My Worship Relapse
“Worship” or should I say “today’s church’s worship” has in my recent experience became more like a war zone. I heard people complaining about worship saying “I don’t like the music”. “The music is just too loud”. “I don’t like hymns”. “Drums should not be brought in the church”. “Why did the church take away the organ?” “There is no life in there”, “People stares at you when you clap” “The church is becoming like the world, they even raised their hands” “All they sang are hymns, like ‘Lord I lift Your name on high’ that’s an old hymn.” “The church must sing more contemporary songs to attract more of the younger generation” so on and so forth. Early every Sunday, I used to get up very early, excited to go to church to worship God. My children even made fun of me and said “Pa, you should be pastor of the church, you even got there before the pastor does.”. I just want to worship God. I had been to Filipino church, Chinese church, Korean church, Malaysian church, Indonesian church and English speaking churches. There were numerous instances I did not know a word on what they were signing about, much less the music style. But each time, I just closed my eyes and enjoy worshipping Him. Although I did not understand what they were singing about but I felt like I was in heaven among the nations with every kindred and every tongue surrounded by thousands upon thousands of angels lifting up their voices worshipping God. After walking through the street of Baghdad of church’s worship, with unsuspected IDE exploding and sniper fires ringing, I became confused and lost my bearing. I needed to take a break, fall back to the Word of God and find out for myself what the Scripture says about worship.
Back to Basic
How am I to worship God then? The issue of worship is not something new. It is not something that just sprung up in recent years. Way back during the time of Jesus, it has already been a subject of contention typify by question raised by the Samaritan woman.
John 4: 19… “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
But before I start to look into what Jesus said here I must go back further to the time when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Satan tried to grapple that he be worshipped. Jesus said:
Luke 4:8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
To worship God therefore is a command. I do not worship God because I as a human being think so. The idea of true worship is not a human invention rather it is a command of God and therefore should not follow what man think the way worship should be but on what God says. Every single aspect of human action towards Him and towards His creation must always be conformed to the word of God.
Worship must starts from God and ends with God and everything else in between. In the dialogue of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, Jesus was saying that the time will come, when certain practice in worship done before should no longer be done. For certain Jesus was talking about place of worship. But I believe Jesus is giving us a spiritual principle here. Everything done in the past was a physical symbol. Everything and every instruction that God had revealed in the OT were an image, a copy of the things in heaven, all pointing to Jesus Christ and His works. The slaughter of an animal to provide a skin of covering for Adam and eve, the substitutionary sacrifice for Isaac, the pass over, the tabernacle, and so on, all of these are a physical representation of the spiritual truth that was fulfilled in the person of Christ Jesus. When Jesus said “time is coming and has now come” he is talking about his coming. We no longer worship God in physical symbols or physical location such as on Samaritan mountain or in Jerusalem. Translating it into our time, it could be hands raised or not raised, hymns or contemporary songs, with or without piano or organ or guitars or drums, standing or sitting, in church or not in church. All of the physical forms do not matter. In fact focusing on the physical more often has become an obstacle to worship. It pauses a risk of becoming a form of idol worship. Worshipping the music, the lyrics, the songs, the technology, the people, the setting or the programs. In the beginning God created man in His own image. Man are so creative and that man are so prone to create god in his own image, in his preference, his likes, his ways. Genuine worship now can only be done thru Christ Jesus alone.
It was only on Pentecost that the Holy Spirit permanently indwells the people of God. Every one that received Christ as his personal savior is born of the Spirit of God. and possessed the Holy Spirit. Only the believers who has the Spirit of God can truly worship God.Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,An unbeliever can never genuinely worship God. That is why Jesus said :
“a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth ”
Father because we are the children of God through Christ, spirit because we have the Holy Spirit, truth because Jesus is the truth. When we worship, we must believe that we have come before the presence of God. Just as when apostle John was caught in the Spirit on the island of Pathmos. He said:
. ” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.………Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever.”
Let nothing then distract us from worshipping God.
Scope of Worship
In Romans 12 :1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. This passage tells us that worship is a life style. Not just something we do on Sunday morning. Living a life according to God’s word, walking in the Holy Spirit 24/7 and on Sunday when we all come together we can all then expressed what is already in our life. Worship then is in my heart, in my life and in my blood .All that I have, all that I am and all that I do to all that who God is – His works and His WORD.