BY WHAT AUTHORITY -- WORSHIP? by Dave Brown
We want you to consider a simple question --
by what authority do you worship God? In other articles in this series we emphasized
that we must have authority for everything that we do in
religion (Col. 3: 17, 1 Thes. 5: 21), and this authority comes
from the written word of God (1 Cor. 14: 37, 2 Tim. 3: 16-17).
Why do you do the things that you do in worship
to God? For most people it has to do with the tradition which
they grew up with, or that which is commonly accepted in their
It does matter! Jesus encountered a Samaritan
woman who wanted to discuss the issue of the proper location of
worship, as recorded in John 4: 20-24. Jesus was quite clear
on this issue: "Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship
that which we know ... God is a Spirit: and they that worship
him must worship in spirit and truth."
To worship in truth means to worship in accordance with
the standard of truth. The Samaritan woman felt that she
was right. This did not make her right. "We worship that
which we know" was true because the location of their worship
had been revealed and recorded in the Old Testament from the time
that Solomon completed the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6).
God never said: "though shalt not worship in the
mountain." But they were wrong to presume that they could
substitute the mountain for the God-ordained location in
Jerusalem. This principle of authority has not changed. Hear
the apostle John: "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not
in the teaching of Christ, hath not God" (2 Jn. 9).
Even seemingly innocent things, such as washing your hands
before eating, can become sinful if they are taught as acts of
worship beyond what the bible teaches. Read Mt. 15: 1-14, and
note verse 9: "But in vain do they worship me, teaching as
their doctrines the precepts of men."
In other articles in this series we provide the
scriptural basis for the five acts of formal worship which are
given in that part of God's word which we are currently under,
the New Testament. These are: prayer, singing, preaching, giving,
and the Lord's supper.
We will see that God has given us book, chapter and verse
to thoroughly guide us to perform these acts of worship which
He wants us to do when we gather ourselves together on the first
day of the week. If we go beyond these acts of worship, we are
on the same perilous ground that the Samaritans were on when they
worshipped God in the mountain as opposed to Jerusalem.