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Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

Aren’t Good Intentions Good Enough?

February 2, 2011

John Allan

There are many people in the religious world who understand that God is worthy of worship. They have no doubt about that fact and they also desire to offer worship to God. Yet among these, there are many folks who do not worship God as He has authorized.

Is it possible that people who sincerely intend to please God could offer worship that was not acceptable to Him? Is it fair for God to give specific instructions for worship, or should He be expected to receive anything that is offered to Him in sincerity?

The Bible makes it plain that God must be worshiped “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Since God has this expectation He must have revealed instruction on the matter. If that instruction is not heeded then our worship cannot honestly be “in truth.”

Yet, there are some who believe that good intentions are good enough because they persist in practicing things in worship which God has not authorized. Their sincerity is not in question here; they must believe that their actions are acceptable to God or they would not do them. The question is whether their sincerity makes an unauthorized practice acceptable to God. The answer to this question is no.

When I was in college I purchased a set of blocks which were to be constructed to form a tank. I desired to build the tank and earnestly and sincerely began the work. Months later I gave the blocks away to a relative. Sincerity could not build that tank; it took having the knowledge to construct it properly and putting the blocks together. Even with directions I struggled. Eventually I became frustrated and gave up.

There are instructions to follow in worship. In the New Testament God has revealed what goes into worship that is pleasing to Him. By putting those building blocks together we create worship that pleases God. Without following the instructions no amount of desire or sincerity can produce the result God has ordered and deserves.

Good intentions alone are not good enough. They must be blended with acts that are harmonious with what God has authorized. May that be the case with us!

-John Allan
Minister, Clinton Church of Christ

Posted in Worship

Understanding Silence

April 16, 2010

John Allan

The topic of Biblical silence has been an area of intense debate for generations. Some believe that if the Bible does not specifically say you can do something then you cannot do it. Others suggest that unless the Bible specifically says “Do not do that” then you can go right ahead.

It is of interest and importance to know which view is correct. Is silence prohibitive or is silence permissive? The answer to this question is yes.

Determining whether silence is permissive or prohibitive is greatly aided by understanding the difference between generic and specific. In Mark 16:15 Jesus told the apostles where to go (into all the world) and what to preach (the gospel). However, he was silent on the method of going. Does that mean Jesus authorized them to go but did not authorize them to use any means of transportation? Certainly not!

The command to “Go” is generic. The apostles could use any lawful method to carry out the order. They could walk, run, sail etc. even though Jesus did not expressly tell them they could walk, run or sail. In a generic command such as this silence is permissive.

There are times, however, when silence is prohibitive. In Hebrews 7:11-14 the Hebrews writer is making the point that Jesus being our priest required a change in the law. Why? Hebrews 7:14 gives us the answer: “For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood” (NKJV).

The tribe of Levi was the priestly tribe under the Old Covenant; this was specifically ordered by God (Numbers 1:49-52). When God specified the Levites he therefore automatically excluded the other tribes. Silence was prohibitive because the charge was specific. Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, was prohibited from being a priest under the Old Covenant.

What have we noted, then? We have noticed that silence is neither always permissive nor always prohibitive. There are many things that the Bible does not mention specifically. Some of them are permissible because we see from Bible principle that they are permitted (ex: driving a car). Others are prohibited because God has specified exactly what He wants (ex: the specific command to sing forbids the addition of a mechanical instrument in worship).

It is intended that these words be helpful to us as we consider the significance of silence in the Bible. Any time we consider whether a matter is permitted by God or not we do well to consider it prayerfully and in light of what the Bible teaches: that is certainly true with regards to the area of silence.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Posted in Bible, The Church, Worship

Worship Basics

July 21, 2009

John Allan

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24).

Worship is an expression of adoration. It means to come with adoration, awe, reverence, and sacrifice. It is an action that should be provoked by God’s love for us (1 John 4:19; Psalm 106:1).

“Must”

We must worship Him because He, 1. Commands us to worship. 2. He seeks true worshippers. God is a jealous God and desires worship. He has from the beginning (Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy. 8:19). However, God doesn’t just want any worshipers, but He wants true worshippers – ones who worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23).

According to the verse, we MUST worship Him in spirit and in truth… but what does that mean?

“IN SPIRIT”

According to the New Testament, worship is to be spiritual; my inner man must be involved (Eph. 5:19). Some suggest that this refers to our attitude while worshiping. In either case, our motives and our attitudes must be righteous before God for our worship to be acceptable. It MUST be in spirit!

“IN TRUTH”

We need to know the One whom we are worshipping (John 4:22). We must worship in His way (John 17:17; 1 Peter 4:11). It MUST be in truth!

  • If I come to worship angry at my brother, then my worship will not be acceptable.
  • If I come to worship and think about the local baseball game, my worship will not be acceptable.
  • If I come to worship with the right mind and attitude, but worship in a way that God has not authorized, my worship will not be acceptable.

Is everything I do worship?

Some use Proverbs 3:6 as a verse to teach that everything done in life is worship. It is true that we should acknowledge God in all things. It is also true that everything we do should be for the glory of the Father (Matthew 5:16).

However, there is a line between what God expects as worship and the everyday actions of life. All worship is service, but not all service is worship (Exodus 20:5; Jeremiah 25:6; Romans 1:25). Also, notice that from the beginning of time, God’s people have gone to and returned from worship (Genesis 22:5; 1 Samuel 1:19; Acts 14:11).

Posted in Worship

Five Authorized Acts of Worship

July 21, 2009

John Allan

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24).

Preaching

It is commanded (2 Timothy 4:2). It was involved in New Testament worship (Acts 20:7). It enables outsiders to participate in worship (1 Corinthians 14:23-25).
Breaking of bread

This is a synecdoche for the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7). We have memorials for heroes killed in action; Jesus does not want His death to be forgotten either (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). When we partake of the Lord’s supper, we are showing that Jesus died for us and that He is coming again (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Prayer

We are expected to pray (Matthew 6:5, not “if,” but “when”). We are to pray at all times; good and bad (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). Prayer is powerful (Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16). Prayer in worship is authorized (1 Timothy 2:8).

Giving

We understand that nothing we give can equal what was given for us (2 Corinthians 8:9). However, we also understand that are to give as much as we have been prospered (1 Corinthians 16:2) and cheerfully too (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Singing

It is verbal, congregational, and acappella (Eph. 5:19).

Posted in Worship

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