Luke 13:27 And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
Matthew 7:23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
In a recent bout with COVID-19, I had a lot of time to just read, pray, and think. One thought I pondered was, “Who is this God we say we serve?” While recovering, I watched many church services live on Facebook, and the majority called the singing portion of their service worship. I will not deny that music can help people tune in to thinking about God, but the music alone is not worship. It is a practice we call worship, but real worship is something quite different. Do I have your attention?
Worship is a heart expression to God based on your surrender to Him, and in that surrender, you tell Him constantly that you love Him. You don’t wait until the worship band strikes up the first chord to go into a worship stance of arms uplifted and feet a-dancing. Worship means you arise in the morning (no worship band) and tell God you adore Him, and all day long you thank Him for helping you get through the day. You tell Him you need Him, and without Him, there is no help. At night, before you retire, you tell Him what the Psalmist said:
Psalm 25 4Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. 5Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
This is one of my favorite worship Verses because you are asking God to place you in a position to allow Him to make you know Him, to learn His ways, and be led in truth. These Verses are descriptive of a life whose desire is to follow God. Your obedience to Him is worship, which is most honoring to Him. It is not about songs that we sing that define worship … it is about the surrender of our lives. That is the real definition of worship and it is a daily desire and practice for those who are committed to Him.
I had to get that off my chest because I realized that I have not worshipped God by telling Him as often as I should how much He means to me. God loves to hear it, and I am sure it is pleasing to Him.
Coming back to the question, “Who is this God we serve?” I have stated this before, but a few years ago I discovered that much of what I learned about God was not in keeping with the Scriptures. It was denominationally fed and educationally supported, but much of it was not Scripturally based.
I have written about this before, but it fits here, perfectly. The modern church has made it an art form to teach about grace, the promises of our God, and the goodness of our God. That is appropriate, but it is not complete. You cannot have promises without the warnings, in fact, there are more warnings in the Bible than there are promises. Why? Because God knows how easy it is for us to wander, being content in the promises, yet we forget that His warnings are like guardrails to keep us from entering a dangerous patch on our journey with Him.
Let me illustrate by the seven churches in the Book of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3. Jesus was telling these churches both their positives and their negatives, and their negatives needed repentance. You cannot sustain the positives if you are falling prey to idolatry, immorality, and demonic oppression. (I am using a select group from those Chapters.)
The Church of Ephesus: Idolatry … they left their first love. Successful ministry, but the idolatry of ministry replaced Jesus, which is common among thriving ministries.
The Church of Pergamum: Compromise because of the teaching of Balaam, which is the symbol of compromise. Compromise is the number one reason people lose their relationship with God.
The Church of Thyatira: Notice their works of love, faith, service, and patient endurance were not enough to overcome their tolerance of false teaching. The teaching that you can be immoral, yet those acts do not affect your inner man that is connected to God. This is a great example of false teaching and is damnable by the Scriptures.
The Church of Sardis: Their works were praised by men, but works do not save a person from immorality and idol worship. Deeds that are intermingled with immorality and the soil and stain of compromise, once again, will bring the judgment of God.
The Church of Laodicea: Apathy and the indifference toward the message of the Gospel. How many churches today are just going through the motions of religious observance? That does not please God, and He rejects this kind of church.
Remember most of these seven churches had positive attributes to them as churches, but course correction was necessary for them to be right with God. The positives did not override the course corrections of immorality, idolatry, and false teaching.
Church does not make you holy … it makes you informed. And if you are not being informed on what the God of the Bible expects from His followers, I suggest you need another church.
I do not mince my words on issues such as today’s topic. Following ideas about God that are not right will only deceive you … not save you. Many people are following a God that doesn’t exist in the Scriptures. That is why I used the churches in the Book of Revelation as my example of how easy it is to be deceived. Yes, these were real churches, but they are also symbolling of what the Church will experience throughout the ages, including today’s modern church.
What I’m asking you to do is examine yourself as the Apostle Paul suggests, and see if you are following the faith as the Scriptures teach:
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
If Jesus is among you, there will be a challenge to worship as I described, and the challenge to change according to the mandate of Scripture.
Yes, this is not an easy word, but we don’t live in an easy world, and as darkness surrounds us we need to be a brighter light … that only happens when we know the God of the Bible.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler