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Posts Tagged ‘worship’


– God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth. – John 4:24

There has been a TV ad running here in Gainesville for about six or seven months now, promoting various aspects of an area Christian school.  Near the end of it, an voice from off-screen says, “I believe God has a spiritual home for everybody.”  Yes, it’s true He does. However, this house is a habitation in our heart.

Our soul is where all true worship of our Father starts, and then finishes upon our final breath.  Not within the confines of any physical building or dwelling man designates as a “house of worship” – or a “house of faith.”  It does not mean people cannot go to these places, but they’re not where worship is centered.  

Why?  Well, God says the following words to us in the book of Acts: “However, the most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.  Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool.  What house will you build for Me?  Or, what is the place of My rest?  Has My hand not made all of these things (Acts 7:48-50)?”

In a similar vein, when the apostle Paul was in Berea, he penned these words about Him: “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth – doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands.  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as if He needed anything (Acts 17:24-25).”

This is why true worship can only be within us.  It begins, continues, and finishes with our last day on earth.  It is why we must be “born again” of the Spirit at some point before we die (John 3:5).  This is the only church plant mattering to Him – for a seed of salvation is sown in the heart when it takes place.

It begins growing, and starts producing spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).  An inner church is birthed, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone.  In whom all the building is fitly framed together – so it grows into a holy temple of God in our soul (Ephesians 2:20-22).

All other forms of external worship are wrong and fraudulent.  They create a feigned, often forced faith, complete with fake smiles.  It can fool many for a long time, but not God (Hebrews 4:12-13).  Being born again is the only way we can be guided into all truth without being lied to (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).

Otherwise, we can be deceived by a lot of likeable lies disguised as His truth.  We can then be dangerously misled.  With Satan having his own seat in Sunday pews (Revelation 2:13) spewing forth such falsehoods (John 8:44).  Or, preaching these fallacies and errors standing in the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12, James 1:16).

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.  By the sleight of man, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. – Ephesians 4:14

– Do not be carried about with many and strange doctrines.  For it is good that the heart be established with grace. – Hebrews 13:9

Did you ever stand along the shore and watch a boat on the water sail by?  Was it tilting and listing?  Was it zigzagging or wavering to the left and right?  If the water was a little bit wild or choppy, did it look like the vessel was getting tossed all over the place, and could no longer move straight ahead in the storm?

I would hope not, for it would not be long before something bad happened.  The boat could sink, or veer drastically off course, and dangerously towards ragged rocks along the shore.  If the ship had been built properly, it should keep moving straight ahead no matter what weather or wave conditions existed.

The purpose of building any boat is not just so it can float, but is able to sail from a port of departure to a destination point.  This applies to physical ships and spiritual ones (e.g. fellowship, worship, discipleship). However, all of these boats require a pilot, ballast, a steering mechanism, and a navigational system.

Otherwise, they’ll be adrift, with no way of getting to where they are supposed to.  They will just meander along in whatever direction gentler waves move, or get tossed all over the water when any storms strike. Physical vessels can shipwreck, and so can spiritual ones sailing to salvation’s shore (1 Timothy 1:19).

To prevent such a disaster, one must first be born again (John 3:5).  This is when we are returned to the Shepherd of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  We are given an anchor of hope in Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  From there, faith and belief must maintain an unwavering, eternal focus (Matthew 6:19-20, Colossians 3:2).

Faith and belief in God and Jesus with any selfish or worldly focus will waver; and sometimes wildly.  This type of attention to truth indicates spiritual infancy, immaturity, ignorance, or any mixture of them.  Faith and belief slowly drift, or fluctuate rapidly depending on whether life is going how you want it to or not.

Spirits soar when it is, and Christians tend to say or think, “I am so blessed” when problems do not exist. Spirits dip when it is not – and Christians tend to say or think, “Why is God messing with me?  I don’t get this” – when problems persist.  This is how confusion God never authors is birthed (1 Corinthians 14:33).

This isn’t the way to walk confidently, patiently, and steadfastly on heaven’s narrow path.  It’s not how to be made partakers of Christ at the end after enduring all God commands to be saved (Hebrews 10:35-36, Hebrews 3:14, Matthew 7:14, Mark 13:13, Hebrews 12:20).  Spiritual shakiness isn’t the way to do this.

All unbalanced walks with God are dangerous (e.g. Proverbs 5:6, lead verse, 2 Peter 3:17, Hebrews 10:23).  Spiritual instability means one has a double mind (James 1:6-8).  Restless or confused thoughts, actions, or behavior exist and persist as one drifts between Word and world (1 Corinthians 10:21).

