WORSHIPING IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH
I want to share with you the Key to unlocking the door to an intimate relationship with the Lord.
It says in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come BOLDLY into the throne of GRACE, that we may OBTAIN MERCY, and find GRACE to help in time of need.” The word BOLDLY here is the Greek word par-rhay-see’-ah meaning confidence, freely, openly, all outspokenness.
When you have a relationship with the Father where you can cry “ABBA FATHER” (translated PaPa God) as in Romans 8:15, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” and Gal.4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Then you have gotten there by one avenue, Spirit lead worship.
To understand the importance of Praise and Worship, we need only look at the Word. All throughout the old and new testaments, we are commanded to “Praise the Lord”. The word is full of examples of men who walked with the Lord, ALL of whom were worshipers.
Let me share a special thing that happened to me recently when I was seeking the Lord concerning a specific issue. I share this with you not to boast in the Lord but rather to show you how wonderful the Lord blesses those who worship Him. I was going to spend a day fasting and praying about this specific issue. I had gone to the office to take care of business and returned home about 8:30. The second I hit the door, the Lord spoke to me very specifically concerning the situation. I was amazed. I was thinking I would have to pray and pray and pray and wait on Him to hear me, but because I was acquainted with the throne room, I was able to spiritually stand before Him and receive immediately the instruction I needed.
He then revealed to me an example in the old testament that shows the Praise Leaders being set before the entrance to the gate into tabernacle and the Holy of Holies. Look at Numbers 2:2-3. The tribe of Judah which means Praise, was set at the east gate of the desert tabernacle (the ONLY entrance into the tabernacle). Only the priests were between them and the Lord’s presence. Every other tribe could enter the tabernacle but only by coming around to the east gate (Entering by Praise) into the court praise.
The tribe of Praise (Judah) was the first to see the rising of the sun, just as those who praise and worship are the first to enter into the Lords presence. So often people take the long way around into His presence but they will always have to pass through the court of PRAISE.
Worship and Praise are very important weapons against the enemy and because they are, all the forces of evil want to keep you from true worship. There are three (3) major hindrances to worshiping the Lord in spirit and truth. They are GUILT, SELF CONDEMNATION, and TIMIDITY or FEAR of embarrassment/peer pressure.
So often, when we have struggles with sin we allow GUILT and SELF CONDEMNATION to rob us of our relationship with the FATHER. But the Word says in John 3:17, “For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world , but to save the world through Him.” God is not SHOCKED BY OUR SIN. HE DOES NOT push us away from himself when we fail and fall. He desires us to come to Him. Too often we are given man’s way to enter into worship. We are told…Do not enter into worship with out first purifying yourself. This sounds so Good and correct! It even sounds Godly because we can find examples of priests who went through cleansing once a year to enter the Holy of Holies. But is it really Gods way?!? Lets look at the story of Mary worshiping Jesus in Luke 7:36-50. What happened after she wept at his feet and anointed Him. Did not Jesus cleanse her? Yet the Disciples did not understand what was happening.
First she worshiped, then she was cleansed. JESUS CALLS US, each of us, to come closer, lean on Him, commune with Him. Worship and consequently be purified, not purify yourself to worship. Run into His presence when you fall. Do not go a day without worshiping Him. The more you abstain from worship, the greater the separation between you and the Father becomes.
The other hindrance mentioned was timidity/fear and embarrassment. Many are afraid to let go and express their love to the Lord publicly because they feel “this is a private thing.” The word says “if we confess Him before men, He will confess us before the father.” Mat. 10:32 and Luke 12:8. To many, the idea of expressing yourself in worship to the Father in dance, in raising of hands, in shouting, in clapping, in laughing, kneeling, or laying prostrate before Him,….strikes fear in their heart. “Oh, what will people think. I don’t want to be different.” A true worshiper doesn’t care. Look at David who danced before the ark as it came into Jerusalem. Look at Mary who worshiped at His feet. Look at the Elders in Rev.5:8-9 who fell down before the Lamb to worship Him. Look at Miriam who danced before Him after crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. Jesus gives us an example in Heb. 2:12.
We have a choice. Either please THE LORD or please man. We are commanded throughout the Word to Worship and Praise Him in many different ways. And on note along these lines…Be tolerant of unique or “overboard” expressions of worship. Ps. 89:15 “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound (Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you.) John 4:23-24…”must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. The Father seeketh such to worship Him.“
I can not give you a formula on how to worship the Lord in the Spirit. It is a function of the heart being led by the Holy Spirit and worship is expressed in many different ways. And although I can not give you the formula of how to worship the Lord, you can learn how by following the Holy Spirit and doing, doing, doing it.
