After He had sent the disciples of John the Baptist back to him to report what they had heard and seen Him do (Matthew 11:1-6), the Lord Jesus Christ turned to the multitudes present and asked a question that would launch His only recorded eulogy in the New Testament. He asked them once, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see?” Then, he asked twice for a total of three times, “But what did you go out to see,” (Matthew 11:7-9, NKJV)? The first two times the Lord asks the question, He purposely provides an inaccurate description of what John was all about. However, the third time He provides the accurate divine answer--the only one that ever finally matters!
So, now, in providing this opening of His eulogy for John the Baptist as a template in answer to my prayer for how to salute and bid farewell to my retiring Portland, OR friend and mentor, Dr. James Martin, Pastor of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church for over thirty-two years, I now ask the church he served, the many who visited, heard him on the radio or saw him on television during his tenure: what did you go out to see? Certainly one will say this and another that, but I will tell you three important things I saw from a biblical worldview and intermingled with my personal experience with him for the last twenty-two years to the glory of God. I saw a Pastor/Teacher, Administrator and Visionary!
Dr. Martin is a God gifted and called Pastor/Teacher and Administrator (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-30; Ephesians 4:11-16). I sought him out within the first six months of arriving in Portland to serve as a pastor in 1997 after hearing him on the radio. I had been sent from Fort Worth, Texas with the sound counsel to seek out seasoned pastors with whom I could continue my personal growth and development as well as be benefitted as a pastor in being mentored by such experienced men. Like so many others in all of the Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area, I was blessed to my soul to hear Doc (my nickname for him) teach God’s Word with His power, clarity, directness and some humor.
As I have often reminded him over the years, God sent him here at the right time and for the right reason as a faithful teacher of His Word since this highly unchurched part of our nation was (and is) so needy spiritually. The proof is how Mt. Olivet grew from about 300 when Doc arrived in 1987 to the nearly 2,000 attending by the time I came to town. Doc made room in his very busy schedule to meet with and welcome me over lunch after I called his office to request an appointment. That first lunch led to us meeting monthly when he was in town over the next twenty years. It turns out, he had been seeking opportunities to help other willing pastors and I knew God was at work.
Besides being a caring shepherd with an emphasis on teaching God’s flock, Doc’s gift of administration was abundantly evident too. I watched him adapt and expand the church’s organizational units to accommodate its growing services, ministries and activities especially when it became “one church in two locations.” During this busy time of expansion, Doc also kept a place in his schedule for me and a couple of other pastors on occasion that met with us--most deeply missed now is the positive interactions he and I shared with Pastor Terry Treadwell who departed to the Lord. Doc also led Mt. Olivet to help our church with building repairs, finances, worship and pulpit supply.
Finally, as a God enabled Visionary, Doc led Mt. Olivet from their original typical church building to purchase an old store and wrestling arena in North Portland to transform into a functional worship, educational and fellowship campus; a suburban storefront into a combination worship center with education, office and recreation space as a second campus. While doing those things, he led the church to plant other churches and send out missionaries to fulfill his commitment to the Lord’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). To this end as well, with his leading the church supported this Ministry in conducting the Strong Man Of God Rally in Oregon and Washington men’s prisons and was the first church in 2011 to host a signing for my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.1
Though our relationship started professionally, Doc and I became friends in the process. We held each other accountable in our personal walk, family life, ministries and doctrine with only a few disagreements. His enduring legacy with me is having helped me to be a better husband and father which I acknowledge in my book. My wife, Mary, and I also enjoyed the fellowship we had with Doc and his wife, Lynetta, out to lunch or dinner in their home (we had some great Thanksgivings at the Martin’s). What did you go out to see? To the glory of God, I with heavy heart, love and gratitude salute and bid farewell to a gifted Pastor/Teacher, Administrator, Visionary, brother, mentor and dear friend in Christ; wishing him all of the best going into his retirement from Mt. Olivet.
1 Get a print copy or digital download of the book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can
also get a print copy of the book in the Strong Man Store.
