Worship Him In Spirit And Truth By George Stroh, Senior Pastor September 7, 2000
"God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
Even in many so called evangelical churches there is a growing and disturbing trend of people worshiping God in ignorance rather than in spirit and truth. Church services are designed and orchestrated to produce "worship experiences" that only stir emotions with little or no solid Bible teaching and preaching that proclaims the Gospel and renews the mind.
What little Bible teaching and preaching that is provided is usually shallow and often heretical leading people to base their worship, faith and theology (knowledge of God and His will), more on their emotional "feelings" and personal "experiences" than on all the sufficient and final authority of Scripture. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
When the Bible's relevance and authority is diminished, there is more tolerance for sin because what I "feel" is what guides me rather than what the Bible clearly says. Back in the sixties there was a saying; "If it feels good, do it." We hear people today who claim to be Christians say things like--- "It just doesn't feel right and so can't be true that God won't accept some people just because they don't believe in Jesus." Others claim to have had amazing life changing spiritual "experiences" that are completely contrary to the truth of Scripture, but for them, their "experiences" trump the authority and truth of God's Word.
Like much of our corrupt modern culture, these worldly and man-centered concepts of faith and worship have infiltrated many churches, even distorting the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Slick audio and visual productions incorporating just the right blend of special lighting, music, drama and an entertaining, motivational message designed to create an emotional and meaningful "worship experience". The Apostle Paul wrote; "...and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the powers of God." (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
The truth of God's Word, His unceasing love, amazing grace and mercy often does cause us to be emotional in our faith and worship. However, worship is about ascribing worth to God and pleasing Him; "without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6) and "faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ." (Romans 10:17). So in order to please God and truly worship Him in spirit and truth, we must first hear, then trust and obey His Word, regardless of our associated experiences or emotions.
Satan will do whatever he can to keep unbelievers from hearing the Gospel that is necessary for their salvation. He will also do whatever he can to draw believers away from sound doctrine that is necessary for their sanctification. Christians need to stay alert and remember the warnings from the Apostle Peter; "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8). Maranatha!