True Worship

“Worship is not only doing what pleases God, but also being pleased with what God does.”  (Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, cited by William Barcley, “Ungratefulness as the Root of Sin” in Tabletalk Magazine, p. 6, November, 2019, Ligonier Ministries.)

Barcley (Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Presbyterian Church) goes on:  “Worship includes taking delight in and giving thanks for all that God brings into our lives – in all circumstances.  The thankful heart is a worshipful heart.  The thankless heart is incapable of worshiping God.”  (ibid, Tabletalk, p. 6-7)

At the time I write this article, it is August 8, 2020 and I have been chewing and meditating on this article ever since I first read it in November of 2019, during my devotions.

Barcley also points out Romans 1:18-3:20 and focuses in on Romans 1:21:

“At the root of it all, however, is humanity’s failure to honor God as God and give Him thanks (Romans 1:21).  In its essence, ingratitude is a rejection of God.  It is a rejection of Hm as Creator and Ruler of all things.”  (ibid, p. 7)


“Ungratefulness and pride go hand in hand.” (ibid, p. 7)

The statement by Burroughs seems to be derived from the Scripture in Job 1:20-22

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

This is a massive lesson that rebukes all tendencies to anger at God for what He allows (sufferings, sickness, disease, trials), the resulting self-pity, melancholy, depression, discouragement, crankiness, complaining, bitterness, negative outlook at life – if it comes from not being thankful to God and focusing on one’s self and circumstances – this lesson seems to be a constant need of reminder every day.  Some of these things like depression and melancholy are also influenced by genetics, personality, physical pain, aging, etc. but my focus here is on the complaining that arrises out of lack of thankfulness, worship, and focus on God and who He is, as revealed in Scripture.

Jesus said that those who worship must worship in Spirit and Truth:  John 4:23-24

All of John chapter 4 is important for the context, so please note the entire chapter.  For my article here, I am focusing on John 4:16-26.  In the future, I want to write on the context of evangelism and outreach that Jesus made into the Samaritan territory (John 4:1-15), but for now, the purpose of this article is on John 4:16-26.

  1.  Sin 

True worship cannot take place without a recognition that one is a sinner.  Jesus gently exposed the Samaritan’s woman’s sinful lifestyle.  (John 4:16-19)

2.  Place

True worship also is not limited to a specific place.  (John 4:21)

3.  OT revelation of who God is

and true worship comes to us by first understanding the Jewish Scriptures and revelation of who God is.  (John 4:22) “salvation is from the Jews” = means that the knowledge or revelation of who God is, and His redemptive plan of salvation begins with the Old Testament Scriptures.  We are not Marcionites.  (Marcion was a 2nd century heretic who championed the rejection of the Old Testament or that the God of the OT is some other deity than the Father of Jesus Christ in the NT.)

4.  Spirit and Truth (4:23-24) –

Mediate on these verses from the videos below from the Greek Text. We must worship “in Spirit” = one must be born again by the Spirit of God. (John 3:1-10)  “Truth” = “Thy Word is Truth” (John 17:17) – we must fill our minds and hearts with God’s word.  We must worship sincerely and truly.  Internal reality by heart repentance and faith.

5.  Jesus as Messiah (4:25-26)

True Worship also includes recognizing that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of the OT Scriptures, (John 4:25-26), and all that the NT reveals about Jesus. (eternal, Word, Son, Deity, incarnation, 2 natures, etc.)  (John 1:1-5; 14-18; 5:17-18; 8:24; 8:56-58; 10:30; 17:5; 20:28; Hebrews 1:3, 6, 8, 10-12; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:15-20; Mark 2:28; Mark 14:60-64; Matthew 14:33, Matthew 22:41-46 / Mark 12:35-37; Luke 1:34-35, etc.)  No one can come to God the Father except through Jesus Christ.  (John 14:6)  So it is not enough to claim, as Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Muslims do, that true worship is plain “Monotheism”.

In the future, I hope to write more on this subject, as it is a great and profound issue, and causes me to stop and think and pray and meditate on more and more these days.

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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