Worship for the Believer
Jesus answered the argument of liturgical worship locations
John 4:19–24 (KJV 1900)
19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 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.
The Old Testament worship system required a liturgical worship location. In order to establish the examples which would explain the death of the Christ, such a worship system was required, even a mobile worship place such as the Tabernacle. God gave the Tabernacle while the Israelites sought the Promised Land and the permanent Temple when they were established in the land.
Because there is a strong attachment to a place of liturgical worship, estrangement as a result of dissension will always require a new place of worship to be established.
The Hebrews were guilty of syncretistic or artificially mixed religious practices. The temples built by Jeroboam, son of Nebat, the first king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) after its break from the Jerusalem-centered Kingdom of Judah, were probably dedicated to such worship. When these temples were established in Bethel and Dan, Jeroboam the King “made two golden calves, and he said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt’ ” (1 Kings 12:28) This mixing of the gold calf—a symbol of Baal—with the worship of the God who delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian bondage was false worship. (Cresson, C. B. (2003). False Worship. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler, Ed.) (555–556). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.).
1 Kings 12:27–30 (KJV 1900)
27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
Jesus acknowledges the weakness of liturgical locations for worship. Man’s inconsistency will creep into the true worship and create alternatives which make alternative liturgical location worship, leading to false worship. He also gave reference to the eventual destruction potential for the true worship site of a liturgical based system. He refers to this destruction in Matthew 24.
Matthew 24:1–2 (KJV 1900)
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
What does this mean to the New Testament church? Buildings and locations are not as important as the place which God chooses to place his name..
Deuteronomy 26:1–2 (KJV 1900)
And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; 2 That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there.
Our bodies are the place God chooses to place his name in the New Testament. Our worship should begin in the Temple of God, our body.
1 Corinthians 6:18–19 (KJV 1900)
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
We are to worship in the temple which God ordained to replace the Old Testament chosen places, the temple of our body. We are to utilize our mind, emotions, heart, and physical being to always remain in the state of worship. We are to love the Lord our God in this physical temple which replaces the Old Testament temple and tabernacle..
Matthew 22:37 (KJV 1900)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.