The Lord has led me to re-post a 2012 blog today as a wrap up word of instruction to follow up the four types of arguments against His program for man presented in this month’s 2011 Commentary Series. This instruction speaks plainly of what the heart and stance of the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ should be as it concerns correctly interpreting, applying and standing on the already written Word of God. As with everything God wants us to be and do, our Lord Jesus Christ set the example! Indeed, right from the beginning of His ministry when He was tested in the wilderness He provided the needed example and set the standard for us.
In replying to the temptation of Satan to use His own power to satisfy His hunger in acting independent of the Father, our great Champion and Hero, Jesus Christ quoted from and stood on Deuteronomy 8:3: ‘“It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,”’” (Matthew 4:1-4, NKJV). Please note our Lord did not preface His statement with “I think, I feel or I believe.” Some smart aleck will immediately declare, “Well, we are not Jesus.” This is true. However, He purposely conducted Himself as our example to follow in the humility of a disciple and power of the Holy Spirit (John 13:12-17; 1 Peter 2:21). It is to the extent that we foolishly do not do this today that professing Western Christianity and so many of our churches are in a mess!
Our mess is made worse by those who arrogantly insist on reading into Scripture what they want as purposeful revisionists to justify their evil theologies and deeds. Such persons will not escape destruction for this (2 Peter 2:1-3, 3:14-16). Truly, our omniscient and infinitely wise God has given us the special revelation of His Word to look to and live (John 6:63)! Jesus, the living Word and Son of God constantly directed His friends and foes alike back to the already written Word of God. In all of His teaching He quoted it directly, illuminated it or illustrated and applied its truths by use of parable for example. We are to do no less; answering all of life’s issues with what God’s Word says!
Originally Posted April 29, 2012
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV). I have lost count of the number of times I have had to direct professing Christians back to what the Word of God actually says to correct bad thinking and doctrine. While it is tempting for all of us to believe at any given moment that we have such intelligence, knowledge and wisdom to think and utter profound things, when it comes to the things of God, none of us are that brilliant. The only safe place to be as it concerns the things of God is in His Word as a devoted, eternal learner re-saying only what He has already said!
How many doctrinal squabbles, compromised churches, sects, denominations and even cults calling themselves Christian would go away if “I think, I feel, I believe” were not allowed as a preface when speaking of the things of God, but only, “This is what the Word of God says”? Indeed, the “profane and idle babblings” that made their way into the 1st century churches and which the apostle Paul gives his godly counsel about how to combat in 2 Timothy 2:15 quoted above are legion today. And why? Because we have fewer students of God’s Word seeking to be approved of by Him in understanding it and instead have those who use the Word corruptly to hold up their own (and other men’s) fleshy thinking that ruins rather than builds up the hearers (2 Timothy 2:14, 16-18).
In my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, we teach men that a very important component of aspiring to be one is studying, internalizing and living out God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit! We are to be diligent--exerting persevering, painstaking effort--in studying and seeking God to know and understand His Word. When we are convinced by God that we have His Word right, then we proceed to teach others in humility what He has said from what is already written. When I have spiritual questions, I want to know first, what does the Word say, not what Dr. whoever said? If I am taught and approved of by God in His Word, then I will never be ashamed from getting it wrong and worse, ruining souls for which I will have to give an account (James 3:1).
Do you feel inadequate to “rightly divide the word of truth?” Excellent! You are just the person God is seeking to teach His Word (Proverbs 1:1-7; John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-14). The first step in approaching Bible study for any purpose is the humility to seek God in prayer for a proper understanding. After all, the Bible is God’s Word. Who best to interpret it to and help you understand it than God (Luke 24:45; 2 Peter 1:20-21)? Additionally, there are some fairly common principles of Bible interpretation such as paying attention to the context of verses you are studying you can learn from books on the subject. This and other principles demand your diligence to apply as God requires so that combined with His help, your study is fruitful and your biblically drawn doctrine meets His approval.1
1 As the Lord led many years ago as a pastor, I outlined seven commonly taught principles of Bible interpretation in a one page document from the excellent non-sectarian
book, Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul. Although I would have you get the book, I have provided my Bible Interpretation Document as a free download in our Strong
Man Store as a help to any reader interested in doing Bible interpretation as it is commonly taught in biblically grounded seminaries. There is a right way to interpret and
apply Scripture. Go to https://www.thestrongmanofgod.org/Strong-Man-Store to get your free Bible Interpretation Document download.
The demand for slavery reparations resurfaced with a vengeance this past Juneteenth as yet again members of the black community led by well spoken award winning author and journalist, Ta-Nehisi Coates, attempted to make the case for them during a United States Congressional House Subcommittee hearing. Equally well spoken against reparations was young black American, Coleman Hughes, a college student and columnist with an online magazine who among other reasons objected to reparations being given on the grounds that the person receiving them is instantly made a victim.1
While I appreciate the “why” of Coates’ argument for reparations, Hughes’ victimization concern against them strikes close to the heart of my objection rooted in a biblical worldview and expressed in this edited 2003 Commentary. Let me be very clear: to oppose reparations for slavery is not in any way to indicate that in any cases of economic exploitation of or land theft from black Americans afterwards there should not be a swift and just remedy. However, as I have written in other posts2 and now again in this Commentary, slavery was of God and to demand reparations of anyone from it is to demand them from Him (Lamentations 3:27-28)!
Are we really that far gone from a proper fear of the Lord? Consequently, any reparation recipients as victims have their reward from men now, but eternally miss out on God’s as blasphemers (Jeremiah 17:9-10; Matthew 7:21-23, 16:24-27; Romans 1:18-2:11; Hebrews 10:26-31)!
Originally Published July 2003
There are a growing number of African Americans across the nation calling for the American government and corporations to pay reparations to blacks for the experience of slavery. The word reparation is defined as “An act or the process of repairing or making amends” according to Webster’s Dictionary. It also is “Something done or paid as amends; compensation.” Interestingly, Webster’s defines reparations as “Compensation required from a defeated nation for damage inflicted during a war.”
As I understand the rationale behind the demand for reparations, blacks are owed compensation from the government and selected corporations because they benefited from the free labor of our slave forefathers. The compensation would be calculated based on the wages slaves would have earned in one scheme I recall hearing about. Whatever the scheme, the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ knows demanding reparations for the black experience of slavery in America is a wicked and sinful affront to the God of our salvation.3 Indeed, for it was He who allowed our enslavement and also set us free!
When are we going to stop acting out of this satanically inspired attitude of victimization over our experience in America? This attitude is exactly where the demand for reparations comes from. However, according to the Judge of all creation, neither our ancestors nor we now are innocent victims in His sight! He says, “‘There is none righteous, no, not one.’” And again, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:10, 23, NKJV). Therefore, where is the innocence of any human being, tribe, race or nation on the planet?
We who love to so eloquently explain the equality of the races; in our present cry for reparations are we saying that we are more worthy than all other people in the history of the world because our experience was so unjust and undeserved in our eyes? History reveals many other peoples have suffered the humiliation of slavery. No doubt all would have loved to receive reparations for their bitter service. However, most were grateful just to have their freedom when it came. What makes us, the sons of Cush, so special then? In the sight of God, nothing!
Truly, He planned our remedial judgment long ago and revealed it through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 18). As it was in ancient times, so it is today; we are a people of great pride or is it not pride to demand reparations from the Most High God, the One ultimately responsible for our enslavement (Psalm 107:10-12; Lamentations 3:37-39)? Besides punishing the many wicked deeds of our ancestors, the Lord sought through slavery (and continues seeking in our trials) to humble our great pride as Isaiah’s prophecy shows. It also powerfully pictures that the Lord’s mercy in our sufferings will accomplish His primary end: the salvation of willing souls!
The present cry for reparations blatantly ignores the fact that the Lord impressed on this nation the need to help our slave forefathers set free amidst the Civil War. During the period immediately after the war called Reconstruction, educational institutions (of which many of our historically black universities such as Howard in Washington D.C.) were founded, money and assistance given to help the newly freed slaves begin their ascent to citizenship.4
Did everyone get 40 acres and a mule as promised? No. Were there setbacks due to racism and the violent intimidation of whites? Yes. But while we suffered these things and the grand insult of Jim Crow segregation, did not our people, a little here and a little there, by and by begin to prosper as the Lord in His infinite mercy and grace gave us favor? Yes! And at the turn of the 20th century we were doing so well as we moved from the agricultural South to the industrial North, we started to turn away from the heartfelt faith in the Lord many of our Christian slave forefathers had; rejecting their “Pie in the sky.”
