Summary: What is true worship in spirit and in truth?
by Pastor Jim May
In Psalms 122:1 David penned these words, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." Are you glad to be in House of the Lord this morning? I want you to know that you are so very welcome to come and worship with us. I am so very glad to see all of you. It is my prayer that we will come together with one mind and one accord, to always seek to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth, and to know Jesus in a greater and deeper relationship than ever before. I am convinced that if we truly know the Lord, then we will learn to worship Him even more.
There is something that concerns me though, and that is whether we really know what true worship is all about. When we come together every week, on Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evenings, we are coming together for a worship service. But I am convinced that many of us don’t really know what a worship service really is.
We come together and sing the songs of praise but the song is not the worship. We love to hear the music play but the music itself is not the worship. All of these things are what we use to bring us into a place of worship, but they are not worship in and of themselves, for true worship comes only from the heart.
There are a lot of people who believe that if they just drag their body into the church on Sunday morning, plop that carcass down on a chair or a pew in the church, and then force themselves to sing or to clap their hands every once in a while – that they are worshipping God. But that’s not what worshipping God is really all about. If we really worship God, all of the things that we do, playing the music, singing, clapping or raising our hands, tapping our toes, and whatever else you feel like doing, are all physical manifestations of worship but before that can be considered worship, there has to be something even greater happening in the heart and in the Spirit.
Israel worshipped God loudly and boisterously. We Pentecostals are known for our boisterous worship services. We aren’t like those who would go to church in quiet reverence and never even say an Amen to the preaching of the Word. We aren’t like those who go to the House of God and sing “a cappella”, we love to hear the sounds of the stringed instruments and the percussion instruments and the wind instruments.
We take the Word of God quite literally. David said in Psalms 150:3-5, "Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals."
I don’t know about you but there is something that stirs within me when the music begins to play. Sometimes I have to clap, and sometimes to shout, and sometimes to beat on the tambourine, and sometimes to tap my feet. Music has the power to get your body moving, even when you don’t feel like moving.
But music isn’t the point of worship; it’s only an outward sign of an inward feeling.
The music of the world has that same power. Some of you like Bluegrass and Country music and your body gets to moving and swaying to the music and the first thing you know you might even break out into a little jig. Some of you like Soft Rock, and some of you, God help you, even like Hard Rock music. When Dave Matthews, Black Sabbath or Ozzy Osborn walk begin to play, you fit right in with the rest of the crowd. I don’t think that you can call any of these types of music worship. If they are worship, they certainly aren’t worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. So it’s not the music that is the real worship.
Real worship isn’t in the music, but music can be a part of real worship.
Jesus gave us the meaning of true worship in John 4:24, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
Worshipping God in Spirit and in truth is what real worship is all about.
As I look around the church world, and right here in our own church, I wonder just how many people know what real worship is about.
Millions of people will drag themselves to church today, sit in a worship service, watch what’s going on, maybe even stand up during the prayer or the singing, give in the offering plates, endure the preacher as he brings forth a sermon, then get up, drag themselves out the door of the church, into the car and back home again. Their conscience will be clear for a while because they went to church, but did they really worship God?