The Angel Said, “Worship God”
Whom shall we worship? What you are about to read are some of the most profound words in Holy writ, God’s inspired Word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). “Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:8-9). The angel refused to let the great apostle worship him. What a great lesson and example that is for all men and women today, who enjoy preeminence. The apostle Paul wrote, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8). Then he repeated this in verse 9. Man-made teaching will cause you to lose your soul if you obey it. Worship God like the angel said. The apostle Peter refused to be worshipped by Cornelius. Peter said, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” (Acts 10:25-26) and angel and an apostle both refused to be worshiped. Dear Reader, do you worship some man and not God? If so, your worship is vain. (Matthew 15:9). When our Lord was tempted by the devil, saying, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Matthew 4:9-10). This is the final, absolute conclusion! Worship and obey God and be saved.
The inspired scriptures prove that God must be the only one worshiped. (Revelation 22:8; Galatians 1:8; Acts 10:25-26; Matthew 4:910). How shall we worship God? This is an eternally good question. The answer comes from God’s word: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24). Notice first “the true worshipers” are the only ones that God wants to worship Him. “… for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (John 4:23). Next, they “must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”; “in truth”, according to His truth, the word of God; by God’s authority, not man’s opinions. Notice the word “must”. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17). “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48). All will be judgedby God’s word, which is the truth. Conclusion: we must study God’s word to learn the truth, so one will know the truth and one can worship in truth. God does not accept “vain worship” (Matthew 15:9), that worship which is according to man’s opinion and commandments. Obey God and be saved. (Mark 16:15; Matthew 7:21).
“...must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24). Worship to God must be according to God’s inspired word to be pleasing and to be accepted by God. If according to man’s opinions and man’s ways, it is vain worship. (Matthew 15:9). Your time and efforts were wasted; of no avail and worthless. Your worship was misdirected – it was not “in spirit and in truth”. To worship “in spirit” one MUST not only be sincere in what one does, but must be “in spirit and in truth”, as emphasized above. “In spirit”, sincere, godly attitude, homage to God, devotion of heart, expressing our devotion and worship to God in a reverential, loving way, so as to honor and glorify God with respect which is due the Creator of man and the world. (Genesis 1 and 2). We cannot tell God what to do in worship. “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” (Romans 11:34). Cain tried it, but God rejected his worship. (Genesis 4:1-10). Nadab and Abihu tried it, but God had them consumed by fire. (Leviticus 10:1-2). God will reject vain worship, man’s unscriptural ways, and man’s unauthorized teachings and ways today. (Matthew 15:9). Dear Reader, don’t be deceived, obey God and be saved. (Matthew 7:21; Mark 16:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:8).
True worship to God must be “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) as we have learned. May we discuss and examine some current teachings and practices engaged in today and see if they are authorized by God’s inspired word: dancing, clapping of hands, swaying and movements of the body (which on occasions can be in an immoral fashion), making unseemly noises with the mouth (instead of singing as taught in God’s word, Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), playing mechanical instruments of music in worship, shouting, “merry making”, laughing, immodest dress, and just acting like having a good time. Is this worship “in spirit and in truth”, as God’s word teaches? (John 4:23-24). NO! There is no authority for such man-made practices in God’s word! One may be sincere, however worship to God “must be in spirit and in truth” in order to be accepted by God, as previously discussed. Sincerity is a “must”, but all items authorized and commanded by God must be engaged in to be “in spirit and in truth”: Lord’s supper (every first day of the week, Sunday. Hebrews 10:25; Acts 20:7; Matthew 26:26; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28); singing in worship (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16); praying (Acts 2:42; Acts 8:22; James 5:16); teaching, or preaching (2 timothy 4:1-2; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20); giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). Dear Reader, God never did accept substitutes in worship, which is “vain worship” (Matthew 15:9) or “will worship” (Colossians 2:23). God will reject such worship. Who is saved? Only those who obey God’s will. (Matthew 7:21; Mark 16:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
The inspired apostle Paul was concerned about Israel being saved, just as we are concerned today – “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:1-2). “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6). Zeal is necessary for one to have, to be pleasing to God; however, it must be according to God’s word. “…that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14). Zeal must be coupled with knowledge, God’s word. Why so? Note what the apostle wrote: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3). Paul said they were ignorant of God’s word. One CANNOT worship God “in spirit and in truth” unless he or she knows or has a knowledge of what God will accept and be pleasing to Him. There are so many today who are attempting to worship God by doing that THEY want to do, but they do nothave any authority from God’s word for what they do in worship. That is “zeal without knowledge” and that kind of worship will be rejected by God! Dear Reader, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God” (2 Timothy 2:15) and be saved!
We have seen from the Holy, inspired word of God that one must worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) to be pleasing to God. That is: must be sincere, right attitude and heart, with love and devotion to God; according to God’s Word, the truth, by God’s authority as authorized and commanded by God in His inspired word. “And whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17). “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2). Therefore, one must study God’s Word, search the scriptures to see how God wants us to worship Him, and to see what God will accept. Otherwise, one’s worship will be in vain (Matthew 15:9). During the holiday season of Christmas, people all around the world will be engaging in many activities and forms of worship what are wholly designed by man completely – doing the things that man likes and enjoys. All sorts of “merry making”, dancing, many instruments of music, drinking alcoholic beverages, etc., in celebration and worship - none of which are authorized by God. All is vain worship (Matthew 15:9; Deuteronomy 4:2; John 4:23-24. The infallible, inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) does not teach that December 25th is Christ’s birth. Christmas, Easter, and many others were originated by man, not God. Obey God and be saved. (Mark 16:15; Matthew 7:21).
God is the Object of Worship
The angel told John to “Worship God.” (Revelation 22:9). Satan, the devil, tried to tempt Jesus to worship him. “And he said to Him, All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.” (Matthew 4:9-10). The Bible is replete with teachings about worship to God only. The apostle Paul wrote about some, “For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3). Is this not what many are doing today when they play their instruments of music in worship, dance in worship, gamble by bingo, car wash to raise money in the name of the church, clapping hands in worship, etc.? Satan enjoys this false worship, but God rejects such vain worship. (Matthew 15:9). The devil tempts people today, just as he tempted Jesus. The apostle Paul declared that there were those in Athens who “worshiped ignorantly”. (Acts 17:23). They were worshipping an unknown God. The devil is pleased, but God is displeased! Remember what Hosea, the inspired writer said – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of you God, I also will forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6) Dear Reader, obey God and be saved. (Matthew 7:21; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).