The Worship Quote of the Week for (04/28/1998):

Spiritual Worship
What do you think of when someone is referred to as an "idolater"? Today's

Instead of worshiping God "in spirit" (recognizing that he is spirit himself
and asks for spiritual worship), idolaters become preoccupied with external,
visible and tangible objects. Even the worship of the people of Israel had a
constant tendency to degenerate into formalism and even blatant hypocrisy. The
seventh and eighth century prophets were scathing in their denunciation of
Israel's empty religion, and Jesus applied their criticism to the Pharisees of
his own day: "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it
is written: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far
from me'" (Isaiah 29:13; Mark 7:6). So whatever outward forms we may use in
Christian worship (liturgies, processions, drama, ritual, kneeling or raising
our arms), we need to ensure that they escape the charge of idolatry by
passing the double test of being "in spirit and in truth."

-John Stott in CHRISTIAN BASICS, Eerdmans, 1969, pages 94 and 95.

[Note that Isaiah, Jesus, and John Stott are not condemning all outward forms
of worship; rather they are warning Israel, the Pharisees, and us that without
hearts for God, our worship is empty, and definitely not "in spirit." See also
Isaiah 1:10-20.]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Pastor of Worship and Music
Chapel Hill Bible Church
Chapel Hill, North Carolina