The prophet Amos in a message to the kingdom of Israel said, “Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression.” (Amos 4:4). Of course, he was speaking tongue-in-cheek. Neither Bethel nor Gilgal were the proper places of worship. God had designated Jerusalem. Amos also said, “Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven.” Again, God had forbidden the use of leaven in the sacrifices. Amos then makes his point, “For this liketh you, O ye children of Israel.” (Amos 4:5). In other words, they were worshiping in the place and manner that they liked rather than as God had directed.
People are still doing it today. They are ignoring God’s instructions and worshiping the way they like. Worship in many places has become a form of entertainment. People are looking for what makes them feel good rather than for what God has said. And there are churches that cater to their desires.
Acceptable worship, however, always must be “in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). “In spirit” means it must come from the inside – the heart. Just going through the right forms is not enough. We must have our minds and hearts on the meaning of what we are doing. “In truth” means according to God’s direction in His word – “Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17). We all should search the scriptures to see if everything we do in worship is exactly as God has directed.