When Jesus met the Samaritan woman, she told Him that the Jews worshipped in Jerusalem, while the Samaritans worshipped in the mountains. In response to this, Jesus said that the hour is coming when people will neither worship in Jerusalem, nor on this mountain. He told her that the time has come for true worshipers to worship God in spirit and in truth. What He was talking about was the new covenant that God had promised to write on the hearts of His people. God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. Jesus nailed it all when He said that God is looking for such worshipers (John 4:20-24).
According to Oxford Living Dictionary, worship is “The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” This shows that worship is an act and an attitude. True worship is something that comes from a humbled and convicted heart. Proper worship is summarized by the greatest commandment. “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38, NIV). God says He is a jealous God who never shares His glory with anyone.
In the Old and the New Testaments, there are many warnings against false worship. Where there is truth, a lie is always lurking nearby. That is why God was keen to warn the children of Israel about worshiping the pagan gods worshipped by the inhabitants of the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 6:14-15). Christ said He is the truth, and whoever desires to reach the Father must go through Him (John 14:16). There are many types of worship, but the way we worship God should be pure and unfeigned. It must bring praise and honor to God only; and to no one else.
In the current age, the church has ceded too much ground in the area of worship, such that it is hard to make out what is righteous and what is not. In our places of worship (as Christians), our worship has been turned from God to the worship of men, money, and power. Christ warned against seeking after these worldly riches. They are short-living and unreliable.
In the book of Acts 12:22-23, when Herod was praised and failed to give honor to God, an angel of God struck him dead, and worms ate him up immediately. If he had not received the honor, he would have lived on. The reason God promised a new covenant was because the Israelites had continually defiled the first covenant. Through Hosea, God made it clear that He loves His people, but that He hated the fact that they continually prostituted themselves with other gods—in other words, they continually left Him to worship other gods. True worship gives glory to the creator of heaven and earth alone. The first commandment states that anyone who reveres God should worship no other god. He is equal to no other.
Let the youth and the children be taught the true word of God. Let them learn the hard facts about true religion, one that is not polluted, and they will live by that truth. If the gospel is compromised by trying to accommodate some secular approach to life, the youth will find no use for the church. They can be in the world and still enjoy doing whatever they are doing in the church; after all, there is no difference. If we teach them a lie in the hope of retaining their attention, we will lose them the day they learn the truth. The day and the night can never be friends; they can never be in the same place at the same time.
The Truth (Jesus) will remain as He has been from the beginning of time. Jesus said, “…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32, NKJV). In the church today, the truth is lacking in most houses of worship. When Jesus was talking of worshiping in Spirit, He was not referring to the ignition of emotions through contemporary moral teaching in the place of the word of God. Neither was He speaking of using music and dance to take the human mind away into illusionary high places. He was referring to the solid commitment of one’s mind, heart, and soul.
With the craze that has slowly but surely crept into the church sanctuary, it would be right to say that the “world’ finds no need to come to the church, because the church is already in the world. This was never intended to be. We are the salt of the earth; we need to make a difference in the way we relate to the world. Paul wrote to the Romans and said, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV). We are supposed to live in a way that sets us in line with the “pleasing and perfect will of God.”
Why would believers want someone to preach to them the “prosperity gospel?” Has the kingdom of God changed its principles? Has Christ confirmed that there is no more room in His Father’s house? False prophets are prophesying, and the false teachers are in their peak season. People have gathered teachers who will tell them things that their itchy ears yearn to hear (2 Timothy4:3). There exists a generation today that has a form of godliness, but it denies the power of God (2 Timothy 3:5).
We have come to the time that Christ prophesied about true worshipers—those who would worship God in spirit and truth. Worship should not be confined to the halls of our churches. It is a way of life. How we lead our daily lives matters more than what we do on Sabbath at the gathering of the saints. If worship were only to be what happens in the church, then it would be hypocrisy. This is why Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites. They were the holy ones when it came to prayer times and the Sabbath, but on other days they were the first to break the commandments. Let every faithful Christian open their heart to understanding, and seek to stand out and be counted as a true and zealous worshipper of God.