Does God Accept All Worship?

The vast majority of folks would answer the above question in the positive. However, many would do so in ignorance of what the Bible teaches. For example, at least four times in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus plainly condemns the worship of those who are hypocrites (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16; 7:5). Many, after a little thought, would agree that if one is a gross hypocrite, God would refuse to approve his worship. However, just because one may be sincere doesn't necessarily mean that God accepts his worship. When Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman he told her:

   "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).

 The truth of the matter is that God doesn'taccept all worship just because one may be sincere. Throughout the Bible God has always required men to follow His instructions in worshiping Him! Since the New Testament replaced the Old Testament, notably the Law of Moses, the worship changed from the tabernacle or temple worship to worship revealed and \aught by Jesus and His inspired apostles. The New Testament book of Hebrews clearly shows the superiority of the New over the Old. This book shows that today God speaks to man "by his Son" (Hebrews 1:2) instead of Moses. In Matthew 15:9 we read that Jesus condemned the worship of the Pharisees and scribes as vain or empty. He said " vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."  Why?  Rather than teaching the doctrine that Jesus brought, they were teaching the doctrines of men! In fact the apostle John said by inspiration, that those who "...transgresseth, [goes on ahead, ESV] and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God" (2 John 9).

 Through the centuries since the New Testament was completed, people have changed nearly everything concerning the worship revealed there. One of the most comprehensive statements of the early church concerning worship is Acts 2:42. Notice, "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."  In this one verse, we have four things mentioned concerning their activities. First, they were careful to stay in the doctrine of the inspired apostles. It is important to not stray from this teaching. They also continued in fellowship. The word translated fellowship here is also translated communion and contribution, and may describe the great generosity in giving and sharing with others. The breaking of bread here probably refers to the Lord's Supper which the early Christians assembled and observed each first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). Prayers were uttered not only in personal devotion, but when they assembled together for nearly any purpose (Acts 12:12). Praising God in song was also an important part of their corporate worship (Ephesians 5:18-21; Colossians 3:12-17). Today the simple heartfelt worship of the early church is perverted in nearly every way. Ancient rituals, dancing, candles, distinction between some, called "clergy or laity," performances, many of which have even been lewd and sensual have been added. The only limitation seems to be the imagination of man!

 The man whom Jesus healed of blindness said concerning Jesus: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth" (John 9:31, emphasis mine, ER). Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).  Are you doing the Fathers' will in your worship?

 Ed Rodgers, Forney, TX