Evidently Psalm 15 was an “entrance” psalm. People who wanted to worship God in the temple didn’t just barge in there. They were to meet the following requirements first:
- Be blameless. Doesn’t mean “sinless.” The requirement for worship was receiving Jesus’ righteousness by faith. The Old Testament people looked forward to the Messiah with the same faith we who live after the cross have. Faith in the saving work of God’s Son makes us blameless before our Holy God.
- Practice righteousness. Our walk throughout the week must be an expression of our salvation. The psalmist will give us practical ways to practice righteousness in later verses.
- Stand for Truth. Jesus IS the Truth. God is the only God and His Words as found in the Bible are True. Period. If we want to worship Him we must worship Him in spirit and Truth.
The psalmist goes on with some specific actions that need to be true of we who worship God according to His Word:
Verse 3 – don’t gossip. Don’t maliciously talk behind someone’s back.
Next is – don’t harm friends. Sometimes we can be cruelest to those closest to us. God wants his worshipers to express patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness…
Be considerate of your neighbor. Yes, that means the person living in the house next to yours. But Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan when asked, “who is my neighbor.”
Verse 4 – We who want to worship God must hate what he hates. And he hates those who reject Him. That’s a hard pill to swallow, especially when we know God is love. But how did Jesus tell us to treat our enemies? Pray for them. Do good to them. And the best good you can do for anyone is introduce them to their Savior.
The psalmist tells us that another requirement of acceptable worship of God is to honor our brothers and sisters. We need to consider our fellow believers more important than ourselves, serve them instead of expecting to be served, mourn with them and rejoice with them, encourage them in their walk with the Lord.
We must keep God’s Word NO MATTER THE COST. That means protecting the Truth by listening to preaching and teaching with discernment, and speaking out against false teaching. It means speaking up when people twist Scripture. And it means obeying what God inspired men to write, even if it’s not politically correct, or pleasant to hear, or easy to do.
Verse 5 – Treat others the way you want to be treated. God’s people need to be the most fair, the most trustworthy, having the most integrity of anyone, but especially to those who are weak and innocent. We represent God Himself to a world that is looking for reasons to reject Him. May they never find those reasons in your life or mine.
The worship of God is a serious thing. If we read the Old Testament we see examples of what happens when people try to take short-cuts to worship. Unauthorized fire, carrying the ark on a new cart, gold calves at the foot of the mountain where God was meeting with Moses, and other examples that all ended in death.
God does not accept all worship, no matter how sincere that worship might be. God might not accept your worship if you don’t meet His requirements.
Please do not invite your unsaved friends into God’s house for a worship service. That is not the place for them to be saved. It’s the place where the saved worship God according to His rules.
Your unsaved friend should be meeting their Savior in your living room or their’s, on a park bench, or over coffee at the local coffee shop where you share the Gospel with them.
Then, when they have received what Jesus died to give them, invite them to worship with you and other believers in sprit and Truth.
And may I suggest that this Sunday when you walk into the sanctuary, instead of chatting with someone about last night’s ballgame, or your problems with your rose bushes, or that new recipe you found, prepare your heart. Find your seat and bow your head, quiet your mind, take inventory to see if you are ready to worship God according to His rules. Are there things you need to confess? Confess them. Center yourself on the One whom you are there to worship.
If we took the “entrance” test this Sunday, would be pass? May we offer God only acceptable worship.