Jeremiah the prophet spells out in clear terms the curse of desolation that follows the man (or people) who trusts in flesh and departs from the Lord; the blessing and enduring prosperity of the man (or people) who trust in Him (Jeremiah 17:5-8)! In light of the many and continuing problems of our community, we don’t need reparations or much more help than we already have. We need to turn back to the Lord in complete repentance which includes forsaking the remake of biblical Christianity into “our own” religion by so many churches!5
The Lord says, ‘“Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins shall die,’” (Ezekiel 18:4, NKJV). Therefore, unless the guilty repent, they shall all die (Luke 13:1-9). We who are enduring the current judgment of God upon our people in rebellion and apostasy through faith in Christ, should consider ourselves blessed to have our lives just as Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian in his day (Jeremiah 39:15-18). Let’s not join in the prideful insult to His mercy by demanding reparations from God or anybody else as victims for what was of His permitted will. Instead, let the faithful--every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ be victors over the world through faith in Him to the glory of God (1 John 5:4-5)!
1 Read the CBS News article.
2 The two-part, Message From A Redeemed Black Man posted beginning on June 2, 2019 under the categories, Biblical Worldview and Black History, launched a series
of posts through this month of June that serve as the most recent addressing divine involvement in Black History. Otherwise, our entire From Slavery To Victory Educa-
tion Project is devoted to this cause as seen throughout its Web Site.
3 To learn what a strong man and great woman of God in the image of Jesus Christ are, get a print copy or digital download of my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To
Basics, at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy of the book in the
Strong Man Store.
4 While the poor in the community still need help from everybody to “rise,” what is needed most of all from the descendants of our former masters that are guilty is the re-
moving of all of the artificially imposed barriers and obstacles of racism as I wrote in the February 19, 2017 post, Who Is Weeping For My People, under the category,
5 Read the two-part post beginning February 8, 2015, Strong Through God, Not Religion, under the category, Black History.
Consistent with His Word, the Lord would know who authorized corrupt and abominable worship in His house including the leadership of sexually perverted men and out of order women? It certainly was not Him! But it has been men seduced by the coaxing and teaching of lying spirits as well as the self seeking and exaltation, arrogance, wickedness and selfish ambition for worldly success borne of the sinful flesh that have lied on God concerning His will while usurping His authority in defiant disobedience; unrepentant men God rejects who have fed off of and copied each other’s errors (Jeremiah 23:30-32; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; James 3:13-18; 2 Peter 2:1-3, 12-22; Jude 3-19).
No one can claim ignorance of what God wants in worship since what He has required for His worship is plainly and thoroughly presented in the Bible. Rebel hearts, of course, disdain the word, “required” because they wrongly believe they have freedom under grace to do as they please; the corrupt shepherds among them even acting as lords over God’s house in place of Jesus who is Lord! Also, the experience of ancient Israel is again our example in all things not to do in displeasing God when Christians assemble to worship. Both the Lord’s instruction from His Word on worship and the outcome of Israel’s failure to heed it are summarized in this second part of my 2013 blog post.
Originally Posted September 15, 2013
True Christian worship does not spring from external stimulus such as singing and music, but internally from connection to and relationship with God through the Spirit! Out of love for Him arises in the inmost being the desire to glorify God the Father in admiring praise and worship for who He uniquely is as do the hosts of Heaven (Psalm 100; Revelation 4); to thank Him for all of His benefits not the least of which is His seemly inexhaustible riches of grace and mercy as did the saints of old (Psalm 103).
