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Session 3 – The Worshipping Church – Conrad Mbewe

John 4:21-25

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.

22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

ESV

 

Knowing God truly is will cause us to worship Him. God has created all things for His own glory. The most important activity that can occupy a creation is to worship its creator. God reveals even more of Himself in the grace which He extends.

We need to focus not only the doctrine of the worshipping church but also the practice of the worshipping church. Or, in other words, how does God expect the church to worship Him.

The Samaritan women in John 4 appeals to a specific argument of the day, specifically who is right? There was a fight between the Samaritan and the Jews. This same fight about who is right goes on today. We see in these verses that it matters not who is right, but what does God consider right.

Jesus solves this issue. He begins by revealing who God is. God is spirit.  An argument concerning a physical place is not relevant because God is spirit.

The hour is coming and now is…” What was different about this specific time? It was the fact that God had become man and was walking among the people. And it was Jesus Christ who would further reveal God to the true worshippers.

What does Jesus mean about worshipping in spirit and in truth? Notice the “But” in v.33. There was error in the thinking of the Samaritans. And up to that time, there was correctness in the thinking of the Jews. But all that is now changing. True worship is not about a physical place and physical means. It is a spiritual transaction and spiritual interaction.

What about truth? The Samaritan worship was not built on truth. There was no truth in the gods set up on Mount Gerazim. The Jewish worship was built upon the truth. God had revealed Himself and the Jews sought to worship according to this truth. God is seeking for worshippers who will worship Him according to the truth revealed about God, and specifically as revealed through Jesus Christ. There has been a greater revelation of truth, and those who would worship God must worship in this greater revealed truth.

Practically, this has outworkings in our worship today. Such as in our hymnody. Our hymns should be characterized by spirit and truth. And our singing must be in spirit and in truth. However, it is easy for us to end up in error at one end or the other – worshipping in spirit but not in truth, or vice versa. Also, it is possible for our worship to have neither spirit nor truth. It could be our heart is in love with the world or with self. This means we need to spend the time to prepare our hearts and our minds for worship instead of entering into worship in a flippant, unprepared manner. I must make sure that I am worshipping in spirit and in truth.


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Family Worship – Beeke

The book Family Worship by Joel Beeke is available in a free pdf which can be sent to your Kindle or read online.

Family Worship PDF

Every church desires growth. Surprisingly few churches, however, seek to promote internal church growth by stressing the need to raise children in covenantal truth. Few seriously grapple with why many adolescents become nominal members with mere notional faith or abandon evangelical truth for unbiblical doctrine and modes of worship.

I believe one major reason for this failure is the lack of stress upon family worship. In many churches and homes family worship is an optional thing, or at most a superficial exercise such as a brief table grace before meals. Consequently, many children grow up with no experience or impression of Christian faith and worship as a daily reality.


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We Worship Jesus

“(Jesus) is the only one worthy of worship. Folks, we do not worship the family. We do not worship home education. We do not worship patriarchy. We worship Jesus Christ. And as a church we exist to exalt and to worship and to bow the knee and to prostrate ourslelves before the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t make much of the family. We make much of Jesus. If we get to a place we’re making more of the family or more of patriarchy or more of home education than we are of Jesus, then we are in a place of idolatry. We exist to bow the knee to Christ, to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. We exist to give to Him all that we have and all that we are just as these disciples when they saw the resurrected Christ, recognized that He and He alone was worthy of worship. We don’t worship styles. We worship Jesus. We don’t worship philosophies. We worship Jesus. And that’s who we are first and foremost. We are a people who are hard after God. We are a people who are passionate for Jesus Christ.”

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Voddie Baucham


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Does This Characterize Your Worship?


“…the highest possible honor we can offer before God.”


Will this characterize your worship today?

Or will you be distracted by any number of things?

Children, hot, cold, planning next week, lunch … ?


The very heart of worship,

as the Bible makes clear,

is the business of expressing,

from the depths of our spirits,

the highest possible honor we can offer before God.

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A Taste of Heaven: Worship in the Light of Eternity by R. C. Sproul

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Who Is Your Audience?

When living your Christian life, who is the audience you are performing for?

Are you striving to impress someone? or just to not be thought badly of?

Is your church your audience?

Your Family?

Some inner ideal of whom you should be?

Oh, most of us would never even think that we a performing our life for an audience.  We may realize that our children are watching us but not many more.  Only if we are singing, playing or preaching might we think about the audience before us.  However, everything we do is before an audience.

Colossians 3:23 (ESV) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Romans 14:8 (ESV) For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

Romans 12:1 (ESV) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

So even when are not particularly in front of an audience we are serving the Lord and performing for Him.  Does your audience approve of your performance?

This is one of the reasons when sitting in Church you won’t find me clapping after a solo or a piece of music being played.  I’m not the audience, God is.  I just happen to be performing right along with my prayers and attention for the rightful audience at any church service.



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An Abomination – John MacArthur

Previously in the post Where is Sodom? there was some discussion about abominations. Here is John MacArthur explaining abomination and what that includes.

Thus, homosexuality is viewed in Leviticus as morally equal to sins such as adultery, incest, and bestiality. As noted earlier, such sins are wrong in any age and in any culture, because they violate the design for marriage that God established at creation.

God’s utter hatred for homosexual behavior is brought home by the word “abomination,” which describes what God thinks of it, and any other violation of His intended plan for heterosexual marriage. The word occurs repeatedly in this context (Lev 18:22, 26, 27, 29, 30; 20:13) and is also “a term especially frequent in the Book of Deuteronomy, [which] refers to an act that is abhorrent or repugnant, such as idolatry and inappropriate worship of God (see Deut 7:25; 27:15; 17:10; 12:31; 18:9-14).”

In the same way that idolatry is a perpetual offense to God’s moral character, subject to His wrath and condemnation, so also is any perversion of His design for marriage.

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John MacArthur

So using this explanation divorce, adultery, idolatry, homosexuality, worshiping a false god, or even worshiping our own made up Jesus can be considered an abomination to the Lord.  We need to be careful to not think we ourselves have not committed an abomination to the Lord while labeling others as abominable in His sight.  Inappropriate worship of God can cover a huge area.



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Public Worship / Private Worship

The best public worship is that which produces the best private Christianity. The best Church services for the congregation are those which make its individual members most holy at home and alone. If we want to know whether our own public worship is doing us good, let us try it by these tests. Does it stimulate our conscience? Does it send us to Christ? Does it add to our knowledge? Does it sanctify our life? If it does, we may depend on it; it is worship of which we have no cause to be ashamed.

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J.C. Ryle


Will your public worship tomorrow encourage your private worship the rest of the week?



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Sunday Christians – Tim Challies

Here is one perspective on why believers today choose to worship on Sunday.

It’s no wonder that Christians worship on Sunday. Muslims worship on Friday, Jews worship on Saturday, but Christians worship on Sunday because that is the day when Christ proved that he had conquered death. This is why we are Sunday Christians. We are not Friday Christians who serve a dead Savior, not Saturday Christians still waiting and wondering, but Sunday Christians who serve a living, breathing Savior–one who is alive and one who reigns. He died because he had to die. Our sin demanded blood and death. And yet he rose because he had to rise. He was the Son of God; how could death hold him? How could the Creator of all that exists be held down by death? It cannot happen and it did not happen. Christ is risen.

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Tim Challies



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