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It is written:
Colossians 3:16-17-Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
One of the questions that comes up frequently in studying the Bible is in regards to freedom in worship.
There are those who teach that anything in church worship services may be freely practiced as long as the worshipers are sincere. So for example, there are many churches where the following take place quite freely during worship services:
Speaking In Gibberish;
Running Around Church Buildings;
Screaming And Shouting;
Playing Any And All Instruments Of Music;
Being “Slain In The Spirit;”
And on and on the list goes.
Now, the sincerity of worshipers participating in these things is not in question. But we need to ask: what does God say about such?
Can people offer anything in “worship” to God, and expect Him to pleased with it as long as they are sincere?
In the Book of Colossians, one of the themes that Paul deals with in particular is worship. He was dealing with false teachers within the church, some of whom were trying to bind the Old Testament Law on believers, and some who were following Gnosticism (trying to join pagan religion with Christianity). In the midst of this, Paul explains to the Colossians about how Christ and His Word are superior to every religion and religious system in the world, and so they need to abide in what Jesus and His Word proclaim:
Colossians 2:6-10-As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
One of the characteristics of the pagan Gnostics is that they were involved in something that Paul calls “self-imposed religion” or “will-worship” (Colossians 2:23). This involved acts of worship that God had not authorized, Indeed, two renowned scholars of the Greek New Testament point this out to us,
“‘will-worship’ (ethelo, ‘to will,’ threskeia, ‘worship’), occurs in Col. 2:23, voluntarily adopted ‘worship,’ whether unbidden or forbidden, not that which is imposed by others, but which one affects.” (W.E. Vine, Merrill Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old And New Testament Words, 62662-62668 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Publishers)
“Thayer-“1) voluntary, arbitrary worship; worship which one prescribes and devises for himself, contrary to the contents and nature of faith which ought to be directed to Christ.” (Joseph Henry Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, E-Sword edition)
One of the characteristics of the Gnosticism was a tendency to practice forms of worship that God had not authorized. As Colossians 2 demonstrates, God does not accept such worship!
In Colossians 3, Paul reminds the need for the Colossians to allow the Word of God dwell “in them.” The Greek phrase used here (en humin) was one of Paul’s most used phrases to describe the worship assembly of the church. To see an example of this, look at how the same phrase is used later in Colossians:
Colossians 4:16-Now when this epistle is read among you (en humin), see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
There are many other examples where this phrase is used to document “in the worship assembly” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:10; 3:3; 11:18).
In this context, Paul reminds us that whatever we do in word (i.e., whatever we teach) or in deed (whatever we practice) in the worship assembly must be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
What does this mean?
Acts 4:7-And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
“In the name of” means “by the authority of.”
Furthermore, this passage also teaches us where this authority is found: in the Word of Christ, i.e., the New Testament Scriptures (cf. Colossians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:14; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
So whatever we teach and practice in the worship assembly of the church must have authority from the New Testament Scriptures.
Friends, God will not accept anything and everything offered as worship to Him. This is another reason why we need to return to the Word of God and search it out, to find what pleases Him.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
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