In the gospel according to John, Yeshua the Messiah explains to the Samaritan woman that the true worshipers of the Almighty worship Him in spirit and in truth. Have you ever thought about what it actually means to worship Yahweh in truth?
Most people join a particular church because it makes them feel comfortable, or because they like the personality of the members, or maybe the pastor. Some even say that certain forms or modes of "worship" work for them, therefore they are satisfied with worshiping in that certain way. However, we must recognize that our worship needs to follow the divine revelation set forth in the written word of the Creator. If we do not worship Him on His terms, we are really not worshiping Him at all.
Matthew 15 comes to mind here. In the beginning of this chapter we have the Pharisees confronting Yeshua about His disciples. They were wondering why these disciples did not wash their hands before eating. These men were not speaking of hygiene or mere cleanliness principles, but rather a traditional, ritualistic act, noted by the phrase in the chapter, the "tradition of the elders." This is what was being "transgressed" by Yeshua's disciples. Yeshua responds to them by asking, "Why do you transgress the commandment of the Almighty for the sake of keeping your tradition?" He goes on to explain to them that when a person teaches a doctrine of men as a commandment given by the Almighty, their worship is in vain. Thus, the worship the person thinks he is giving to the heavenly Father, is useless and worthless in the sight of Yahweh. This is what the phrase "vain worship" literally means.
I've seen this various times in my life at particular churches. There are standards (non-Biblical standards) that are set for the people to abide by, and if these rules are broken the people are looked down upon enormously. This is nothing more than modern day Pharisee teaching, and doesn't place the emphasis of the Christian life where it belongs - on the standards found in Scripture.
I heard a story recently about a man who taught various grades of school, and he required many papers or reports to be written during his teaching career. This man would lay down certain stipulations for the report: it must be type written, double-spaced, title on top, name to the right side of the top of the page, and a bibliography attached, etc. He remarked that just about every time he would give such an assignment there was someone who would hand in a couple of pages that had been written in pencil, with no title, no bibliography, etc. Obviously the teacher could not accept the paper because they had not followed the instructions. Is Yahweh more lenient than a school teacher? Do you believe Yahweh accepts worship that violates His instructions?
We need to be careful about how we worship the Father, not making attempts to add to or take away from what He has prescribed. After all, we should be seeking to please Him.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.