Claudio Hirle is a district pastor in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Jesus Christ foretold the great disappointment which many Christians will suffer in God's "judgment day/' when they realize that their religious belief and manner of adoration of an entire life has been totally empty. They will discover that their prophesies, exorcisms, miracles, singing and worship were not accepted by God (Matthew 7:22, 23; 15:19). What a disappointment!

Worship is the central theme in the great struggle, and deserves special attention in the last days, when the unsanctified is very close to the sacred. In the end, what constitutes an acceptable worship to Cod? What type of adoration is recognized by heaven?

The apostle Paul writing to young Timothy recommended: "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convict, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away form the truth, and be turned aside for fables" (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

This, undoubtedly, is one of the most solemn texts for these days. Today, as a matter of fact, many people are not supporting a true Bible doctrine. It is time to return to the Scripture. There is no other way in which we can be sure concerning the truthfulness of our worship, unless it is founded in the Scripture, since it testifies about the sound doctrine. It's the Scripture that normalizes worship. In today's world, there is a search for that which is sensitive, a demand for excitability. In worship and in churches there is no difference. People want excitement. But worship based on the Scripture is reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).

The importance of the Scripture in worship prepares the individual for true worship. It's the word of God that gives meaning to our moments of adoration and reveals our attitude and spirit as we praise the Lord.

The importance of the Word - Therefore, a great mistake is committed when a program is presented, or a meeting is held in church, without having the Bible occupy a prominent place. In church any program is of no consequence if the Word is not given preeminence.

Any meeting in church, be it of young people, or a musical program involving art or culture, if it doesn't include the Word it will produce any reaction, but a spirit of worship.

Though art can be impressed or become emotional, it's the Word that has the power to transform. The presentation may attract attention but the one who will convince is the Word presented in the power of the Spirit (Heb. 4:12). Ellen G. White expressed it this way: "One single sentence from the Scripture is of much more value than ten thousand ideas and human arguments." Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 110.

Therefore, the Bible must occupy a central position during worship. Otherwise the worshipers are deprived of the means to offer true worship and lose their contact with heaven. It can be said that worship without revelation or a religious meeting without the Bible is as an empty table, hungry congregation, a multitude without bread and a gathering without God.

The false and the true - When we search the Bible for true worship, we find the needed information to identify its nature. There are two biblical scenes in which true and false were identified. These serve as reference to analyze two kinds of worship.

The confrontation of true and false worship is old. It dates form the time of Adam's sons. Cain established his own model of worship (Gen. 4:3, 5). Abel, instead, followed the model established by God (Gen. 4: 4). Concerning Cain's worship, it was colorful, attractive, appealing, one worthy of excitement, but Abel's was simple, pure, and obedient.

Cain used a human model, based on human rationalization. Already true worship is legal and regulated, not by man's will, but by the "Thus says the Lord." It was on this basis that Abel's worship was established, and later authenticated by the Lord. "Fire descended form heaven and burned the sacrifice." - Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 71.

The story of Cain and Abel reveals that there is only one way to worship authorized by heaven: the pattern that God himself established in His Word. Another biblical episode very enlightening is the encounter between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. The contrast between attitudes assumed by each side is very clear. The prophets of Ball called on their gods as they "leaped, shouted and cut themselves." - Prophets and Kings, p. 149.

The difference between those two forms of worship was characterized by the noise and the exhibition. There was no answer, and there was no fire to consume the sacrifice.

The nature of Elijah's was different. The worship attitude was observed. He "prays a simple and fervent prayer." Idem, p. 52. The nature of his worship was different because the nature of his God is different. And what is the nature of Elijah's God? Ellen G. White comments on 1 King 19: 11, 12 sheds some light on this point: God wanted to teach Elijah that "It is not always what makes the loudest demonstrations the best chosen to carry on His plans." - Prophets and Kings, p.1 68.

Let us not deceive ourselves. God is not in the noisy "strong wind." God in not in the spectacular "earthquake." God is not in the leaping and hysterical shouting "fire." God is in the "tame and soft breeze" of the Holy Spirit.

Divine pattern - That's the nature of the God of the Bible: decency, order, and solemnity. The true worshiper behaves according to the nature of his God, following His example.

The nature of true worship is, therefore, what distinguishes the true from the false. As established, the Word plays a fundamental role. The Word is Jesus.

To do away with the Word is to do away with Jesus. Without Jesus there is nothing, except empty sensations.

When the controversy between the true and false worship intensifies let us return to the Bible. In it we find the type of worship recognized by heaven, which, according to Paul is rational, and centered in the Bible; according to Abel's model, it follows a divine and not a human pattern.

According to Elijah's example it is simple, fervent and solemn, considering that our God's nature is different from that of Baal.

It is not manifested in shows, contortions or noises. It appears in the soft and delicate voice of His Spirit.

Claudio Hirle is a district pastor in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.