True WorshipBro. David Chancellor
10/16/2005 11:00 AM
Sometimes God shows us what we need to be, and sometimes he’ll show us that we aren’t what we need to be.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
In Jesus’ discussion with the Samaritan woman, they came to the topic of worship. She asked Jesus a question about worship. Jesus’ answer was, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” We want to make sure that we’re worshipping the right thing. The Samaritans came into the land when the Israelites had done wrong. They ended up worshipping a mixture of ideas. The Jews focused on God, but all of their worship pointed to and signified Christ. Today we don’t go looking for what the Jews have. What they had pointed forward, but now they worship “they know not what.” Our worship today has to do with what our spirit is and the word of God. Jesus told this woman she didn’t have to continue her method of worship, but to come to God through him. If we would have true worship, we need to worship God through Christ.
Revelation 13:1-4, 11-12, 16-18
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred threescore and six.
The significant point we want to consider is what was being worshipped. They were worshipping the dragon and the beast. They weren’t worshipping God. Another beast came up that caused worship, but not worship of God. Mankind is prone to worship something; most often they are distracted from worshipping God to worshipping other things.
The beasts are those that are opposed to God and the people of God - more specifically, paganism, Catholicism and Protestantism. All of these worship something, but not God. This portion of scripture captures many people’s attention. The number 666 isn’t as significant as the fact that all of these turn people aside from worshipping God to worshipping man. There are examples of this down through time. Some worship the pope (ex: to receive audience with the pope, you have to kiss his ring). Some people worship other men. Luther came teaching, “…the just shall live by his faith…” Many Catholics don’t live out what they claim to believe. Allowance is made for people to disobey. Luther was fighting against that practice. Luther preached to live and worship God. Some follow Luther, some follow the Wesleys. The Wesleys preached against the sale of relics. Methodists today want to go and collect the Wesleys relics. If your only interest in collecting old religious books is to have a shelf full of old books, you’ve missed the point. The old brothers of the church of God had good thoughts, but our focus needs to be on God. The battle down through the ages is whether people will serve God or man. There are leaders and teachers that can be of benefit to us, but we should worship God, not them.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding up the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
Paul didn’t want them to be turned from worshipping God to worshipping man. Our worship isn’t to focus on angels. Angels are made for a purpose, but that purpose wasn’t for our worship. We don’t want to be found following anything other than the Head - Christ. “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, … after the commandments and doctrines of men?” We need to do things because they are right, not because the pastor says to. Your pastor does not determine your standing with God. Man worship begins when people turn from following God to obeying the commandments of men. You don’t follow God by doing things just because the pastor says to do them. You follow God by doing things because they are right. God does have a government for his church, but it isn’t blindly following the man. It sounds good because it makes things look good, but it doesn’t solve the problem in the heart. God’s people are submissive and obedient, but they also keep their eyes on God. Rules and regulations won’t prevent the desires of the heart, even if they restrict them. The spirit within the saint won’t desire things that aren’t godly. If there is a spirit within that still wants to do what isn’t good, but conforms to the rules, the problem hasn’t been solved. It is a subtle shift from following God to following the commandments and doctrines of men. We can appreciate and respect people, but we get into trouble when we put their words above the word of God.
And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
John had seen many things. He was no doubt impressed and amazed by all he had seen. He fell down to worship the one who revealed it to him. We can’t afford to do this. Just because a dear old brother preached it doesn’t mean that we should hold his word as gospel. We need to read and study what is brought forth against the word of God. The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. Sometimes man’s ideas get in where they shouldn’t. We need to find out for ourselves. Study the application of the word. Keep you eyes on God and read to find what he has to say.
John’s actions show that sometimes when people get the message, they don’t really get the message. The message pointed out that we should worship and follow the Lamb, but here was John about to worship the messenger. The messenger pointed him back to God.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of this judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
The everlasting gospel will keep your eyes on God. It is very important to follow God. Turning from God is disastrous; it brings torment and allows no rest. It is important to follow God because it determines our eternal destiny and the rest of our souls. Keep your eyes on God and follow him.