John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
This passage of scripture lays out for us the only two indispensable aspects of worship that are acceptable with God. Worship to God must be given in sincerity, and should spring forth spontaneously from willing hearts that are full of gratitude and thanksgiving. True worship should not be dull or mournful, as if praise to God were a burden, but it should rather be given with gladness and with the understanding. The psalmist David elaborated on this aspect of worship as he wrote about praise and thanksgiving. Let's read:
Psalms 100:1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
However, this is not the only essential aspect of worship, for the passage in the book of John clearly states that worship must also be done in truth, meaning that erroneous concepts, teachings, and practices directly interfere with the quality of worship that is acceptable to God. For instance, in some religions, bowing down to, or kissing the feet of graven images forms a part of worship, but even though this practice may be done in sincerity, God cannot accept it because it falls short in the aspect of truth. Let's read:
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
The aspect of true worship is what was lacking when Cain brought the fruits of the ground instead of the sacrificial lamb which God had ordained. Even though he may have been sincere in his motives, yet God could not accept it for it was contrary to the plain stipulation of The Most High, and furthermore, sincerity is never a substitute for truth. Let's read:
Genesis 4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
This experience of Cain as it pertains to true or false worship is too often repeated in our day, where many sincere Christians are bringing an offering that God has never required. God has ordained that the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week be the only given holy day of rest, and even though millions of sincere Christians have been taught for centuries that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, yet there is no scriptural authority to support that belief. This combination of sincerity and erroneous teaching is what Christ was referring to when He made the following statement to those who were worshiping Him while not in harmony with His laws and commandments. Let's read:
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Paul and Betty come from the Caribbean and were happily married for thirty odd years, when on his fiftieth birthday Paul made a special request of his loving wife Betty. He asked her to make his favorite dish of Ackee and saltfish with a side of escovitch fish, marinated in hot sauce. Betty however did not follow Paul's instructions but instead made a delicious meal of jerk chicken with rice and peas which she sincerely believed her husband would accept and enjoy.
And so on his birthday she gave him a big hug and a beautiful birthday card, and then came the big surprise for Paul, whose mouth had been watering all the while, just thinking about the delicious meal he had asked for. As Betty in sincerity revealed her big surprise, a look of sadness and disappointment came over Paul's face, for although his wife had prepared her dish in sincerity, yet Paul could not accept it, because it was not what he had asked for.
Every week God goes through a much bigger disappointment, when expecting to meet with His professed people on Saturday, most of them show up one day late on Sunday, and God keeps on waiting, and waiting, hoping that one day soon His people will eventually get it right. The Sabbath is still God's holy day of rest, and He is now calling on those who have been worshiping in "spirit", to complete the two requirements by adding the "Truth" aspect to their worship so that it can be acceptable with God.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture that should serve as a reminder to all Christians, that the seventh day Sabbath is still valid and will always be. Let's read:
Isaiah 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
We hope and pray that all honest-hearted people across the globe will come to a knowledge and practice of this sacred truth, so that our worship may be complete and acceptable in the sight of God who gave us the Sabbath for our own good. "Good night" and God bless!