We should pray that God will use any form of church service in which we happen to be participating to that end of directing our attention to Him. And as for evaluating services is concerned, we need to ask this: When we leave our services on Sunday morning and Sunday evening, do we come out saying “Oh, wasn’t that unusual what the pastor did?” or “I’ve never heard a dialogue sermon before,” or “Weren’t the visual aids interesting?” Rather, do we come out saying “I never knew that about God,” and fix our mind upon Him?
Finally, we need to notice that the true worship of God is a worship not only in spirit, but in truth. What does this mean? What does it mean to worship God in truth? First, it means that we must approach God truthfully. It at least means that we must approach God honestly or wholeheartedly. That is what Jesus was referring to in a negative way when He said of the people of His day, “This people draweth near unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain they do worship me” (Matt. 15:8, 9). According to Jesus, no worship is true worship unless there is an honesty of heart on the part of the worshiper. We must not pretend to worship, you see. We must worship honestly, knowing that our hearts are open books before God. Man looks on the outward appearance, after all, but the Scriptures tell us that God looks on the heart.
Second, we must worship on the basis of biblical revelation. This is also implied in the verse which begins “In vain they do worship me,” as Jesus then goes on to condemn those who have substituted the commandments of men for the doctrines of Scripture. “Thy word is truth,” says the Scripture (John 17:17). So if we are to worship “in truth” as God commanded us to do, our worship must be in accord with the principles and admonitions of this book.
When the Protestant Reformation first took place under Martin Luther in the early sixteenth century, and the doctrines and principles of the Word of God which had long covered over by the traditions and encrustations of medieval church ceremony again came into prominence, there was an immediate elevation of the Word of God in Protestant services. Calvin particularly carried this out with thoroughness, ordering that the altars (long the center of the Mass) be removed from the churches, and that a pulpit with a Bible upon it be placed in the center of the building. This was not to be at the side of the room, but in the very center where every line of the architecture would carry the gaze of the worshiper to the book which alone contains the way of salvation, and outlines the principles upon which the Church of the living God is to be governed.
Finally, to approach God “in truth” means that we must approach God Christocentrically, which means with Christ at the center. You see, if we’re to worship God in truth, then this is involved in the fact that Jesus is the truth. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” he said. “No man comes unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). This is difficult for many to accept, of course. But it’s precisely why God has taken such pains to teach that Jesus is the way of approach to Him.