Saturday, September 23, 2006

Worship that Pleases God

Another reason worship must be according to truth is that man’s methods, while sometimes having the appearance of wisdom, do not work. See Colossians 2:20-23. “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” Only the worship that God has commanded pleases Him and accomplishes in us the transformation God expects.Many times, well meaning people teach that we should avoid certain foods or practices and in that cultural setting the admonitions may be very wise. Over time, the culture may change or the setting may change and people hang on to the practice without knowing the history or the intention. Eventually the practice becomes entrenched in the church and people begin to think that this man-made “rule” is actually a biblical one. A doctrine of man has begun to be accepted as though it were a doctrine of God. But, according to Colossians 2, as well-meaning as this rule may have been, it is of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Only the Spirit of God along with the proper application of the Word of God can produce the growth in holiness God requires.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Worship According to Truth

The forms and patterns of worship often result in changes in belief and teaching. Teaching should begin with the truth of the Word of God and that is what should govern practice, but sometimes it happens the other way around. What we may adopt in our worship pattern without Scriptural sanction may in the future cause the people to believe false teachings derived from that practice. In verse 11 of Mathew 15 Jesus tells the people that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes from the heart. Where would the people get the idea that what we ate defiles us religiously? Jesus had just been challenged on the behavior of His disciples in that they did not wash their hands before eating bread as the tradition of the elders dictated. The fact that this tradition had become entrenched caused the teaching to be understood that a person could be religiously defiled by what went into their mouth. This in turn resulted in their not being as concerned as they should have been with the heart where the real problem was located. The point of this portion of the discussion is that in order for worship to be according to truth, it must not add to what God has said He wants in our worship. Doing so puts us at risk of disobedience and potentially introducing false teaching into the church.