Spontaneous worship of God wells up in the spirits of the faithful as do geysers from the earth leading to vocal expression as demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 10:21-24). And when the saints assemble together as drunk men, yet, not drunk on wine but filled by the presence of the Holy Spirit, we express the joy of our hearts “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody” in our hearts together to the Lord not as a performance, but loving devotion (Ephesians 5:18-20, NKJV). From such hearts flows the sold out dedication of our lives to God in obedience with immediate confession and repentance when we sin.
If our bodies and lives thereby are to be offered as of first importance as a continual “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” as our rational service of worship (Romans 12:1, NKJV), then it stands to common sense reason that willful disobedience of any kind in sin including ignoring how God has expressed He is to be worshipped pollutes such worship and in accord with the written Word, rather than pleasing, offends Him leading to His rejection of it!
Notice that for similar reasons the Lord Jesus--who should be considered by all as the highest authority on worship that pleases God--tells the woman at the well Samaritan worship was not accepted by God: ‘“You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews,”’ (John 4:22, NKJV). The net result historically and for us today is that untold numbers of individual professing Christians privately and their churches assembled for it at whatever time, offer worship to God without His attending presence or acceptance because of willful disobedience manifested in many ways.
It does not matter what style or how excellent, energetic, emotional or sincere the singing and music or animated the worship leader in fleshy performance, worship polluted by sin is rejected by God. Quick, outward and falsely humble prayers of confession and repentance preceding what is to be served up as worship does not change the result either since God sees into the heart (Psalm 139:1-4; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Luke 16:14-15). The Lord already knows what sins we are clinging to including unforgiveness and bitterness toward along with even ongoing persecution and mistreatment of our brethren as if He is not serious about His command that we love and forgive each other (Matthew 5:21-24, 6:12, 14-15; John 15:12; 1 John 4:20-21).
Then there are the seminary trained pastors who were rightly taught that worship songs should support the preached word, but who take it upon themselves in the flesh to see to it; tightly controlling the song style and selection without any real consultation with the God to be worshipped for His guidance or reliance upon Him. Not only does God reject the outcome, but those that are His genuine worshippers in spirit and truth--aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ--recognize the divine offense and lack of attendance as well as consequential spiritual deadness in these so-called “worship services.”
While the Lord was unflinching in declaring to the Samaritan woman that the worship of the Jews as prescribed in the Law at Jerusalem’s temple was more to God’s approval than what the Samaritans were doing, nevertheless, His declaration of something “coming” that transcended what had been historically done by the Jews suggested it was superior and ultimately what God wanted--what is supposedly now to be seen in Christians!
Israel had co-opted what God had given them as His worship program and made it a thing of cold, dead, empty ritual and manmade religion in spite of the constant rebuke of her prophets. The Lord quoted Isaiah from seven hundred years earlier in a rebuke of Israel’s religious establishment that should painfully resonate within professing Christianity at this hour: ‘“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men,’” (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8-9, NKJV). Connection to Him in obedience was more important to God than the sacrifices and rituals of worship as the Lord Jesus Christ--our example in all things--showed (1 Samuel 15:22; Psalm 40:6-8, 51:16-17; Proverbs 21:3, 27; Micah 6:6-8; Hebrews 10:5-7).
God’s primary concern was always with Israel’s collective heart and conduct. But the people in willful disobedience turned away from authentic worship of God to practice their own corrupt, outward form of religion. Through the prophet Isaiah God had protested their duplicity by declaring His displeasure with their phony worship and demanded to know who had required them to “trample My courts,” (Isaiah 1:10-12, NKJV)? Rather than reverence, the sacred ground of the temple was treated by the people with a disregard similar to untrained animals in a clean space that do not distinguish between the holy and the profane for they practiced all manner of perversions then assembled for worship.
Thoroughly disgusted with this endless desecration of His house and disrespect of His Person, God had had enough and told Israel ‘“Bring no more futile sacrifices…I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them,’” (Isaiah 1:13-14, NKJV). Then God says He will not hear their prayers nor accept their worship because of their disobedience (Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 6:20). Without repentance (which God invited), He would and did judge Israel for their sins including corrupt worship in 586BC and again in 70AD (Isaiah 1:16-20; Jeremiah 7:1-27; Matthew 23:37-24:2).
