Friday, 16 October 2020

The New Testament Worship (Part 1)


In the Old Testament, they worship by laying a sacrifice on the altar. And another way they worship is bowing. You will never see such statements like, "worship song", or "sing worship". Worship was never about singing. Although one can sing "praise". But when it comes to worship it is about laying a sacrifice on the altar. Today in Christianity we've developed this idea that worship is about singing slow songs. But you will find that nowhere in scripture. To the people in the Bible, whenever the word "worship" is mentioned the thing that comes to mind is "sacrifice"

Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman and she asked, "tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” (John 4:20). Jesus answered and said, "the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem... when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way." (John 4:21-23). 

The Old Testament people "worship only at the altar in Jerusalem" (2Kings 18:22). This was the religiously approved way to worship God. Worship was done at the altar in Jerusalem, it was done by setting up sacrifice before the Lord at the altar. But that was the old system, Jesus said we are now in a new system where worship is done by going into the spiritual reality (which is Christ) and worship God the way it is done in this reality. This brings us to the question; how is worship done in this reality?

In the Old Testament worship is about going to Jerusalem and offering sacrifice and bowing down before God. In the New Testament the venue for worship shifted to the spirit. We would see that in Jesus statement to the Samaritan woman. Even Paul teach the same thing, "For we are the circumcision, who *worship God in the Spirit,* rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh," (Phi 3:3). In the New Testament you won't see anything like, "place of worship". Worship to the New Testament people has nothing to do with a physical place, it is in the spirit.

In the New Testament there is nothing like "house of worship". Worship has nothing to do with a physical place (I am emphazing this because it really needs to sink into our head). We "worship in the spirit", that is what Jesus and Paul taught us. But whatever we do in the spirit has an expression or manifestation in the physical. How do you know when someone is worshipping in the spirit? You will see the physical manifestation of that worship. So what are the physical manifestation of our spiritual worship?

That is when we come to holy living, singing, giving aims, etc. They are the physical manifestation of our spiritual worship. They are not the worship in themselves, they are only the physical manifestation of that thing you are doing in the spirit. So what are you doing in the spirit? What is that thing we do in the spirit when we want to worship God?

In the Old Testament worship is laying a sacrifice on the altar. It is not singing, it is not giving money, or whatever. Worship is going to Jerusalem to make a sacrifice. So what we the New Testament people do is that, we are already in the realm of the spirit, so we identify which Christ sacrifice. It is only in his sacrifice do we truly make sacrifice. We cannot make any other sacrifice other than his sacrifice. We make sacrifice each time we identify with his sacrifice and come into oneness with that sacrifice. How is all this done?

"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom 6:10-11)

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;" (Gal 2:20)

Whenever we reckon ourselves dead or crucified with Christ, then we have offered a sacrifice. And whatever we do by reckoning ourselves dead is the manifestation of that worship.

If you sing, without coming before God in the spirit, coming into Jesus death, laying on the altar and watch yourself die, burning as sweet smelling aroma rises to God, than your singing is not a worship no matter how slow the song may be. If the singing is not coming from a soul that is reckoning herself dead, and pouring out Christ unto God, then that singing is not worship. I might need to go deeper. 

Now when you approach God in the spirit and reckon yourself dead in Christ's death, what would happen is that something pure begins to pour out of you. It is not coming from your flesh (it is not coming from you in the flesh) it is coming from Christ in you. In fact, it is Christ pouring out onto God as sweet smelling aroma as your flesh lay dead, burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit on the altar. When you reckon yourself dead to sin and dead to your righteous work, then a pure righteousness begins to pour out of you (you will start doing certain works of righteousness) — a righteousness that is utterly Christ. And it is pouring out unto God, not man. That is worship. 

If it is just you singing, if you are not dying to self, and if you are not burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit, then that singing is not worship.

If you are only giving because they say you should give, if that giving does not involve you dying to self, and if it is not done by the Spirit, then your giving is not a worship, neither is it a sacrifice, no matter how large that giving may be. 

I hope we understand that what I am trying to correct is the mentality that all you have to do is sing some songs and go to church weekly, and then you have fulfilled your religious duty and you are hereby a good Christian? God doesn't just want your church time, he wants the whole of you. He wants you to worship him with the whole of your life. And worship cannot be done carnally, otherwise it is not worship at all. You can't do these things just for doing sake. You must put your heart into it, press into the spirit, because until it touches the spirit and establish itself in the spirit, then it is not worship.

I once heard a testimony of an atheist who was watching a bunch of teenagers worship. He couldn't help but notice the effort these people were putting into the worship. These teenagers were singing and pressing, trying to touch something in the spirit. As this atheist watch he was astonished at what was happening. Just by looking, he could tell that these people were transacting with another realm. This was an atheist who did not believe that there is a spirit realm. But looking at these teenagers he could tell that this is beyond anything physical. It is not the sweetness of the voice, the soothing sound, or the beauty of the music. It is something utterly heavenly

Let's not forget that one of the work of a priest is to detect imperfections in sacrifices. The eyes of the priest must be so sharp that it is able to spot faults in sacrifices no matter how small that fault is. This is to ensure that only true and perfect worship would be offered to God. As priests we must all know what true worship is, and which worship is not perfect. Our eyes must become so sharp (discerning) that we can easily detect faults in our worship, and then work toward offering a more perfect worship, acceptable unto God.

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