Christians can’t waver “from “doubt” to “certainty”, then back to “doubt” about anything.  If one part of the mind is sure about something in relation to a walk with God, and the other part isn’t – it gives place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27).  Satan is always waiting to lead unsteady believers away in err (2 Peter 3:17).

God will not tolerate divided attention or focus with Satan at any time.  Christians can’t serve two masters (Luke 16:13).  Loving God and loving worldly things are such polar opposites of each other, it’s impossible to follow both and be steady in spirit (1 John 2:15-16).  Trying to creates a deadly conflict of interest.

Christians attempting any split service between their Saviour and Satan will find firm faith and balanced belief, only when life in the world and Word suits them to a tee.  This is selfishness – a concentration on personal advantage, pleasure, or welfare.  Unless others contribute to this end, they are disregarded.

This is not having Christ’s mind (Philippians 2:3-5). Contrary to a dangerous belief created by truncating Romans 8:1, there is condemnation to Christians who walk after the flesh, because the Spirit cannot lead them at the same time.  The flesh is weak, but when people seek to satisfy its lusts, the Spirit is left out.

Selfish is an anagram of “is flesh.”  A selfish Christian cannot be an unprofitable servant of God (Luke 17:7-10), because they are spending time attempting to get profit they think is deserved from Him.  When this happens, they set a course for worldly wealth and gain again, and swerve from truth (1 Timothy 1:6).

Jesus said “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:34).”  If hearts stay set on fleeting things of the world that can’t be taken out (1 Timothy 6:7), it is not the truth, but sin.  This is how wavering walks start, it is why prayers go unanswered (James 4:3), and it’s where problems with God begin.

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– No lie is of the truth. – 1 John 2:21

– My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue – but in deed and truth. – 1 John 3:18

We can all publicly praise God – and pray to Him the same way.  We can make all the open proclamations of faith we care to (Romans 14:22).  We can all raise our hands sky-high to heaven and honor God in this manner.  We can all speak great swelling words of our worship of the Word – and of our Father in heaven. Others may long to have our same love of the Lord – based on what leaves our lips.

However, how can we say we love or honor God like this if we hate any brother, acting against them at any time, for any reason?  Even if we harbor such feelings in our hearts – is not hidden to the Lord (1 Samuel 16:7, Hebrews 4:12-13).  Whether openly or privately, we make God a liar – and His truth is not in us.  We are hypocrites like the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 6:5-7, Matthew 23:14).

For we are saying we love God whom we have not seen … but somehow cannot love a brother whom we have seen (1 John 4:20).  Our deeds and works are deceiving and wrong – for we are not receiving and loving another with the truthful type of love He commands (1 Peter 1:22).  It is contrary to sound doctrine, for we are not keeping this commandment (1 Timothy 1:10).  It is sin (1 John 1:10, 1 John 2:4).

We may have a pleasing voice, with persuasive lips as smooth as butter – and might sound like a person who can play a well-tuned and well-oiled instrument (Ezekiel 33:32, Psalm 55:21).  However, if we hate others for any reason as Christians – all we have become is nothing more than sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.  It all must be a very confused noise to unbelievers (Isaiah 9:5, 1 Corinthians 13:1).

It has to be an uncertain sound (1 Corinthians 14:8). They may hear about Christian love – but don’t see much of it.   This can make lost people unsure of what Christianity is supposed to be.  Because, even though we may we seem to be hearing all the words of Christ – we are not doing them (Luke 6:46).  They don’t see us loving and esteeming others in lowliness of mind like Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5).

We have been given the mind of Christ as true born-again believers of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-7, 1 Corinthians 2:16).  However, we are neither minding or learning Jesus very well – if we would just prefer a lot of people we may not like very well – would just leave us alone much of the time (Ephesians 4:20-32). Although this can be a lot easier than loving people as we are commanded – it is not the truth.

We may be preaching and teaching the truth, but we’re living a lie if we hate anyone as Christians.  It is not in accordance, agreement, or alignment with the Word (Proverbs 10:12).  We are still alienated from His light and love – when we are not supposed to be anymore (Ephesians 2:12-13).  We are blind guides talking about one thing – but living another (Romans 2:19-23, 1 Corinthians 9:14).

