Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What is a False Worshipper?

If you’re a believer, this may sound like an irrelevant question, however, I want to challenge you to think about your thinking in this area for a moment. My thoughts today are stirred by William Barclay’s commentary on Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well as recorded in chapter 4 of The Gospel of John. Consider what he refers to the three defects in false worship.

I. “A false worship is a selective worship. It chooses what it wishes to know about God and omits the rest.”
If you’re like the average Samaritan, you may unknowingly over-emphasis one truth from Scripture at the expense of others. This certainly is the seed-bed for all legalism. 
If you expect God to extend His mercy to you while holding grudges, harboring ill-will, seeking vengeance, nurturing bitterness or unforgiveness, you might be a false worshipper.
If you expect God to love you in spite of your daily sins against his holiness, while failing to be patient, long-suffering and overlooking offenses, you might be a false worshipper.
If you expect God to extend honor his promises to you while refusing to honor your promises to your spouse “for better or for worse”, you might be a false worshipper.

II.  “A false worship is an ignorant worship”
Sadly, many true followers of Christ are unfamiliar with much of biblical teaching. Jesus warned the Samaritan woman of ignorant worship, “…You worship what you do not know”, (Jn.4:22). We do well to be searching “the whole counsel of God”, (Acts 20:27). Jesus confronts temptation with “Every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4-10).
Christians are called to use our minds and to think deeply about what God has revealed about himself and about how to live our lives. Peter bases the essence of Christian living on faith and knowledge about who God is (2Pet. 1:3-11).

“A man has a mind and he has a duty to exercise it.  … To fail to think things out is in itself a sin. In the last analysis, religion is never safe until a man can tell, not only what he believes, but why he believes it. Religion is hope, but it is hope with reason behind it.” William Barclay

I encourage you to join the psalmist in his pursuit of learning and knowing God. Consider the passion for knowledge and learning as depicted in Psalm 119.

Knowing God is vital for your life.  “…the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” (Dan.11:32b)

III. “A false worship is a superstitious worship”
Barclay warns, 
“There are many people whose religion is founded on a kind of vague fear of what might happen if they leave God out of the reckoning. But real religion is founded not on fear but on the love of God and gratitude for what God has done. Too much religion is a kind of superstitious ritual to avert the possible wrath of the unpredictable gods.” William Barclay

If you seek to avoid something unpleasant from God, if you’re living in an attempt to appease God, you might be a superstitious worshipper.

Barclay offers a helpful description of true worship: “If God is spirit, he is not confined to things…[or] places. If God is spirit, a man’s gifts to God must be gifts of the spirit [of the heart]. The only gifts that befit the nature of God are the gifts of the spirit - love, loyalty, obedience, devotion. The true worship is when man, through his spirit, attains to friendship and intimacy with God. Genuine worship does not consist in coming to a certain place nor in going through a certain ritual or liturgy nor even in bring certain gifts. True worship is when the spirit, the immortal an invisible parts of man, speaks and meets with God, himself immortal and invisible.”

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

Kent Kloter

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