Biblical Worship

Who Are the True Worshipers of God?

By Archibald G. Brown
Each of us must ask: Am I a true worshipper of God?

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part 3 (final) of a series. Read part 2.

Editor's Note: We present the final part of a sermon preached by Archibald Brown at London's Metropolitan Tabernacle on the vital, and often misunderstood, doctrine of worship. May each of us ask, in the light of Scripture, "Am I a true worshipper of God?" - Dr. Paul Elliott


Our second question is, Who, then, are worshippers? Bear with me, dear unconverted friend, for a moment. You may, perhaps, feel wounded at what we say; but if we wound you, as we hope we may, we do so in deepest love. In answer to the question, "Who are worshippers?" we reply that the unrenewed cannot be. No unconverted man in this tabernacle can worship. I will tell you why. Because the natural man is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be [Romans 8:7]. As long as I have within me a self that is not subject unto God, how can I worship? That self which lifts up its head and struts about and is proud of its own righteousness cannot worship.

I know when the angels will recognize your worship. It is when that proud head of yours has been bent before God, and the last word of self-excuse has been uttered, and when the brow of your inner soul is down in the dust, as you cry, "God be merciful to me the sinner" then the angels will begin to rejoice, and say, "Behold, he prays at last. Now the man has commenced to worship."

"Two men went up into the temple to pray" [Luke 18:10-14]. Do you see the one as he says, "God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are"? That man does not bow himself before God. Not he, indeed! Why, his Pharisaical self struts about like a little god, saying, "I do this, and I do that, and I give tithes of all that I possess." The man said his prayer, and he went back, but he did not worship. Do you see that other man? He bows his innermost self as he cries, "God be merciful to me the sinner." Christ's comment is this: "I tell you; that man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

You Worship the One to Whom You Bow Down

Do you want to know whom you worship? You worship the one to whom you bow down, whatever may be your professions. If I bow down to money, then I worship money. If I bow myself down to myself, I worship myself. Whatever that thing may be to which I prostrate myself, that thing is my idol. Oh unrenewed man, thou art a worshipper, but thou art bowing down to the works of thine own hands. Self is thy god. The true Christian, also, so long as he is unsurrendered cannot be a real worshipper.

Have you got any little quarrel on with God? You say, "A quarrel with God?" Yes, are you sure that you have never had one? I do not know the man who could venture to say that he never had. God's thought about some matter is not quite your thought, and His way is not the way that you want to take, and so there is inward contention. Your will is not surrendered to His, and therefore you do not get any refreshment from your devotions, do you? How can there be "devotion" where there is no devotedness?

As long as I am God's critic - as long as I am God's judge - as long as I am contending with Him about anything, there can be no real worship. Hence we come away ofttimes so unrefreshed in prayer. We go to church and to chapel very regularly, and perhaps we read the Word, but we do not get any blessing. Why is this? The answer is simple. We are not worshippers. The moment that miserable "self" falls down before God, we shall have the blessing, for then are we true worshippers, but not till then.

Examples of True Worshippers

This word seems to grow on me, but I see that my time has just gone, and therefore I will conclude. Any heart that prostrates itself in adoring love is a true worshipper. I will not ask you to turn to the references now, but will you look up the word "worshipper" where it occurs in the New Testament, and see who the real worshippers are. To do so is very instructive.

I read, for example, in Matthew 8, "And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him." Now, how did that leper worship? Listen. He said, "Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean." I have often heard that poor leper abused as if he was a very unbelieving man, because he said "if". I think that the man was quite right. He bowed to the divine sovereignty. "Lord, I have no doubt as to Thy ability. If thou wilt thou canst make me clean." And the Lord has put him down on the list of His worshippers.

In Matthew 15 there comes a Syrophoenician woman, and I read, "And she fell at His feet, and she worshipped Him, and said, Lord, help me." Now, mark, how did that woman worship? See how she won the title of worshipper. Jesus said, "It is not meet [fitting] to take the children's bread and to cast it to dogs." Most of us would have lifted up the head of our paltry little self, and said, "Dog? Do you call me 'dog'? I am not a dog." Ah, but when self lifts up its head it ceases to be a worshipper. The woman said, "Truth, Lord, but yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their Master's table." The Lord enrolls her amongst His worshippers. And, had we time, we could show you how often persons in the most unexpected quarters yielded to the Lord a worship which refreshed His heart.

Meet With God At The Mercy Seat

Oh, come, let us worship. You know where to come. There is the altar; there is the sacrifice; there is the high priest. Behold where Jesus sits still bearing the marks of the thorn-crown and the nails! I will tell you what worship is, then. It is to go to the mercy-seat concerning which God has said, "There will I meet with thee" and it is to cast one's self right down at the feet of Christ, perfectly prostrate as far as self is concerned, the last idea of goodness taken out of us, the last word of excuse silenced, the brow in the dust, and yet trust and love in the heart. Oh, come, poor sinner. Your life in the past may have been as black as perdition; you may have rejected the Word over and over again; but will you worship this morning?

Doff your pride. Do not be damned for the sake of your dignity. Down with self before an exalted Christ. Give Him love's salute, and the Lord will say, "That man worships me."

Worship is the captive will,
Hidden deep in Him;
Nothing in our hearts but love:
These filled to the brim.
Hearts that bow before the Lord
Lost in loving gaze,
Viewing what a love He gave,
Filled with holy praise;
Looking at His lovely form
With an eye of faith,
Thinking nought of world and self,
Only what He saith;

Resting in the arms of Him
Who o'er all hath sway,
Willing He should take our wills,
Make them will His way.
Counting self as nothing worth,
Jesus Christ as all;
Losing our whole self in Him,
Caught in love's sweet thrall.
Worship lies in bended wills
Rather than bent knees.
The secret of a life of praise
Is Jesus Christ to please.

Spirit of God, give the spirit of worship to every one of us, for Thy name's sake. Amen.


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