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O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Psalms 96:9

O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Psalms 96:9

‘..”An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” I saw as clearly as I had ever seen before the implications of that phrase, “worship . . . in spirit and truth.” The phrase suggests, first of all, that true worship involves the intellect as much as the emotions. It underscores the truth that worship is to be focused on God, not on the worshiper. The context also shows that Jesus was saying true worship is more a matter of substance than of form. And He was teaching that worship embraces what we do in life, not just what we do in the formal place of worship.’

“..about worship, we were continually drawn to the only reliable and sufficient worship manual—Scripture. If God desires worship in spirit and truth, then surely all true worshipers must fashion their worship in accord with the truth He has revealed. If worship is something offered to God—and not just a show put on for the benefit of the congregation—then every aspect of it must be pleasing to God and in harmony with His Word. So the effect of our renewed emphasis on worship was that it heightened our commitment to the centrality of Scripture.’

‘Scripture tells us that the purpose of spiritual gifts is for the edification of the whole church (Eph. 4:12; cf. 1 Cor. 14:12). Therefore all ministry in the context of the church should somehow be edifying—building up the flock, not just stirring emotions.

Above all, ministry should be aimed at stimulating genuine worship. To do that it must be edifying. This is implied by the expression “worship . . . in spirit and truth.” As we noted earlier, worship should engage the intellect as well as the emotions. By all means worship should be passionate, heartfelt, and moving. But the point is not to stir the emotions while turning off the mind. True worship merges heart and mind in a response of pure adoration, based on the truth revealed in the Word.

Music may sometimes move us by the sheer beauty of its sound, but such sentiment is not worship. Music by itself, apart from the truth contained in the lyrics, it is not even a legitimate springboard for real worship. Similarly, a poignant story may be touching or stirring, but unless the message it conveys is set in the context of biblical truth, any emotions it may stir are of no use in prompting genuine worship. Aroused passions are not necessarily evidence that true worship is taking place.

Genuine worship is a response to divine truth. It is passionate because it arises out of our love for God. But to be true worship it must also arise out of a correct understanding of His law, His righteousness, His mercy, and His Being. Real worship acknowledges God as He has revealed Himself in His Word. We know from Scripture, for example, that He is the only perfectly holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, omnipresent source from which flows all goodness, mercy, truth, wisdom, power, and salvation. Worship means ascribing glory to Him because of those truths. It means adoring Him for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He has promised. It must therefore be a response to the truth that He has revealed about Himself. Such worship cannot rise out of a vacuum. It is prompted and vitalized by the objective truth of the Word.

Neither rote ceremonies nor mere entertainment are able to provoke such worship—no matter how moving such things may be. Those things can’t edify. At best they can arouse the emotions. But that isn’t true worship.’

Hebrews 12:28 says, “Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.” That verse speaks of the attitude in which we should worship. The Greek word for “service” is latreuo, which literally means “worship.” The point is that worship ought to be done reverently, in a way that honors God. In fact, the Authorized version translates it this way: “let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (emphasis added)—and the next verse adds, “For our God is a consuming fire” (v. 29)……….”Reverence and awe” refers to a solemn sense of honor as we perceive the majesty of God. It demands both a sense of God’s holiness and a sense of our own sinfulness. Everything in the corporate worship of the church should aim at fostering such an atmosphere. How Shall We Then Worship? by John MacArthur All Rights Reserved

Embedded is another sermon by John MacArthur where he speaks on the similar truths on true worship: ‘The kind of worship God desires“.


For a related post: What Kind of Worship God Desires From His People ?