If we hate others regardless of reason – we have sinned against God and wronged our souls.  We hate Him – and love death (Proverbs 8:36).  God made us of one blood, to live among all the nations (Acts 17:26).  We all only have one Father.  We trample on His truth if we deal treacherously (a betrayal of trust) with His covenant of love with us from the start (Malachi 2:10, John 3:16, John 14:6, Titus 1:2)

The first commandment is we love Him with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.  The second commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).  So, if we say we know and love God, and do not keep His commandments because we hate someone  – we are liars without truth (1 John 2:4).  It’s not something I’d like to discuss with God on that day – would you (Romans 14:12)?

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. – Hebrews 3:14

– Since you know this beforehand, beware – lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked. – 2 Peter 3:17

A generation or so ago (and before), the term “going steady” was often used in reference to two people – often high-school teenagers – who were seeing each other exclusively.  It is a term seldom heard in this regard anymore.  When two people get together these days, everything seems to be centered around having a “relationship”.  It has become a major milestone and part of many people’s lives.

When any relationship reaches official status, it is often shared on social media sites.  It is somehow a sign of “arrival” in life.  Yet some people have such strong desires to enter these relationships, they board the boat without really knowing where they want to go.  Still, they set sail.  Then, as soon as their ship hits rough seas, how often do we hear, “I wish I knew where this relationship is heading?”

So, maybe we should go back to saying “going steady” – and not just for earthly reasons.  Why? Because this world’s current message about many matters seems to be mixing in more and more with the Word’s.  The word “relationship” doesn’t appear in Scripture.  But – much of the talk coming out of the church today seems to be about how one can establish or improve their relationship with Christ.

Still, if we board any ship – physical or spiritual – and we don’t know where we’re going from the start; we are in big trouble before ever leaving port.  Without any set, steady, and straight course to follow out on the water – we’re going to get carried wherever the wayward winds and waves take us (Ephesians 4:14). Depending on their strength, we might move a little or a lot – but one storm can sink us.

Without a destination, drifting begins.  This principle applies to all ships, even if they are figurative in nature.  In the world, we have relationships and partnerships.  In the Word, we have discipleship, fellowship, and worship.  When we drift in any ship, our compasses will steadily spin, for we have no true course to follow.  To and fro we go.  When waters are calm, everything may seem fine; until …

We are not to be carried about with many and strange doctrines (Hebrews 13:9).  However, we are very likely to keep changing our courses if our ships don’t have a set one to start with.  We are apt to go after a doctrine which sounds favorable to us one day – then a different one the next (2 Timothy 4:3-4). However, Seneca once said, “If a man doesn’t know to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”

Steadfast means having unwavering belief.  It is being devoted and true … faithful.  It is traveling along a straight course – smoothly sailing forward.  It is being even-keeled.  Steadily heading towards a predetermined destination, regardless of what life may be throwing at the boat.  On board any Christian ship – our final destination is salvation – but we’re still sailing out upon this world’s often rough waters.

If a storm hits, our spiritual ships keep moving ahead with steadfast faith, because we have God as a guide all the way to our destination of death – and our hopeful deliverance from it (Job 30:23, Psalm 48:14, 2 Corinthians 2:9-10, Hebrews 9:27).  But – Satan does not want anyone to get to salvation’s shore. The devil will try to devour anyone – even the most steadfast and faithful Christians (1 Peter 5:8-9).

As Moses led his people towards the Promised Land, many got tired of the trip.  Despite His protection and provision, their spirits were no longer steadfast with Him.  They no longer believed in God, or trusted His salvation (Psalm 78:8, 14-15, 23-29).  They flattered God with lying tongues – but their hearts were no longer right with Him; nor were they steadfast in His covenant (Psalm 78:36-37).

Salvation is a hope – a Promised Land no one has seen yet (Romans 8:24-25).  This hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of our souls – at all times (Hebrews 6:19).  We are to stay on an even-keel course, unaffected by all the mixed and misguided messages and lies of this world; always abounding in the work of the Lord.  Steadfast of our faith in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:58, Colossians 2:4-5).

This is all of grave concern to us if we ever believe we’re already saved before dying.  If we ever buy into this message, then why would we need God anymore as our guide all the way to death (Psalm 48:14)?  Why would we need Jesus Christ as the Shepherd and Bishop of our soul anymore (1 Peter 2:25)?  We’ve already told God we have dropped anchor and moored ourself on salvation’s shore.

What ship would we have to board again?  To where? What would we do with our time – in the meantime – while waiting for Christ to come back with salvation (Revelation 12:10)?  What would be the purpose for any further relationship with Jesus, if we’ve already been saved?  What steadfastness would we be in danger of falling from, if we have already reached our final destination (Matthew 24:13)?

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