Religious people these days are clamoring for more exciting and appealing ways to conduct worship services. Lost in the shuffle is that fact that we do not determine what is acceptable worship. We merely recognize what God has authorized in His inspired word. Sadly enough, in an effort to attract larger crowds, some have turned their backs on God’s word in preference to human wisdom. While there are scriptural ways of enhancing the effectiveness of worship, the get–them-in-the-building-at-all-costs philosophy is filled with pitfalls that undermine the mission of the church for which Jesus died (Lk. 19:10; Acts 20:28). Not everything done in the name of worship is acceptable to God. Nadab and Abihu lost their lives because they sought to incorporate into their worship that which was unauthorized (Lev. 10:1-3 cf. Ex. 30:34-38).
In Colossians 3:16-17, Paul writes: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all the name [by the authority] of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” So, in the context of dealing specifically with an item of worship, singing, the inspired writer says that whatever we do must be done by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Respecting the authority of Jesus Christ means that we will not add to or take away from His regulations for worship. Burning incense along with prayer or playing instruments along with singing are additions to God’s instructions regarding worship. Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). God has regulated worship in the word of truth (John 17:17). By studying His word, we can recognize acceptable worship. Everything else offered to God in worship is rejected simply because it has not been authorized by Jesus Christ.
God knows how He want to be worshiped. He has given instructions as to how we must worship Him acceptably. Any changes in worship procedure must fall within the bounds of God’s inspired word. Otherwise, our worship experience becomes little more than a sounding board for our own selfish preferences. May God help us as we seek to worship and serve Him alone! (Matt. 4:10).
Greenbrier church of Christ