Worship in spirit

by Steven Chan

Last Sunday, we were privileged to have bro Mark Lim from Section 17 congregation share a bible class lesson with us in Klang.

The Bible says in John 4:24 that “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” We all understand that to worship in truth is to worship in accordance with what God has said, for His word is truth (John 17:17) In bro Mark’s observations, one of the biggest challenge is not the truth part but the spirit part because the spirit part cannot be seen.

Without worshiping in spirit, worship is in vain. Without the right spirit, it is not acceptable to God. What is required in worshipping God in spirit? To worship in spirit requires that one worships with:-

  1. Reverence & godly fear – approaching God with right attitude, respect, and recognizing that God is powerful.  “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)
  2. With joy: There must be joy in coming to worship God: “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalms 122:1)

We must know the object of our worship. We must know God. Otherwise we cannot worship God. Recognize that God is our creator, Ruler and redeemer.

  1. God is our creator: the bible begins with the introduction of the act of God as the creator. We owe our existence to God.  So we need to have reverence for Him.” The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork”. (Psalms 19:1)
  2. God as our Lord/Ruler: When God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3 in the burning bush, God referred to Himself as “I am that I am” and as “Lord”. If He is Lord, then He is authoritative and we ought to fear him.
  3. God as redeemer gives us joy. The bible deals with God’s redemption. We are joyful because of the past what God has done for us; of the present: for what He provides for us daily; and of the future, because of the hope of heaven

We need to prepare for worship 

Preparation is a 7 days thing: throughout that time we must think spiritual things and talk about spiritual things. If one doesn’t do any of that, then one can’t possibly be prepared to worship God.

  1. We need to prepare our hearts to be right with God. If we are living in sin, how can we worship God? We will need to repent first. Otherwise our worship will be in vain (Isa 1:11-15)
  2. Make sure our hearts are right with our brethren. If you have differences with brethren, be reconciled with brethren first. It is possible that we offend others, so we need to be reconciled. Jesus said in Matt 5:23-24: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Preparation during worship 

  • The danger of coming to be entertained. We are used to being entertained. So, many come to be entertained.  When we have that kind of attitude then we become critical of various things – and find fault and complain a lot – such as complaining that the preaching is boring and the singing is not uplifting, etc – we did not come to participate in worship.
  • Preaching is important: it is the heart of the church that will cause growth. If preachers preach well, the church will grow. Otherwise, members will fall away. But the preacher doesn’t do all the work. Worshippers must participate by:-

▪ Opening our ears and listen purposefully and intentionally.

▪ Closing our mouth – avoid talking during worship hour; this is a distraction. We ought to be respectfully silent. As Hab 2:20 reminds us: “Jehovah is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. “

  • When partaking the Lord’s Supper:

o The Lord’s Supper is an important act of worship as we reflect on Jesus and what He did for us.

o How can one be talking and playing with one’s iPad during such a time?

o    The Bible tells us of what Jesus went through in the garden of Gethsemane: “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. ” (Matthew 26:39)  For Jesus it was a cup of suffering and He drank it our behalf as He tasted death for us.

o    Today, for us, it is a cup of blessing because Jesus has drank our cup of suffering. “What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD Now in the presence of all His people”. (Psalms 116:12-14)

Another element of spirit in worship: honesty.

God does not lie and God sees our hearts first and then our action. Do we have an honest heart in our worship? Are you worshipping yourself or worshipping God?

We appreciate bro Mark Lim for his exhortation on worshipping God in spirit. May we all be reminded to come prepared to truly worship God in spirit and in truth.