The Psalmist declared “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 34:18; 51:17).

God asks that you and I bring an open-hearted spontaneity which comes from deep within a broken and contrite heart. That is our part in true spiritual worship.

JESUS WORSHIPS IN OUR WORSHIP

Frankincense is pure white, and obtained the same way as galbanum. This says two things: Purity and brokenness. Only Jesus Christ can be described in these terms. He was the perfect, spotless Lamb of God whose body was broken to take away the sins of the world: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Hebrews 2:12 quotes Jesus as saying, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” Jesus “joins in” every time His people assemble and worship the Father because He dwells in every believer by His Spirit which each of us has received from God.

A WORSHIP OF RULES TAUGHT BY MEN

Isaiah 29:13 tells us that God disclaimed Israel’s worship because “their worship of me is made up of rules taught by men.” Exodus 30:9 warns “do not offer on this altar any other incense.”

Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, offered unauthorized incense on the holy altar before the Lord and He struck them dead with fire that came out from His presence. Worship that is taught by the rules of men is unauthorized incense and God regards it as such.

There are two ways we can worship: God’s way, or man’s sinful way-the way God wants to be worshiped, or according to the rules taught by men. God only accepts the worship He has specified in His word. Wrong worship may be sincere, but sincerity has never been the criterion for truth. You can be sincerely wrong. Many are! Nadab and Abihu were sincere when they offered strange fire but God smote them dead just the same! (Lev. 10)

WHAT HAPPENED TO TRUE SPIRITUAL WORSHIP?

The Early Church was characterized by a joyous flow of true spiritual worship. But men, unfamiliar with this true worship, came into leadership in the church and they introduced rituals and liturgies they had contrived out of their fleshly minds. As the church entered the “Dark Ages” it lost most it ever knew about worship “in spirit and in truth.” The flow of the Spirit had been displaced by systems of worship learned by rote and taught by men. Lip service replaced heart service. That which had once been full of God’s glory had become barren and lifeless. “The glory had departed.”

Although we are in the midst of great renewal in the church, still much present day worship has been inherited as lifeless traditions. Thus, today’s forms of worship are often death-dealing, having resulted from hundreds of years of forms of godliness that deny God’s power. (2 Tim 3:5)