The Lord showed me an analogy of Worship being compared to a beautiful lake. You don’t just plunge into the water being an unskilled swimmer. First you test the water. Then you wade in the shallows, getting the feel of the surroundings. Then slowly you enter into the deeper waters. The Holy Spirit is an excellent swimming coach. He never hurries us or allows us to get into the depths until we are prepared. Once we are in, the maturity of the Spirit allows us to swim freely, to dive into the depths with anticipation, excitement, and confidence. (Boldly entering the throne room!) As we minister to the Lord, something special happens. Ps. 22:3 says “But thou art Holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” HE INHABITS OUR PRAISES BY HIS SPIRIT! I call this reverse ministry. As we worship He ministers spiritual and physical healing back to us. Worship allows us to focus on the Lord and who He is. Look at ISA. 26:3 “Thou wilt keep Him in Perfect Peace whose mind is stayed on thee!” ANOTHER BENEFIT OF WORSHIP!
When we sing Praise’s, especially the word, we make confessions of faith. We testify of our belief in the Lord. We shake the gates of Hell by declaring war on the enemy!!! As we are obedient to the Word, we are blessed. On the other hand, refusal to participate in Praise/Worship is rebellion against God’s Word!!! So, sit back and allow the Holy Spirit, The Great Conductor, to lead you in your worship as you glorify the King.
The big question I want to present to you today is…Are you a man pleaser or God pleaser? Let me explain…Nothing in the church today is so controversial as worship. I have seen churches divided over worship and the “right” way to do it. Some like this way and others like this way, and they miss the whole meaning and intent.
Scripture: John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. What does it mean to worship the Lord in Spirit and truth? We know from Jesus’ own words that the Father seeks and desires worshipers. He delights in our worship. Why God in His infinite power and majesty delights in the worship of man is a mystery. “Who is man that thou art mindful of him?” He also “inhabits the praises of His people.” A believer who truly worships the Lord will do so regardless of the circumstances.
JOB 13:15 “Though He may slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a true believer, He/She will always bow their heart before the Lord in worship.
The Psalms are beautiful examples of Worship in adversity. David always acknowledged the Lord as Almighty, worshiping even in the most extreme circumstances. When everything around us is crashing down, do we bend our knees and worship or do we go down under the weight of the situation? Ps. 42:7 “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.”
Is your deep calling out unto the Lord?
Is your spirit so dependent on the Captain of your soul that it is only natural to call out unto Him?
There is a difference in Worship and Praise. Praise can be bestowed towards another person for something achieved, a task well done. Praise is telling the Lord how great He is.
Worship is contact with God; a deep reverence, contact with the MOST HIGH. It is expressing your love and affection.
Ps. 89:15 “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you.”
Worship is not something you just come into the fullness of immediately. True worship is tempered by experience and maturity in the Spirit. Responding to life’s situations in worship will result in growth in our ability to worship! You “learn” it by experiencing it.
Getting back to the analogy of Worship being compared to a beautiful lake. Sometimes we see the ones who hurriedly rush the waters and try the depths unprepared. They are often the very ones who end up back in the shallows, too scared of the deep. They tried rushing something that could not be rushed. When we reach a position “In Christ” and allow the Holy Spirit to worship through us, we are lifted to higher and higher realms of worship. As we sing and speak forth our worship, guided by the Spirit, we have a fullness of the Spirit come upon us.
Worshiping the Lord in Truth is as important as worshiping in the Spirit! A wise man once told me that if I don’t worship Him in my prayer closet in the same fullness as when I am in a congregation, then I am worshiping for man’s sake and not the Lord’s.
Luke 7:36-50 Mary’s worship of Jesus.
So, how do we enter into true worship?
Can we do so without repentance and humbling ourselves before the Lord?
Can we do so with our mind filled with the thoughts of situations and emotions of our day to day living?
In order to enter into the high realms of worship the Lord desires us to flow into, we must come before Him on bended knee, aware of our total dependence on Him for all that we are. Bow down and Worship him in private. Any less and we will not enter in.
There is always variety in Worship. Our heart’s expression to the Lord results in a total abandonment of “what others may think”. We can get so caught up in the arms of the Father, that the world gets “strangely dim“. Our fears and inhibitions are swept away by the waves of the Spirit of God flowing over us. David, in his expression of worship, danced in the streets of Jerusalem before the Lord and was ridiculed by his wife. How many times have we ridiculed a brother or sister because of something “unusual” they do in worship? (II Samuel 6:20)
Getting back to Mary’s expression of worship, notice who criticized her. The disciples were surprised when Jesus commended Mary instead of rebuking her. They were full of knowledge of Jesus but they were not worshiping Him as true worshipers. Never will you get to a point in your walk that you rise above worshiping the Lord. Rev. 5:8-9 The elders worshiping are/were examples to the body of worship.
What robs us of worship, true worship before the Lord?
SIN in our lives is the biggest thief! Never does our sin shock the Lord. He NEVER condemns His children for their sin, He convicts.
Conviction leads to repentance, whereas condemnation leads to total despair.
Conviction leads to victory over sin; condemnation leads to defeat. Conviction draws us to the Lord, Condemnation leads to separation from God. John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 8:11 “She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.“
Repent before the Lord before entering into worship. Just as Mary was forgiven her sins and purified, so we are purified by entering His presence in worship. The Father desires to heal our hearts and cleanse our lives. As true worship draws us closer, the lack of worship creates a greater separation between us and the Father. “Draw nigh unto Him and He will draw nigh unto you!