If people are spiritually asleep, you have to shock them, startle them, scandalize them, if you want them to hear what you say. Jesus was especially good at this. In John 4, when he wants to teach us something about worship, he uses a harlot. “Go call your husband!” “I don’t have a husband.” “That’s right. But you’ve had five, and the man you sleep with now is not your husband.” She was shocked. We’re shocked. But Jesus simply sits there on the edge of the well with his hands folded, looking at the woman with razors in his eyes ready to teach us about worship.
The first thing we learn is that worship has to do with real life. It is not a mythical interlude in a week of reality. Worship has to do with adultery and hunger and racial conflict. Jesus is tired from the journey, hot, sweaty, thirsty—and he decides: “Yes, even now, just now I will seek someone to worship God—a harlot, a Samaritan adulteress. I will show my disciples the worship that my Father seeks and how he seeks it in the midst of real life from the least worthy. She is a Samaritan. She is a woman. She is a harlot. Yes, I will even show them a thing or two about how to make true worshipers out of the white harvest of harlots in Samaria.”
If all the odds are stacked against you, you can still be a true worshiper. Stretch that muscle, challenge yourself, and get out of the rut of mediocrity with faith. Be honest, Worship in Spirit and in Truth. Come with all your junk, asking to be holy. Stripped away of any mask or falseness.
John Piper says…the fuel of worship is the grand truth of a gracious and sovereign God; the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit; the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit; and the resulting heat of our affections is worship, pushing its way out in tears, confessions, prayers, praises, acclamations, lifting of hands, bowing low, and obedient lives.
We need the Holy Spirit to make us true worshipers. To make our spirits alive and sensitive to Him. How do we get the Holy Spirit? We repent of things that make us unholy before God and then we simply ask. Like the woman at that well. No qualifications, no pre requisites. You don’t need to have served God for x amount of time, or be a pastor, or read your Bible x amount. To go to a new level in worship, repent honestly and ask for the Holy Spirit boldly.
Careless worship is worthless religious activity. Or to be more precise: it’s religious activity that illustrates how little a person values God.
2 Samuel 24:24 David was trying to avoid a plague. To do so he needed a place to build an altar to offer sacrifices to the Lord. The threshing floor of Araunah was in the right place and Araunah offers the threshing floor and animals to David for nothing.
But David responds, “No, but I will buy it of you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God —which cost me nothing.”
In other words, I value God so much—the sovereign freedom of his love and the majesty of his fatherhood are so satisfying to my soul—that I cannot bring myself to worship in away that looks as if I love money more than I love him. It must cost me something. It must say that he and not the world is my treasure.
Careless worship is empty religious activity: it doesn’t express the worth of God. In fact it expresses that our treasure is on the earth, and that what we really love is the world.
The nature of true worship is worship that it
– expresses the feeling of God’s value and greatness;
– comes from a heart where God is treasured above all human property and praise,