Worship in Spirit and in Truth – Kent Bailey

Kent Bailey

There is nothing that is complex about New Testament worship. It is not so obscure that one cannot understand what the New Testament of Christ authorizes regarding our worship unto God. Those desiring to truly worship God will be honest and not set up an idol in the heart. We must love God supremely and accomplish His will in the aspect of worship as well as in all matters (Matt. 7:21; 22:37-38; 23:23; John 7:17).

The Jews had it right. The Old Testament tabernacle had been built according to the pattern that God had revealed to Moses, and likewise the temple in Jerusalem. God, through revelation to David, designated the site and chose the pattern. He also specified that Solomon was to build it (Exo. 25:40; Heb. 8:5; 1 Kings 5:3-5; 8:18; 2 Sam. 7:1-2). However, a change was to transpire regarding acceptable worship in the giving of the New Testament (Rom. 7:1-7; Col. 2:14-17; Eph. 2:13-16; Heb. 9:15-17; 10:9). The New Testament was proclaimed as a reality on the first Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of Christ. It is by the authority of this new covenant that one ascertains the particulars of acceptable worship of God today.

Our worship must have the right object. In order for our worship to be valid our worship must be directed towards the correct being. It is obvious from the context of John chapter four that we must worship God (John 4:22-24). When individuals remove themselves from the concept of God they cannot offer Him authorized worship (Rom. 1:18-27; Rev. 22:6-9).

Our worship must be in spirit. By the term spirit we refer to that of disposition. When one worships God in spirit they approach God with that of a correct mindset and/or disposition. Worship in spirit involves the right attitude. It is possible for one to be physically present in the assembly of the local church and not worship God. We must be fervent in spirit having an attitude of Biblical zeal (Rom. 12:11). We must accomplish those actions involved in our worship that are pleasing unto God with the right disposition of mind. Such is inclusive of several components:

  • Worship in spirit and truth must be accomplished with a proper understanding. We must purpose to worship and know what we are doing (1 Cor. 14:15.

  • Worship in spirit in truth must be orderly. The aspect of spontaneous worship leads to confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).

  • Worship in spirit and truth must demonstrate a proper reverence toward God (Rev. 22:6-9).

  • Worship in spirit and truth must be sincere that springs from a holy life style (Matt. 6:1, 5, 16).

  • Worship in spirit and truth must be edifying, i.e., without fanfare or gimmickry. Worship was not designed to entertain , satisfy the lust of the flesh, or glorify self. Any act of worship which is not directed toward God is misdirected and is not true worship. That is one reason why choirs, quartets, and solos are not acceptable in the worship of the church.

  • New Testament worship excludes that of will worship (Col. 2:23).

Our worship must be in truth. Worship in truth is based upon the authority of the scriptures (Col. 3:17). The word of God is truth, therefore, acceptable worship must be based upon the New Testament authority of Christ (John 17:17.

It is the covenant of Christ to which all accountable individuals are amenable today; therefore, it is the New Testament which gives us guidance as to the avenues of worship in which we must engage. Such is inclusive of:

  • Preaching/Teaching the word of God (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19.

  • Observance of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of every week (Acts 2:42; 20:7).

  • Prayer (Acts 2:42).

  • The contribution as we have been prospered on the first day of every week (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

  • Singing: This is required of all Christians, therefore excludes special group singing. Singing is specific and does not included the employment of mechanical instruments of music. We are to only engage in activities that are authorized by the New Testament (Col. 3:17; 2 John 9-11). Singing is the only type of music that is authorized by the New Testament, therefore singing is the limit of our practice ( Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12). To engage in the employment of usage of mechanical instruments of music in worship unto God is “going beyond the doctrine of Christ” and is therefore sinful (2 John 9-11). The scriptures also limit our songs to that of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Secular songs and entertainment is totally out of place in the worship of God.

Of the five actions of worship the truth of God limits two of these acts (the contribution and the Lord’s Supper to the first day of the week. Preaching and/or teaching, singing and praying are authorized any time the church is assembled.

The case being that our worship must be according to spirit and truth, we must seek to worship God with the right attitude and according to the New Testament pattern in order that such is acceptable unto Him and His eternal glory.

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Author: Editor

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