Bible Ballistics: Worship or Worldliness Pt. 3 May 4,2014
Continuing our look at Worship/Worldliness, let’s delve into the scripture and evaluate our perceptions of ‘worship’. What is worship? Most of our churches now have “worship leaders”, instead of ‘music directors’. Is music worship? We can worship through music, but in and of itself music isn’t necessarily ‘worship’. The dictionary says worship is “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity”. If we revere and adore God, would it not follow that we would desire to obey Him. Does His word give us any indication of what is acceptable worship? Real worship is seen in a life lived in obedience to God, and submission to His Holy Spirit—in or out of church.
We’ve written in our earlier articles, that God calls us to be holy, and that God’s judgment will begin with the ‘house of God’ (1 Peter4:17). God will judge us according to His ‘Word’ (Hebrews 4:12-13). He called those who went their own way rebellious, even their leaders. In Ezekiel 22 He also calls us to differentiate between the ‘holy’ and the ‘profane’ ( Profane: to treat something sacred with irreverence or disrespect.) Have we allowed and brought so much of the world into our churches that we no longer recognize that we may be profaning the very God that we claim to serve? Have we abandoned the ‘holiness’ of our God to once again cleave to the things of the world that we were saved out of? And not only cleave to them but actually bring them into His church. Let’s see what Jesus had to say in John 2:13-14,
“And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. 17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”
Jesus made a whip and ran the sellers and moneychangers out? He makes it clear in verse 16, that we are not to make God’s house a place of ‘merchandise’ (a mart or emporium). Matthew gives us more insight when he records the second time that Jesus ran people out of His Temple, (and it was His because He is God)!!
Matthew 21:12-13, “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
Jesus reminds us that His house should be a ‘house of prayer’. Simply put, a place where we commune with God and He with us. Are we betraying the ‘house of prayer’, and seeking to create an amusement park? Are we going our own way and profaning God or seeking His heart and mind in all things?
Have we so focused on making the house of God ‘comfortable’, that it’s foreign and profane to God? Have we been so eager to transform the church into a palatable dish for the world that we have lost the power of God? Do we depend on the latest programs, books or plans to reach people, rather than depending on the ‘preaching’ of the Gospel, and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit? Are we turning our churches into a ‘den of thieves’ ? Is God honored or profaned in our lives and gatherings? Do people know that we are following Jesus, or have we become so much like the world that there is nothing distinctly ‘Christ-like” in us, or in the church?
Are we honoring the one who purchased us with His own blood? Are we living as those who are forgiven, cleansed and called to walk in God’s way? Or do we go the way of the world? Hard questions that we must answer.
Hebrews 9:13-14, “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Saved to serve!!
Hebrews 10:4 & 12,”For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins….But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; “
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
We are blood bought, and become the Temple of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and we are held accountable. Are we defiling the Temple—our physical body and the corporate body, the church?
We are representatives of God to the world. What kind of representative are we? Are we calling the world to holiness or yielding our ‘holiness’ to be appealing to the world? We must remember that the truth of the gospel is not always, in fact seldom is, appealing to the lost. Conviction is most uncomfortable, but it is the only thing that leads to salvation. Is our corporate worship reverent and godly, or is it fleshly and worldly? Does it call people to know God better, or lull them to rest in their own self-righteousness? Are we patterning our lives and worship to follow God’s Word or popular trends? Are we offering sinners new and eternal life or just temporary relief?
Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Luke 18:13, “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
The word for ‘merciful’ here is the same word that is elsewhere translated propitiation (payment in full for sin). A repentant sinner bowing before the Holy God and asking for payment for His sin. That should be our goal, to lead sinners to bow at the cross seeking His forgiveness and salvation through the blood of Jesus.
Isaiah 29:13-15, “ Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. 15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?” (Jesus referred to this in Matthew 15:8-9)
Our salvation makes us the temple, the dwelling place of the Spirit of God. Is HE at home in me? In my church? Is HE pleased with my choices or ashamed? What does God say about us? Are we drawing near to God in reality or pretense? You must decide!!! Does God have my heart and my life, or do I just talk about it? Only you and God know the answer to that question.