Monday, March 20, 2017
Some mix Old Testament worship with the New Testament kind. Special clothing for preachers comes from the Levitical priesthood. Going to a specific place to worship is from several passages in the Old Testament. Certain buildings or rooms are accepted as holy as if they are God’s New Testament tabernacle or related to the Jewish Temple. Special dedicatory services are held to set aside (sanctify) a building for members to perform their holy service in and a special reverence is expected while there. Some of the traditions over a period of time begin taking on a special allegiance and defense. Rules of use and conduct while inside are enforced as if holiness is lost without a clearly defined reverence being exhibited. I admire and respect the desire of those who wish to show their dedication to Jesus through those venues, but is one less spiritual or void of all righteousness because he does not display the same interest? Must we treat a man made structure as holy before we can experience a deeper, emotional bond with Jesus?
There seems to be a tendency to restrict the Lord’s work to the church building. If one worships “off campus,” he is seen as “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrew 10:25). Yet that is a misapplication of that passage! When Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman she told him, “Sir, . . . our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship” (John 4:19-20 IEB). Jesus’ reply was, “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem” (v.21). Jesus wasn’t saying that one could not worship “in spirit and in truth” in either place, but that such worship would not be restricted to either one. Are we guilty of mentally restricting one’s worship to the church building? We chastise brethren, even when they are present for the three “required” hours on Sunday and the one hour Wednesday night, by reminding them that they are only giving God four hours out of a one hundred and sixty-eight hour week. Really!?
When Paul wrote to the church at Rome, he did not limit worship to either a building nor to four hours at specific times on two special days. He stated, “So, brothers, with God’s tender feelings, I beg you to offer your bodies as a living, holy, pleasing sacrifice to God. This is pure worship from you” (Romans 12:1 IEB). Is this a four hour a week worship, or a twenty-four hour, seven days of the week, one?
The Bible does not speak of a Christian’s worship being confined to a specific location on a specific day. One should be in worship before arriving at a called assembly, worship during that assembly, and continue doing so once he has been dismissed from it! Does one “offer” his body “as a living, holy, pleasing sacrifice to God” only on Sunday and limit it to three hours on that day? A Christian should be involved in that living sacrifice worship one hundred and sixty-eight hours each week! The kind of worship that Paul mentions to the Roman church did not have an opening nor a closing prayer! If so, what passage allows one to be dismissed from this worship?
I’m not sure when expressions, such as “going to worship,” “in a worship service,” “a worship service beginning,” or “a worship service ending,” were introduced into our religious vocabulary, but they must have been created after the Bible was completed since it is silent in their usage.
The Romans 12:1 worship is not limited to Sunday or Wednesday, nor is it restricted to four hours each week. It is the kind of worship that Jesus spoke of in John 4:23-24. He informed that Samaritan woman, “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.” John 4:23 (NKJV). When Jesus said, “now is,” he was not saying “2017 is the “now.” but “now is” as that woman was hearing Jesus speak those words. She could “now” engage in that worship as she stood before Jesus by giving herself as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God!
You don’t have to go to the mountain to worship, Jesus made it possible for the mountain to come to you 24/7! It is a lifestyle, not a removable “Sunday best” reserved for short periods of wear!