The wisdom of God has guided the hand of man to accurately reveal the conditions of worship that are acceptable. God authorizes all acceptable worship. The Bible is a complete book of instructions for man to follow while upon this earth. God has required worship, from those created in his likeness, in every dispensation and age. But not all worship is acceptable, proper, or received with respect.
In Genesis 4:5 we read, “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” Why did God not treat both sacrifices with the same respect? For our answer we have to look to the New Testament. The author of the letter to the Hebrews gives us the answer. “By faith Able offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (Heb. 11:4). There is our answer just as clear as it can be. Able offered his sacrifice by faith and Cain did not. But what does it mean that Able offered his sacrifice by faith? Paul said that faith comes by hearing God’s word (Ro. 10:17). In other words, God spoke to both of these men and told them how he wanted them to worship him. Able believed God and proceeded to sacrifice just as God had instructed. Cain decided that another sacrifice would be better or at least just as good as the one that God commanded.
There is another example of worship, in the Old Testament, that God did not respect. Two priests put strange fire in their censors and offered it unto God. By strange fire we understand that it was something not commanded or authorized by God (Lev. 10:1). In Jesus personal teaching he referred to some Jews that were worshipping in vain. The reason that their worship was not received with respect was that it was based upon the doctrine of men, and not upon the commandments of God (Matt. 15:9).
Today we have those who are worshipping in vain. They have added things that God has not commanded. The use of instrumental music has no authority in the New Testament.The practice of hand clapping to show approval is not authorized in the New Testament scriptures. The use of women in a leadership roll is not authorized in the New Testament. Then there are commandments that are deleted and not used. For example there are many that do not eat the Lord’s Supper each week as the New Testament Christians did (Acts 20:7).
If our worship is to receive the respect of God, then we must worship just as God has commanded. This will not only be exactly what God has commanded, but it will also be done regularly and with reverence. Jesus summed it up when he said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).