By Andy Zoppelt
Our paradigm influences what we read in scripture.
In America we are inundated by worship teams, instrumentals, worship
leaders, choirs, concerts, Christian rock concerts, electronics and
the delivering of professionally sounding Christian oriented music.
All this must skillfully lead us, the audience, into an experience
that is perceived as worship. But most worship on those levels tend to
have personal taste and personal gratifications in mind, but is this
Example: if I prefer contemporary music, I don't
get "moved" by old traditional music (of course there are exceptions)
and vise versa. Therefore what is worship?
Jesus' statement concerning worship in John chapter
4 is often misunderstood because we fail to examine our experience
with a real in-depth and critical examination of the heart of worship
in the spirit. For centuries our old religious practices of worship
has gone unchallenged.
"The woman said to Him (Jesus), 'Sir, I perceive
that You are a prophet. Our fathers (Northern Kingdom) worshiped on
this mountain (Samaria), and you Jews (Southern Kingdom) say that in
Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.' Jesus said to her,
'Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this
mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what
you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the
Jews. 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 4:19-24, NKJV)
These words were spoken to the woman at the well, a
Samaritan. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews. When Solomon died,
the ten tribes broke away from Judah and Benjamin and made Samaria
their capital. When the Northern Kingdom (Israel) separated themselves
from the Southern Kingdom (Judah), this division forced them to face a
dilemma: where to worship? The temple (located on a mount) located in
Jerusalem, was given by God as "the" place of worship. Since
division always presents a dilemma, Israel was forced to find their
"own mountain" to worship, so they chose Samaria, some 33 miles north
The Samaritan woman was conjuring up the old
dispute of the true place to worship. Jesus, clearly pointed,
not to a place of worship, but the heart of worship. It was not a
place, a method, but something that could only be accomplished in the
Our acceptance of division and the dividing the
body of Christ into denominations has produced the same question
today, "Where do you go to church or worship." From that question we
then begin to describe the characteristics of the "place or mount" we
worship. The characteristics of our worship through our many divisions
often focuses on: pastors, programs, worship services, etc.. As long
as everything "seems" spiritual and the pastor preaches out of the
bible and people are "receiving" Christ, we feel everything is ok. But
dear saint, can it be said of us today, that we "worship what we do
not know." Have we really traced the roots of our worship? The
mode of our worship?
Because we see worship as words mixed with
preferable music during a meeting in a building called church, we are
flawed in seeing it as Jesus intended it. Our worship normally starts
out with a few peppy songs to get us moving and then a few slow
worship songs to get us into the "mood" for the preaching. Do you
honestly think this is what Jesus had in mind? Can that which is
inherently wrong produce that which is truth?
The Greek word for worship is proskuneo, and
is made up of a preposition "Pros" meaning "towards" or "to,"
and the verb "kuneo" meaning "to kiss" (or a dog licking his master).
Worship means "to kiss to the Father."
The Father is seeking people to kiss him in love
and devotion in the Spirit. In contrast to true worship, we have false
worship, a worship based on parroting songs without the songs
themselves have any real fulfillment in our lives and spirit. We don't
sing from the heart, but the song book or some projected words on a
"These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments (or teachings) of men." (Matt
Jesus says "in vain they worship Me." Interesting
that Jesus says they did worship, but it was a mouth and lip
worship and not heart and spirit. Therefore to worship in the Spirit,
is to worship with a heart toward God… a life lived in
adoration to the Father and in truth. When we walk in truth, we
cannot accept the traditions of men. Isn't it always true, that
what starts out as pure and holy ends up gravitating toward the
traditions set up by men?
"And what agreement has the temple of God (church)
with idols (traditions of men)? For you are (not the building)
the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them
And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.
Therefore Come out from among them And be separate, says
the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will
be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty." 2 Cor 6:16-18, NKJV
We are meant to be the temple, not some building
with seats arranged for our demise and silence. We are to worship with
our lives in the Spirit to one another. Our worship is expressed in a
common bond of love and building up one another. In Hebrews we see
this kind of worship with Jesus in our midst singing among us.
