyred saint during the apostles’ time, as he quoted the prophet Isaiah (in Isaiah 66:1-2) who prophesied about the future insignificance of any structure or edifice to be used in worshiping God:
““However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
‘Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,
Or what is the place of My rest?
Has My hand not made all these things?’”
KEY POINTS This statement of Stephen echoed the teaching of Christ about the insignificance of any place or edifice (commonly termed church) in the His time. Anyone can worship God at any place and time, regardless of whether he is alone or in fellowship with other believers. After all, the only requirement from The Lord Jesus for those who worship God is that they MUST worship Him in spirit and truth.
THE WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH
How can one worship in SPIRIT AND TRUTH? We need to know first, what is spirit and what is truth? Let us first find out, what is spirit? Here is the pronouncement of Christ:
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
KEY POINTS The spirit is the words that Christ spoke. And to be in spirit means to abide in His words (John 8:31), and in His words alone (as He taught in Matthew 13:44-46 / Matthew 9:16-17 / Matthew 13:52).
How about 'to be in truth'? Who is truth upon whom true worshipers MUST also be found? Here are some declarations of Christ:
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
KEY POINTS The Word of God is truth. But wait, who is the Word of God? The Lord Jesus was the Word:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
and still is:
“He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.”
In fact, here’s how Christ proves the fact that He is the Word or the truth of God:
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
KEY POINTS The Lord Jesus Christ, as God’s Word, is the truth of God and only through Him can one come to the Father and be in union with Him and His Son:
“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
KEY POINTS Therefore, to be in SPIRIT AND TRUTH means to abide in the WORDS of Christ and to be in union with Him, for our union with Him is our union also with His Father, The Almighty God. And what do we receive when we are in Christ and His words? He will give us His GLORY even while we are still on earth! And because we are in Him and His words, then we are ENLIGHTENED, meaning we know ALL THINGS about The Lord and His salvation (John 15:15 / 1 John 2:20). With the GLORY and ENLIGHTENMENT that we receive from Christ, we can now WORSHIP GOD with a worship and praise that can truly give Him glory and exaltations!
THE WORSHIP OF OTHER PEOPLE
How about the worship of other people, or those who think they worship God basing on the old pattern of Israel and Judaism, will Christ even recognize their efforts? The Lord Jesus referred to these people as those who serve or worship God basing on traditions or rituals, that He already made insignificant or unnecessary in His time:
(Matthew 15:3, 9)
“He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?... And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
KEY POINTS Most of the people who try to follow Christ expect that their worship to God is acceptable to Him. However, The Lord Jesus invalidates their worship simply because they are only based on their own ways, rituals and traditions.
THE PROMISE TO THE TRUE WORSHIPERS – THE DISCIPLES
On the other end, the true worshipers who are recognized by The Lord Jesus as His disciples receive this promise of The Lord whenever they gather to worship:
““Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.””
The Lord Jesus Christ made this promise to His disciples since they are the true worshipers whom The Father seeks. And this promise is alive and binding, they are not just words written in a book. This is one blessing of being counted a true disciple of Christ – you belong among the true worshipers sought out by God, The Father, and loved by His Son, Our Lord, King and Master – Jesus Christ.