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Summary: Does your praise hit the cieling and bounce back off?

True Worship #1

Worshipping God in Vain

Mark 7:6-7 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Jesus was making reference to this verse:

Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

The Pharisees and Scribes came looking to find fault with Jesus. (vs. 1) The “supposed” issue here was hand washing. Some of Jesus’ disciples had just sat down to eat without first washing their hands. (vs. 2) The Bible tells us a little about the Pharisee’s hand washing ceremony and we see that pots and cups were also ceremonially cleansed before use. (vs. 3-4) The Pharisees and the Scribes then ask Jesus why His disciples didn’t follow the ceremonial law of washing their hands before theye ate. (vs. 5). Which brings us to Jesus’ answer and our lesson for today.

Notice Jesus’ response. He didn’t deny their charge against His disciples. But He also took this opportunity to point out flaws in their reasoning that Isaiah had prophesied about a little over 750 years earlier. In verse seven he says, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me.” What does that mean to us as Worship Leaders? Two things:

1. There is a vain way in which to worship God.


2. There is also an effective way to worship God.

The Pharisees and Scribes were worshipping God in vain. But how? We see in the following verses that Jesus was talking about the duplicity of the Pharisees and Scribes. He pointed out how on the outside (i.e. their hands, pots and cups) they may have been clean; but on the inside they were filthy or “defiled.” In his commentary, Spurgeon called these Pharisees and Scribes, “…the ancestors of our modern Ritualists, who are fast bound with idle forms and vain ceremonials, and make a great matter of the cut of a garment, or the color of a robe.” We can learn from their negative example that worshipping God is not about outer cleanliness as much as it is about inner closeness.

Point to Ponder:

Vain worship is outward actions only. True worship is worship from the inside out.

Verse to Remember

Mark 7:7b …This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Question to Consider:

Am I worshipping God with ceremonially clean hands or with sincerely clean hands?

Lesson 1 Worshipping God in Vain 12/08/02

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