True Worship

When I remember these things; I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. – Psalm 42:4

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. – John 4:21,23

What? Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? – I Corinthians 6:19

I remember a conversation I had with a young woman, years before the word “lockdown” was inserted into our current pandemic ridden society. We were talking about worship and apparently this woman had never associated worship apart from a physical gathering in a specified location. When I presented to her the concept that the worship of God can take place in the quiet sanctuary of her own home, her face lit up with wonder.

“That’s right!” she responded brightly. “I can raise my hands to Him and worship Him right in my own bedroom!”

I assume that there are many others like her, who think they have to “go to church” to worship God, and that is the only way that worship can take place.

In Jesus’ remarkable conversation with “the woman at the well” in John’s chapter four, Jesus informs this lady that there will be a change in how people will worship God. There will be another option. It will no longer be limited to attendance at any specific location. This must have been a baffling statement at the time. People had become conditioned to viewing the worship of God in a certain way. People were accustomed to worship in a specific place at a specified time on the Saturday Sabbath. Jesus conversation with the woman at the well shows us that there was going to be a change in the established pattern.

Jesus was bringing in the prophesied “New Covenant,” a covenant where God’s law would be written in the heart (Jeremiah 31:33). People who received this New Covenant would have their sins forgiven and “know” the Lord in a more intimate way (Jeremiah 31:34). Thus Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead, enabled something remarkable to happen. Through faith in His atonement, believers are indwelt with His Holy Spirit. We become the temple of the Holy Spirit, through which God inhabits His people, enabling them to commune intimately with Him on a daily basis. This relationship with Him in the past, was only reserved for a chosen few like Abraham, Moses, David and the other prophets. In this new relationship in the New Covenant, the Father is worshipped in “spirit” and in “truth.” Jesus is the truth and we worship the Father through the Son, who makes this worship possible.

Because we have been made a living temple, worship is no longer limited to any physical location or time. Worship is a spontaneous offspring of the intimate union of the believer with his God. And this type of worship is the adoration that God seeks, according to Jesus.

This true worship can flourish within the four walls of the sanctuary of our home, that shelters the temple God has made you to be.

Those who have previously been accustomed to hyper-church activity, can use these periods of pandemic related legislated lockdowns, as opportunities to experience God in a fresh new way, and make worship something that happens on a daily basis and not just once a week.

I’ve noticed that while we are told to not neglect the “assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25), the New Testament writers do not emphasize these gatherings as assemblies for worship specifically, but rather for fellowship, encouragement and teaching, even though worship most likely did take place at those meetings. Worship was not limited to those gatherings and was considered to be a continuous expression springing spontaneously from the believer’s relationship with the Lord. In other words, the principle that Jesus was teaching in John four was understood.

It is easier for some to relegate worship to an hour or two one day a week, than to experience the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. God prefers to color outside the lines in this area, and the joy that is produced in the hearts of believers who have learned to worship in “spirit and in truth” spills out into their communities as living expressions of the Christ who lives in them.

All believers are the individual building blocks of God’s New Jerusalem, the bride, the Lamb’s wife (Rev. 21:9), the collective building God inhabits. He indwells each individual jewel He has created though His love. We see the picture of this wondrous city in Revelation’s pages and we make note of the fact that there is no temple there (Rev. 21:22). There is no need for a physical temple. The presence of God and the Lamb are the temple that fills His city, His people, His dwelling place, where worship is a state of being. When believers gather together, we are in a dress rehearsal, so to speak, for our final assembly into the New Jerusalem.

Make no mistake, God enjoys our assemblies and the sound we make when we all sing together to Him in unity. But the music we make alone with Him in our hearts where His head rests, is even sweeter.

Worship Him in Spirit and in Christ.

Copyright 2021 by H.D. Shively

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