Basic Bible Doctrine (Part 15) - True Worship

XI. True Worship 1. The necessity of worshipping God in truth. A. God must be worshipped in spirit and in truth (Joh 4:24). i. Truth - I. The quality of being true. 1. a. The character of being, or disposition to be, true to a person, principle, cause, etc.; faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, constancy, steadfast allegiance. II. 5. a. Conformity with fact; agreement with reality; accuracy, correctness, verity (of statement or thought). ii. True worshippers worship God in truth (Joh 4:23). a. True - 1. a. Of persons: Steadfast in adherence to a commander or friend, to a principle or cause, to one's promises, faith, etc.; firm in allegiance; faithful, loyal, constant, trusty. 2. In more general sense: Honest, honourable, upright, virtuous, trustworthy (arch.); free from deceit, sincere, truthful (cf. 3d); of actions, feelings, etc., sincere, unfeigned b. Some say that it is more important to worship God sincerely than it is to worship Him "by the book". c. Notice though that a sincere worshipper is a true worshipper who worships God in truth (in correctness and accuracy). d. If Jesus specified that true worshippers worship in truth, then it follows that there are false worshippers and false worship, and therefore false religion. iii. God seeks such people to worship Him (Joh 4:23). a. Seeker friendly churches are popular these days. b. Our church is a seeker friendly church; we are friendly to those whom God is seeking, who desire to worship Him in spirit and in truth. B. We are to worship in the manner God specifies. i. God is the king of all creation (1Ch 29:11-12) and therefore we must do what He says (Ecc 8:4). ii. In the O.T. God specified that Israel was supposed to do exactly what He said and not add to it nor diminish from it (Deu 12:32). a. In the middle of the Bible God reiterates the need for not adding to His words (Pro 30:6). b. As the revelation closes out, God again warns us sternly about adding to or taking away from His words (Rev 22:18-19). c. In that we are supposed to worship God according to His word, then adding/subtracting something to/from His worship is in effect adding/subtracting something to/from His word. iii. Jesus commanded the apostles to teach people to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you (Mat 28:20). a. This verse implicitly states that we are not to add to nor diminish from Jesus' commandments. b. If we are to observe all things that Jesus commanded, then what can we leave off? c. If we are to observe whatsoever Jesus commanded, then what can we add? d. Jesus said repeatedly that if we love Him we must keep His commandments (Joh 14:15; Joh 14:21; 1Jo 2:3-5). iv. Paul, our apostle (Rom 11:13), instructed us to keep the ordinances as he delivered them (1Co 11:2; Phi 4:9). a. An ordinance is a religious observance or ceremony like the Passover (Exo 12:43). b. An ordinance is also a commandment or a rule (Eph 2:15; Col 2:14). c. Therefore we are to keep God's commandments and religious observances as they were delivered by Jesus and the apostles. C. God has been known to get very angry with people who play fast and loose with His religion. i. Even if men are sincere in their approach unto God, He will judge people who don't do it His way. a. God did not accept Cain's offering (Gen 4:3-5). 1) If Cain would have offered according to God's requirements, God would have accepted it (Gen 4:7). 2) Abel on the other hand offered his sacrifice by faith (Heb 11:4), which is according to the word of God (Rom 10:17). b. King Saul spared king Agag and the best of the animals when he was supposed to destroy all of the Amalekites including all the animals (1Sa 15:3 c/w 1Sa 15:9). 1) Saul thought he had kept God's commandment since he intended to sacrifice the animals unto the Lord (1Sa 15:13-15). 2) God considered Saul's disobedience and good intensions as rebellion and rejected him from being king because of it (1Sa 15:18-23). c. King David moved the ark of God on an ox cart instead of by the Levites carrying it as God commanded (1Ch 13:7 c/w Num 7:9). 1) David's well intentioned idea had the popular support of the church (1Ch 13:1-4). 2) After all, this was the way that other people did it (1Sa 6:7-8). 3) The effort was accompanied by a lot of music and pomp (1Ch 13:8). 4) The ark was not to be touched (Num 4:15). 5) With good intentions, Uzza put his hand on the ark to steady it because the oxen stumbled, and for that God killed him (1Ch 13:9-10). 6) David later realized that God judged them severely because they sought him not after the due order (1Ch 15:13). 7) David learned his lesson and declared that they should do it God's way (1Ch 15:2). ii. God has judged people with sickness for not doing things His way. a. Some of the Corinthians were sick because they were not observing the Lord's supper correctly (1Co 11:30). b. Uzziah was made a leper until the day of his death because he tried to burn incense in the temple, something only the priests were allowed to do (2Ch 26:16-21). iii. God has even killed people for not keeping His ordinances correctly. a. God killed His own priests, Nadab and Abihu, because they offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not (Lev 10:1-2). b. God killed Onan because he didn't raise up seed unto his deceased brother (Gen 38:8-10). c. God killed Ananias and Saphira for lying to Him (Act 5:1-10). d. God killed some of the Corinthians for not observing the Lord's supper correctly (1Co 11:30). 2. The method of worshipping God in truth in the N.T. church. A. Preaching and teaching doctrine (Act 2:42; 2Ti 4:2). B. Prayer (Act 2:42; Act 12:5,12). C. Fellowship with the Father, Jesus Christ, the apostles, and other believers (Act 2:42; 1Jo 1:3). D. Singing (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; Mat 26:30). E. Baptism (Act 2:38,41). F. Communion (Act 2:42; 1Co 11:23-26). G. Feetwashing (Joh 13:14-15). H. Only men speaking and teaching in church (1Co 14:34-35; 1Ti 2:11-12). I. Rule by the pastor (Tit 1:5; 1Ti 5:17; Heb 13:7). J. Exclusion of commonly known sinners (1Co 5). 3. The methods of not worshipping God in truth. A. Diminishing from any of these things that God has commanded such as: i. Not preaching sound doctrine or not using the true text of the scriptures. ii. Not singing. iii. Not baptizing potential members or "baptizing" them by another mode because of convenience. iv. Not observing communion or allowing non-members to commune with the church. v. Not washing feet. vi. Not excluding sinners whom God says need excluded. B. Adding to any of these things or adding new things such as: i. Accompanying singing with musical instruments or having a choir. ii. Ordaining deacons for purposes other than what the scripture prescribes (anything besides serving widows tables - Act 6:1-3). iii. Allowing women to pray aloud, speak, or teach in church. iv. Creating unscriptural offices such trustees, directors, secretaries, members at large, head ushers, etc. v. Creating unscriptural programs such as Sunday school, children's church, etc. vi. Incorporating pagan holidays such as Christmas and Easter into the church worship. vii. Incorporating the church with the state and making it a 501c3 nonprofit corporation. 4. Adding anything to God's religion which He didn't command is rejecting God's commandments in order to keep the traditions of men (Mar 7:8-9,13). A. So where did all the unbiblical traditions of men come from in all these so-called Christian religions? B. "We need not shrink from admitting that candles, like incense and lustral water, were commonly employed in pagan worship and in the rites paid to the dead. But the Church from a very early period took them into her service, just as she adopted many other things indifferent in themselves, which seemed proper to enhance the splendour of religious ceremonial. We must not forget that most of these adjuncts to worship, like music, lights, perfumes, ablutions, floral decorations, canopies, fans, screens, bells, vestments, etc. were not identified with any idolatrous cult in particular; they were common to almost all cults." (Catholic Encyclopedia, III, 246).
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