Priscilla Van Sutphin
The kingdom of God is WITHIN us, Jesus said. (Luke 17:21) It is NOT something to look forward to. It is within us when we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation and His subsequent impartations. The Lord wants us to live the kingdom and be the kingdom, not just to espouse it's existance. The Lord wants us to BE worship, not just to offer praise.
Our lives should be a demonstration of a sweet fragrance and aroma to the Lord of Love. We are not to worship a style of music, or ways of dance expression, or prayer, just as we should not worship leaders, styles of delivery of the message or teachers or prophets. Our whole lives should reflect doing all things as unto the Lord in expression of love to Him without trying to build our own kingdom; without trying to draw love to ourselves instead of to God!!! We should not worship the printed word or doctrine, but rather worship the Living Word and Author of Life. We love the Word, because it is His words. His lifestyle should be our doctrine.
Do we have the courage to do that? Sheldon, in his book, "In His Steps" put the challenge to us. In the movie "Braveheart", at one point, Wallace confronts idolatry to self and as he gazes into Robert Bruce, after Bruce says "We must have nobles!". And he says "Men aren't going to follow titles ! They'll follow true courage !" I believe that was a message to the church today. As a matter of fact , SOME movies have spoken more than the church has to the world. Where are the "dread champions" who will follow after Jesus, rather than the watered down gospel that is coming from our pulpits? I believe God has a hidden army, in training, that is about to explode into the streets, with the true message of salvation as SURRENDER to Christ; not the "new cross" message as A.W.Tozer put it, but the old cross which meant death to self; death to the old man.
The new message of the cross has been preached to our children and teens to the point where they will reject all religion as they've seen it. And we are seeing it in their secular lyrics and behavior. They will not follow titles, but when they hear and see TRUTH in true worshippers of Jesus, they will recognize it's abrupt departure from the "gospel of indulgence". A short time ago, I'm familiar with a youth group who took their teens from an affluent area to a retreat at a Lake Tahoe ski resort to teach them about "giving to others"! So they take teens who have everything handed to them "on a silver platter" so to speak to a place of luxurious indulgence and fun to teach them how to be self-denying ! And on top of that, they tell a single mom who couldn't afford the trip for her son, that they want him to go, so she can arrange to make 'payments' after they return! Does anyone see the blindness in this ? In the middle ages they went to the opposite end of the spectrum with self-flagellation, and we have gone the other extreme in America with speaking what ought to be done , but not doing it.
We just continue in our selfish desires in the face of desperation and pain of others! The church is truly flagrantly apathetic to the needs of the poor, the afflicted, the crippled [emotionally, mentally, or physically]. Yet God in Matthew 25:41-46 SHOUTS to us.. "Then He will say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and You did not visit me.' " Then they will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to You?' "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me'. Prov.14:31) And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Some of us make overtures to doing God's work by handing out food to 'certain' of the poor and needy, judging and criticizing as we go; and putting so many restrictions on who we should give to; judging appearances and motivations and efforts, when Christ did none of this. He gave freely to all who would receive, and He did not appoint us as judges but rather asked us to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd before doing anything. If we are doing what He is doing, then we'll be waiting, praying, listening and obeying what the Father wants. Then when it comes time to do, it will bring a sweet smell to the Lord instead of a 'stench' in His nostrils of dead works, or misrepresentation. He will be with us in the doing. Moses, who is called the most 'humble' man by God in the bible was not willing to go ahead without the Lord. Jesus Who is our supreme example of humility also did nothing except what He saw the Father doing. He got alone with the Father, and from that intimacy drew strength and power to do whatever was to be done. Isaiah 58 in my New King James version is entitled "Blessings of True Worship"...
Isaiah 58:1-14 NIV
"Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.
'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' "Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness  will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. "
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken.
So the nature of worshipping in Spirit and in Truth is to live
what we preach; to do things His way.
To love Him is to obey Him.