If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
I am the bread of life.
Modern churches filled with 'false worshipers?'
Are modern churches filled with false worshipers—per Jesus' own definition?
The verses examined in this article might give you a new perspective on that, because Jesus clearly defined
what a "true worshiper" is—thereby also defining a "false worshiper."
And the definition He gave doesn't bode well for the vast majority of "Christendom."
For PART 1 of this series, please click here.
Worshiping God correctly
Jesus defined both true and false worshipers in John 4. There He said:
A time is coming—and now is—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers.
God is spirit—and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
Obviously, failure to worship both in "spirit and truth" equates to being a "false" worshiper.
Thus, any sincere seeker of truth will set about determining what "in spirit" and "in truth" actually mean.
Again, Jesus said that God's worshipers "must worship Him [God] in spirit and in truth."
Please note that Jesus did not
say people "should worship God in spirit and in truth"—but that they "must worship God in spirit and in truth."
Thus we can derive the following simple conclusion:
(1) Only those who sincerely love and obey Christ will be saved (Matthew 7:21; Mark 12:30-31).
Jesus said that "God's
word is truth" in John 17:17. So, the Bible is obviously where we find the truth about how to worship God according to His desires.
(2) If you love Christ, you will obey what He commands (John 14:15).
(3) Finally, if you OBEY what He commands you will worship God in spirit (with the proper attitude or frame of mind)
and in truth (according to God's true way,
or according to the truths and teachings found in the Bible).
Any sincere reader of the New Testament realizes there are several commands the Holy Spirit has given us regarding the specifics of how public
worship assemblies must function to be pleasing and respectful to God (1 Corinthians 14 is one such example). Many—indeed, most—modern
denominations and churches simply have no interest in worshiping God according to these instructions—or many others for that matter.
As mentioned, worshiping God "in spirit" means our spirits must be engaged in the worship. Said another way: we
must have the right attitude of mind—both toward God AND man (see Matthew 5:23-25).
It means we must be focused and mentally/spiritually involved. Meaning, in part,
not being distracted by the things going on around us irrelevant to the spiritual worship. We worship to glorify God and
Christ, and to grow in our own spirits as well.
Therefore, it's obviously important that all worshipers maintain a
non-distracting environment for themselves and for others.
Is it really possible to worship God "in vain?"
Many people today mistakenly think that God doesn't care how we worship Him, so long as our worship is sincere.
But Jesus contradicted these popular notions when He said:
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.
Whenever the teachings, doctrines, or practices of a particular church are not in harmony with the
word of God, God considers that church or denomination to be involved
in "vain worship."
As you likely know, many modern churches adhere to men's traditions that are not requirements of God's word; however, they
insist upon them as though they were. Many churches also teach and promote popular doctrines that are simply false.
Matthew 15:9 should serve as a serious warning to such churches and denominations.
Modern churches filled with false worshipers?
Obviously, in light of the above, we cannot afford to worship God
according to the rules and teachings that come from men, but according to the teachings of God's word.
Therefore, in our churches, we must seek for and insist upon both teachings and practices that are in complete harmony with the word of God.
Anything less could render us, per the Bible's definition, "false worshipers" who are worshiping God "in vain."
On the day of judgment, Jesus will be
delivering shocking news to many, many Christian people who were convinced they were saved. He will tell them:
"I never knew you...depart from me..." (see Matthew 7:21-23).
What a shame it will be for many to find out on judgment day that their worship to God was vain and useless!
Clearly, this means we should place much greater emphasis on finding out exactly how God wants to be worshiped than
many do today.
Thus, when we attend a church, it must meet these two conditions, or it is not a "true church"
of "true worshipers":
Biblical churches must worship God in spirit (in the proper frame of mind) and in truth (according to Biblical
instructions of worship; i.e., teachings and practices must be in harmony with the Bible).
Failure to do so means false worship that is in vain.
If you need help contacting a congregation that worships God "in spirit and in truth", please
and we will plan to help direct you to a nearby church.