“God is spirit and those worshipping Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
Faith is only true faith when it engages truth; if it rests upon falsehood it is more dangerous than no faith at all. After all, if you have no faith there is always the possibility that you will find it in due course; this, naturally enough, is the experience of everyone having faith. But if you have faith based upon falsehood, you are bound to something that can never lead to sanctification and salvation.
False faith is the condition of much of Christianity today, where faith rests upon the doctrines of men, which themselves are based upon religious traditions handed down from generation to generation.
Take the case of worship. What we call worship today is often nothing of the sort. How can we say that we worship God when we withhold from Him authority in our lives over every detail and particular? We cannot truly worship God if we are disobedient. Faithfulness, obedience and loyalty; all of these are like burnt offerings to God for they are manifestations of total surrender of our will to His, of the laying aside of the self-life in favour of the Christ-life. True worship has little to do with words; what most effectively and sincerely declares God worthy, is a life laid down so that His can be taken up. This is truly the offering that God seeks from His children, “an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18); the “sacrifice of righteousness” which is to “trust in the Lord” (Psalm 4:5).
“O come, let us worship and bow down” sings the Psalmist (Psalm 95:6). It is the bowing down that is missing in what passes for worship today; the saint who is worshipping has no consciousness of himself or those about him; his entire focus is upon God; worship cannot be “led” by men, as it is claimed by “worship leaders” today; true worship can only be led by the Holy Spirit! The reality is that to be “in Christ”, which is what all believers are called to, does not imply a theological union, as it is often taught these days; it must be a conscious union, a union that must be perpetually and consciously felt and experienced, not once but continually. That is what abiding in Christ means.