Every Lord’s Day, people across our nation and throughout the world gather for the purpose of worshiping God.
The fact they gather in places which are designated for worship and the fact they gather together at a specific time which has been set apart for the activity of worship, does not necessarily mean that they actually worship God.
Christ qualified true worship when He said, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Worship is an activity which is both external as well as internal.
The words of Christ emphasize the vital importance of the internal aspect.
When we speak of internal worship, we are speaking primarily of the condition and the activity of the inner man or what we might call the heart.
It is possible to go through the motions of worship without engaging the heart.
Such worship is not acceptable to God.
This can be illustrated by showing the importance of obedience being from the heart.
No doubt all parents have experienced what it is to have a child who outwardly complies with instruction, but does so with an obvious rebellious attitude.
Even though there was outward compliance, yet because of a wrong heart attitude, in essence there was disobedience rather than true obedience.
In reality a wrong heart attitude rendered invalid what otherwise would have been an act of true obedience.
So it is with worship, a wrong heart attitude renders invalid what otherwise would be an act of true worship.
Let us take the matter of singing hymns as a part of worship.
Does the inner man have anything to do with this aspect of worship?
The Apostle Paul gives these words of instruction, "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord."
Note the words, "singing and making melody with your heart."
Of what value is the singing of hymns, if we do not love God with all or heart?
Of what value is it to sing praises to God, if all the while we are maintaining an ongoing controversy with God?
The condition of the heart has everything to do with whether or not we worship God when we sing hymns in the worship service.
If the condition of the heart is so vitally important to the matter of true worship, then it is obvious that heart preparation prior to the worship service is not optional.
Whether or not true worship will take place has a lot to do with what takes place before a person enters the church.
The opening of a hymn book and the singing of hymns, the hearing of others pray and preach will not constitute true worship unless it proceeds from a heart that has been duly prepared. In part, this is what Christ meant when He said, "God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."