In Spirit and Truth
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him, must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.” (John 4:24).
Here are two principles of worship without which all worship of God is vain. God must be worshipped in spirit – a heart worship – as opposed to mere forms and ceremonies, going through the motions with body and lip service, etc. If the heart does not pray it, the prayer is not accepted. If the heart does not sing it, the song is not accepted. If the heart does not believe it, it is vain to profess it. Those who worship God, must worship in spirit (Romans 10:10).
Those who worship God in spirit must also worship Him in truth. God has revealed Himself in His Word of truth as who HE is; how HE saves; by whom HE saves; the way in which any one must approach unto Him to worship. All worship that is contrary to truth is vain worship. All who worship God must worship Him in truth. Someone has said, “How astonishing is the fact, that man dares to introduce his miserable inventions to deform the scriptural simplicity of divine; as if God who makes all things perfect, had, in this most important institution, forgotten to direct the use of altars – magnificent vestment – pomp and ceremonies. When will man, with child-like simplicity, follow gospel rules?”
– Pastor Bruce Crabtree
A sinner cannot deserve God’s grace, but a sinner can provoke God’s wrath. —William Jay
Wherefore didst thou marvel?”
This was the question asked of John by the angel concerning John’s reaction to seeing the woman who sat upon the scarlet beast arrayed in gorgeous robes and decked with gold, precious stones, and pearls. This woman is a picture of all false worldly religion. We read in verse six that she was drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. And amazingly, John tells us: “and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”
Beware! – If the beloved Apostle John could be moved to react in this way to the dressed up, flashy, glitter of ungodly worldly religion that the angel called ‘the great whore’, then surely all God’s people must pray for grace not to be thus moved. Thank God, John was not allowed to remain in this stupor, unlike all those whose names were not written in the book of life, that go out into eternity wondering, deceived, and lost forever (Verse 8). Churches today remind me of the boardwalk I worked at as a teen one summer, competing for the attention of those walking by with the promise of a winner every time. We did not tell them that the price they would pay for the prize far exceeded it’s worth. It was just so much glitter. Our faithful Savior warned us to take heed not to be deceived when false prophets arise showing great signs and wonders and claim this as a proof that here is Christ. He told us to believe it not. And praise his name, he will not allow us to be deceived.
The Greatest Marvel – Being made to know something of the horrible tendency of my own heart to take for granted the wonder of God’s mercy and grace to this sinner, it is a frequent prayer of mine that God would forgive such ungratefulness, and restore to me the utter marvel of his mercy and grace. And as a proof of his everlasting love for me, he does just that. I also ask our God to enable us every time we meet here to worship to come with eyes, ears, and hearts seeking him. And when we do, he has promised to be in our midst. And if that happens, we will depart from this place with hearts ravished by and with Christ, singing: ‘Hallelujah, what a Savior!’ And if asked: ‘why do you marvel?’, we will tell them about the altogether lovely One who was pleased to once again reveal himself to such unworthy sinners. What are the trappings, the glitter of this world’s religion compared to that? Take the world, but give me Jesus. May God make him more marvelous in our eyes.
A GOOD DAY TO CALL AND SAY GOODBYE
I told you of the time when my granddaughters, Isabella and Sophia, had been visiting with us, and I took them over to dad and mom’s to say goodbye. I told the girls, “Be sure and tell them goodbye and you love them. You may never see them again.” There was silence. Isabella, the older, spoke up and said: “Why did you say that?” “Because,” I said, “they are very old and the Lord is going to take them home one day soon.” Longer silence. Then Sophie spoke up: “What day do people die on?” Being only four years old, she is very limited in her understanding of time. She can only grasp yesterday, today and tomorrow (she’s thinking it could be today or tomorrow). I said, “I don’t know Sophie. We die when the Lord says so.” Then there was more silence (but I could hear their minds working). Sophie then said: “Who are we going to say goodbye to next?”
“Out of the mouth of babes …” That innocent statement made me think: “Who ARE we going to say goodbye to next?” It could be me. It could be you. One of these days will be our last. Maybe today. Truly … “Today is the day of salvation.” While we have the breath, “whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved!” While the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, is being preached … there is salvation for everyone that asks for it. While it is called today, while you have breath, life, there is hope for the chief of sinners, pardon for the worst, forgiveness for everyone who asks. “Why will ye die?” Whoever calls, repents, believes on the Lord Jesus Christ … shall never die! You have His Word on it.
While it is called today, it is also a good day to mend fences, pardon offenses, right wrongs, restore friendships, pay a visit, repay debts, and especially … a good day to go see someone and tell them goodbye and you love them. You may never see them again.
—Pastor Paul Mahan
“THY PEOPLE SHALL BE WILLING…”
God’s elect worship and serve Him with willing hearts. We willingly believe, willingly worship, willingly give, and willingly do what we can for the glory of God. It is God who, by effectual grace, makes us willing; but we are willing servants of the Most High God! Any worship, service, or gifts offered to God that is not done with a willing heart is an abomination to Him.
—-Pastor Scott Richardson