There will be many to attend what they have come to call “Church” this Lord’s day and believe that they are doing what is pleasing unto God. Perhaps that someone is you? If so, you must know that God will not accept just any kind of worship. No! In fact, God will reject all kinds of worship of which he did not approve.
Speaking with a woman from Samaria, Jesus informs her that “true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:23). We can surmise from this that those who do not worship in Spirit and in truth are false worshipers. The idea that God will accept any and every form or activity that is offered as worship is entirely foreign to the Scriptures.
God seeks people to worship him who will do so in spirit and in truth. Jesus promised his apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (Jn. 4:24 cf; 16:13). The New Testament is the complete will of God and it contains all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Tim. 3:16-17 f; 2 Pet. 1:3). The only place that we can find worship that is pleasing and acceptable to God is going to be in the New Testament. Anything that is added or subtracted from the worship that is found in the New Testament cannot be according to truth.
God Does Not Accept All That Is Offered As Worship
The fact that God does not accept everything that is offered as worship is forcefully demonstrated in the Bible. Nadab and Abihu are two men who took it upon themselves to after the form of worship which God had delivered and “fire went out from the Lord” and devoured these two men as a lesson that he is to be sanctified by those who come near him (Lev. 10:1-3). The worship of the Pharisees was in vain because the traditions and commandments of men had perverted the true worship which God would accept (Matt. 15:1-9). The worship of the woman at the well in Samaria was in ignorance, and the Lord pointed her in the right direction (Jn. 4:21-24). Point being, not all worship is acceptable with God, but only worship which conforms to the pattern given by him in his Word. We must have authority from God for everything that we say and do in worship (Jn. 4:24).
We find authority in the Bible for five specific acts of worship: SINGING (Eph. 5:19), partaking of the LORD’s SUPPER each Lord’s day (Acts 20:7 f; 1 Cor. 11:23-26), GIVING on the first day of every week as prospered (I Cor. 16:1-2), PREACHING God’s word and PRAYING (Acts 2:42). Those who are familiar with the Lord’s church know that instrumental music is not part of the worship of the church which we read about in our New Testament. Therefore, we do not use instrumental music because such would pervert the worship which God has authorized and cause it to be unacceptable in his sight. Just as we could not acceptably add meat and potatoes to the Lord’s Supper to make the bread more desirable to our taste, we cannot add instrumental music to our singing to make it more pleasing to our ears. We honor and obey God by obeying his will in our worship services.
This same appeal to the Scriptures must be followed when teaching someone the plan of salvation. God has revealed in very clear and distinct language the conditions we must meet in order to be saved. We are not saved and added to the Lord’s body, the church, until we meet each and every condition which God has given in the gospel. We must believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead, confess our faith in Christ, repent of our sins, and be baptized for the remission of our sins (Rom. 10:9-10 f; Acts 2:38). When we are obedient to these conditions the Lords adds us to his body, the church (Acts 2:47). These conditions are absolute, and we either have obeyed them or we have not. We are either saved or lost, there is no middle ground. After obedience to these conditions we either worship God according to his will or we do not. Just as the acts of worship of the first century church are specific, the conditions of salvation are specific, and we either obey our Lord in these matters or we do not. Obedience is absolutely necessary in order to please God (Heb. 5:9).
Authority From God for All That We Do
The church has authority to build a building to teach the gospel because Jesus commands that we assemble to edify one another (Heb. 10:25). But, where is the command for the church to own and operate any business? Someone says, “Well they are not charging for the building and it would just sit there empty all week, so what’s the harm?” Could the church allow one of the deacons to operate a “Christian” car business out of one of the classrooms? How about one of the ladies operating a “Christian” travel agency out of another? Well, we could have a “Christian” minimal on the church property during the week. What’s missing in all of this is authority! We must have authority for everything that we do. “And whatsoeveryou do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17).