He Gets to Decide – Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering, part 4 of 20

Thus far, the case for God’s regulated worship has been made from the Old Testament. Can one be made from the New? Most certainly; we’ll look at one this time and another one the next.

In Matthew 15, Jesus is having another run-in with Israel’s “worship experts”—the Pharisees. After their confrontation, Jesus gives them a less-than-complimentary title; calling them “blind guides”. The full indictment goes this way: “Leave them [the Pharisees]; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (15:14). In what way were they blind? Jesus had said a few verses earlier: “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (15:7-9). What’s Jesus saying? He is saying it is possible to think one is rightly worshiping God but in all actuality he is not worshiping at all. Jesus is saying that worship isn’t acceptable to God when it’s done according to “rules taught by men.” That must mean there is such a thing as “rules taught by God.”

Now the Pharisees had a major “Jesus problem”—they didn’t believe in Him. Gratefully, that isn’t the evangelical’s problem. He has a problem, however, thinking that he isn’t ordered by God’s rules of worship. In most cases, even the concept of God having rules for worship is a foreign one.

But isn’t it God’s prerogative to dictate the way we are to approach Him? After all, we are the ones who messed up our relationship with Him. He not only gets to decide if there will be a relationship; He also gets to decide how He will be worshiped if there is one.

When we understand that, we will be less concerned how we want to worship God and more concerned about how He has told us to. But if we are still convinced God lets us decide, we actually may be in danger of worshiping ourselves. That’s our tease for next time and the lead in to the other New Testament verse we will look at.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
October 28, 2010

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