"For both He who sanctifies (Jesus) and those who
are being sanctified (saints) are all of one, for which
reason (because we are one) He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
saying: 'I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of
the assembly (church) I will sing praise to You (He is our
true worship leader.)' And again: 'I (the Father) will put My trust in
Him (Jesus).' And again: 'Here am I and the children whom God has
given Me.'" (Heb 2:11-13, NKJV)
Are you convinced that what Jesus was seeking is
what we see today? Are we so caught up with the momentum and standards
of tradition that we are unable to see "true" worship coming from
Our english word worship comes from weorthscipe
or worth- ship. The noun suffix, "ship" denotes a condition or
quality. It is someone or some group embodying a quality or state.
Friendship is the condition and quality of friends. Fellowship is the
quality and condition of fellows in a relationship.
Worship is made up of saints who give "worth" to
the Father. Worth-ship cannot be designated by some time before
preaching, it must embody a person or group of people who put worth in
their relationship with the Father. Jesus said that we cannot serve
two masters. We cannot give worth to two masters, we cannot mouth one
thing and live another thing. I cannot give worth to God with my lips
on Sunday for one half hour and then give my eyes and ears to TV the
rest of the week. What business do we have going to movies and
spending our money on things that are a part of this world? I cannot
live a life based on "my" taste and desires and claim with my lips
that I give the Father worth in song.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great
price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Matt
If God means anything to us at all, He must
therefore mean everything to us. When we love someone, it is our
highest joy to keep our hearts pure in that relationship.
"Whoever has been born of God does not sin,
for His (Jesus') seed remains in him; and he cannot sin,
because he has been born of God.' (1 John 3:9, NKJV)
When we give worth and excuses to sin, how can we
say we have given worth to the Father? Worth-ship is the value of the
saints to the Father in their heart and is expressed corporately when
they come together to kiss the Father. When we don't have an abiding
relationship with the Father in purity and holiness, we must develop a
worship separate from the Spirit…. Tradition. The fruit and the gifts
of the Spirit within the body of Christ are the consequence of true
worship. If we live our live with a little prayer scattered here and
there and a little bible reading scattered here and there, this means
nothing if we do not acknowledge Him in all we do.
Our forms and traditions have replaced the power of
the expression of His Spirit. Since we do not have the Spirit in
Truth, we must settle for an emotional substitute based on preference
and taste. It troubles me to hear that we must come up with Christian
Rock to please and win the young people. Rather than falling on our
faces in repentance and seeking His face, we submit to more earthly
ways and means. How long will we go on without His power? God is
seeking "true worth-shippers."
All of what we see today is the product of man's
doctrine and teaching. We have the "sinners prayer" instead of
repentance. Water baptism without the bringing forth fruit worthy
of repentance. Communion without the recognition of the unity of the
body and a full meal together in fellowship. Church being the building
instead of body ministry. Government being an official office instead
of servants leading each individual. Church growth instead of church
holiness. We have been so addicted to the traditions of men, we cannot
see the truth. Only men driven by hunger, brokenness and truth, will
search the scripture to see if these things are true.
Is Jesus more important than being on time for
lunch that we must speed or run red lights? Is Jesus more important
than our sin? Is Jesus more important than our taste and desires? Is
Jesus more important than our agendas of being in control? Is He more
important than our trials, our pain, our enemies, our money, our
business, our wants, and friends and family? What values fill our
heart will fill our worship. The best music and the greatest words
will never cover up the lukewarm heart. How many times I have heard
someone say, "Did we really hear the words we were singing?"
There is such a lack of real worth put in our
relationship with the Father, we are unaware of His worth and the
result it should possess. We say we would die for Him, why can't we
live for Him? Why do we experience so much lethargy, indifference,
anger, impatience, unforgiveness, backbiting, divorce, adultery, the
list is a mile long.
We say, "Wasn't that a good worship service?" But
how can we have a good worship service without good worshippers in
Spirit and truth?
"But (keep) seek (ing) first the
kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things
shall be added to you." (Matt 6:32-33, NKJV)
"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you
have left your first love." (Rev 2:4, NKJV)
A man who puts value in his marriage will never
cheat on his wife and kids. But a man focused on his needs and
freedoms, will at some time find reason to be unfaithful, even if it
is looking with lust after other women. The heart is the measure of a
man's value in life, either he serves God on occasions and does his
own thing the majority of times, or he sells all that he has and takes
up his cross and follows Jesus. True repentance ends the life of self
and is therefore in a place to bring forth fruit to be baptized.
Are you just singing religious songs on Sunday or
are you giving the Father the worth that He deserves… for He is worthy
of all praise…24x7.
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