The False Worshippers Of The True God!
“…true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” John 4:23
God is looking for true worshippers. That implies that there must be false worshippers. People that worship the same God, the same Jesus, but their worship is false. They are not the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. Jesus himself makes it clear, that to worship God is not enough. There is a kind of worship he seeks. In the book of Mark Jesus comes out with another startling statement:
“They worship me in vain…” Mark 7:7
Now wouldn’t you think that those that worship Jesus are worshipping just fine? (“They worship me“). But Jesus said “They worship me…IN VAIN”. In other words, they are worshipping the right person, but their worship carried no value. It was pointless. Fruitless. Useless. Not appreciated by God.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live life, pray, sing and applaud the Lord through all these meetings we have to attend, only to be told at the end of my life “All that activity was fruitless, pointless. You might as well not have done it!”.
Worship is not a case of “do what you feel like” as many churches openly state from their pulpits. No – Worship has certain important factors. There is a right and a wrong to worship. There is a worship the Father seeks and a worship the Father ignores. In the next few chapters of this book let’s look at some of the Biblical priorities to praise and worship and so somehow make sure we don’t worship God in vain, but in such a way that he leaps from heaven into the situations of our lives with his manifest presence and power.
A Blueprint for True Worship
Just as corporate church worship needs a blueprint from heaven and we have looked at this in part one, so also the individual worshipper needs to fulfil a particular design. Many have taught that praise is powerful and that worship is exciting. We have all heard stories of visible glory and the power of God made manifest as believers worship. Praise seems to have caused cities to fall, prisoners to be freed and armies to be routed. But what kind of worshipper sees such results from his worship? What is true, powerful, heaven-moving worship?
What is Worship?
A young worship leader, some years ago, asked God in prayer “Show me what true worship is”. Immediately he was taken in a vision behind the Iron Curtain and saw a man, imprisoned, being strapped to a table. Once his arms and legs were locked into place, several guards took batons and began beating the soles of the man’s feet, breaking his bones, ripping open the skin and smashing away his toes.
The man’s back arched and trembled with the pain as the guards screamed “Deny him, deny him!”. The man opened his mouth, the guards still beating his feet into two bloody members, and wailed “I worship you my Jesus! I will not deny you! I thank you for your love and for your cross. I will praise you while I have breath!”.
God spoke into the heart of the young worship leader, “That is worship”.
Another story is told of a prisoner of war, assigned to stand in a pit of human excrement for years, cleaning and maintaining it. The prisoner, a godly man of true spirituality, stated at the end of his time there, “I turned that place into a garden of worship”. So infused with the reality of his Saviour, the things of the world grew “strangely dim”, as the old song begs us, and his inner light and life in Christ was unwavering.
These are men who understood true worship.
Cast your mind back to my dear friend Rita, from the introduction to this book, and allow me to recount one of her stories of the remarkable effect of a true, worshipping heart:
One day her local authorities invited Rita to speak to two warring tribes, to try to bring some semblance of peace. Taking her choir she turned up and spoke to the roughest, toughest group of armed thugs you’d have ever dreamt of. She asked God “What shall I do – a little white women among these violent men?”.
On receiving instructions from God she proceeded to dance and praise, encircling the two tribes with her choir. On the seventh circumnavigation of the group, the glory of God fell, as did many of the tribal men gathered, leaving them sprawled on the dirt floor, where they wept, asking “What is this?”. She led many to the Lord that day, and introduced peace to the two villages.
These are the sort of stories that leave us with the belief that praise and worship is powerful. But exactly what should the individual be doing in worship and what makes worship such a heavenly force? What are the basic raw ingredients that make the individual worship experience powerful, rather than just a singing of songs or the uttering of unanswered prayers?
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