Bible Ballistics: Worship Or Worldliness??? Vol. 7 #09
I’m going to do something today that I’ve seldom done, and that is to repost something that I have posted before. I found these articles while looking for some articles to send to a friend in response to a specific request. It was a short series that I will edit a bit and repost today because it is such an urgent subject and a continuing burden on my heart. I hope that you will be blessed and encouraged to seek God’s Word and God’s ways in all you do—whether in personal or corporate worship and service to our God. May we continue to live with a “Biblical Worldview” that honors our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!
I saw a passage on Facebook that reminded me of something that I’ve been pondering for some time.
Ezekiel 12:1-3, “The word of the Lord also came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house. 3 Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house.”
God told Ezekiel to live out a message to the rebellious captives in Babylon, ‘that those still in Jerusalem would be judged’. A people who were still living rebellious lives even while they were experiencing the judgment and discipline of God Himself. If we back up to the 8th chapter of Ezekiel, we see some of the reasons that judgment had come upon them. They had done and were doing abominable things in the very temple of God. Their idols decorated and adorned the temple, while their leaders practiced abominable idolatry within the temple; the women were honoring their female idols at the gates, even as the men bowed down to the luminaries of the heaven.
What does this have to do with us? What about our churches? To what ‘idols’ have we bowed down? What idols have we brought into “God’s House”? Do we depend on the empowering of the Holy Spirit, or idols of our own making? Where is the bold and Spirit filled preaching of the Word of God? Are we depending on the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, or the latest books, music and fads of the world? May we examine what we’re doing by God’s standard and fall before God in repentance and seek His face, His will and His word, and His ways!!! Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:17,
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
We need to examine
our church practices,
and follow God not man,
no matter what is popular?
As Hebrews 4:12-13 counsels us:
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
You decide—are you following God Word or men’s ideas?
Continuing in our examination of our attitude and actions toward worship, let’s search the scriptures for answers. Ezekiel has a somber message to us:
Ezekiel 22:25-27 says, “25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. 26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.” (Ring any bells?)
I’d like to share two other verses before we comment.
1 Peter 1:14-16, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
If I have been born again and belong to Jesus then:
I belong to Jesus and our Father God.
I’ve been bought with a price.
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit.
My life is to reflect Jesus and holiness.
My service should be in humility,
as a servant of God
not a spiritual ‘super star’.
I am to recognize and project the holy—
know that there is a difference–
between the holy and the profane.
I am to walk in ‘holiness’
not profaning God’s name,
or His word—
in my words or actions!
We are the temple of God and we are (and will be) held accountable for being a pure and holy temple; and corporate gatherings of God’s people should exalt the holy not the profane—God and Jesus, not self or worldliness.
Where are we walking today? Where are you walking today? Where are our churches going? Why? For what purpose? To what end? Jesus gives us the ultimate goal and call:
John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
Who are we lifting up? Christ Jesus or man? Jesus does the drawing, we are to preach and teach the truth and disciple those who will heed HIS call.
Continuing our look at Worship and 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, should it not follow that we would desire to love and 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.
“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 1:16-20 (Only the blood of Jesus washes us, see John 13:10)
We’ve written in other articles, that God calls us to be holy, and that God’s judgment will begin with the ‘house of God’ (1 Peter4:17), and God will judge us according to ‘His Word’ (Hebrews 4:12-13). God calls those who go 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 made 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 made the church a “den of thieves”? A place where people are welcome to reproach God on their own terms and we condone it; rather than a place where the Gospel calls people to “forsake” self and cling to Jesus?
Are 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? Have we turned our churches into that ‘den of thieves’? Is God honored or profaned in our lives and/or our gatherings? Do people recognize us as followers of Jesus, or have we become so much like the world that there is nothing distinctly ‘Christ-like” in us, or in our churches?
We should be honoring the one who purchased us with His own blood, but are we? Are we living as those who are forgiven, cleansed and called to walk God’s way? Or are we still going the way of the world but painting it up and calling it “church”? Hard questions, but we must answer them now!
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;” BUT THIS MAN–JESUS!!!
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.”
When we are blood bought, we 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 being? 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 self-esteem? Are we calling them to repentance and faith in Jesus, or simply giving them the “plop, plop, fizz, fizz” of some 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). Here we see a truly repentant sinner bowing before the Holy God and asking God to make 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) Ring any bells?
Genuine, new birth salvation makes us the temple of God, the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.
Is HE at home in me?
Is HE at home in my church?
Is HE pleased with my choices?
What would God say about me/you?
Are we drawing near to God in reality or pretense?
You must decide!!! Does God have your heart and your life, or are you just talking about it? Only you and God know the answer to that question. Only God and I know my answer to that same question.”
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” Isaiah 55:6