Permeating the churches in these latter days is the false teaching born of feminism’s demand for worldly defined equality that God has changed His mind about the responsibility He has assigned men to lead in their homes and in His house. Contrary to this falsehood, leading precedes only teaching, providing1 and protecting as responsibilities the immutable God has assigned men in His image and likeness. That churches supposedly of Jesus Christ would follow the world in rebellion against God in anything is unconscionable! Yet, among other things, it is happening with gender roles and responsibilities! As I have written in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics2 and many prior posts,3 Christian men are being marginalized as a negative consequence.
Besides taking authority over men from the pulpit, in administration and instruction, women are leading worship in God’s house despite the extremely plain “whole counsel of God” showing this to be sin (Acts 20:26-27; 1 Corinthians 14:33-37, NKJV).4 It is not as if there are no men to lead worship in the full assembly of God’s house (and even if there were not, obedience dictates that it would fall to the male pastor or worship does not proceed), capable men are purposely ignored! Even churches that claim they faithfully honor God’s Word are compromised on this as though their hypocrisy is masked or isn’t doctrine and practice supposed to agree (Matthew 15:1-9)? Woe to the guilty as the Lord leads me to warn in this edited 2012 Commentary as a first of those that followed!5
Originally Published July 2012
Worship of God in motivation and form on earth is supposed to mirror that which takes place in Heaven. In these last days, however, many professed Christians and church leaders have given themselves permission in their assemblies to offer God whatever forms of worship moves them. While for some in ignorance this flesh driven effort at religious devotion is well intended, if God the object is not pleased with it, then it is worthless. So, it goes in many American churches today that what passes for worship of God, is really a matter of what pleases human desires and is rejected by Him. His heretofore, forbearance to judge is also sinfully misconstrued as acceptance (Psalm 50:16-23).
According to Webster’s Dictionary, to worship anyone or anything (deity or a religious object) is to give reverence (a feeling of awe toward and profound respect). Such worship also includes the prescribed form it is to be expressed and is typically accompanied by intense devotion, esteem, love and admiration for the person or thing worshipped. When God gave man the ability in the divine image and likeness to love, exclusive worship of and foremost love for his Creator was intended to flow from his heart and be demonstrated by the action of obedience (Genesis 1:26a; Deuteronomy 4:15-19, 5:7-10; 6:4-5; John 14:15)! God also taught man how to approach Him after falling into sin (Genesis 3:21, 4:4, 8:20-22; Exodus 29:38-46).
In God's covenant relationship with Israel, only the men of the tribe of Levi would serve as priests and attendants leading the worship in the place of assembly (Numbers 3:1-13). God put to death Aaron's two sons as priests that did not worship Him as He prescribed (Leviticus 10:1-3). Later, He killed a non-Levite man who though well intended, touched the ark of God in the midst of king David's sponsored celebration of its return to Israel (1 Chronicles 13). Next time, David got it right (1 Chronicles 15:1-15). After this, the Lord revealed to David that his son would build a Temple (house) for Him (Deuteronomy 12:1-14; 1 Chronicles 17:1-15, 28:1-21; 2 Chronicles 6:12-7:3).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God and David came in the 1st century AD and emphasized the worship of God in His prescribed way. As it concerned the Temple, He rebuked the religious establishment for their failure to treat God as holy (Jeremiah 7:1-11; Luke 19:45-46). He also revealed what would become the worship reality in the New Covenant inaugurated in the aftermath of His death, burial and resurrection (John 4:19-22). He taught the woman at the well, “true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him," (John 4:23, NKJV). The Lord further explains this is absolutely necessary because "God is Spirit" (John 4:24, NKJV).
To worship God in spirit is to do so out of the deepest aspect of our inner existence given to us by Him: spirit to Spirit (Genesis 2:7; Zechariah 12:1). Worshipping God in truth has to do with inner authenticity and conformity with His Word (John 17:17). Spiritually dead in our sins, this is all impossible to us as sinners since God does not accept polluted worship (Isaiah 1:10-17, 59:1-2; Malachi 1:6-14; Acts 5:1-11). But the Lord Jesus by His sacrifice has made it possible for our sins to be forgiven and washed through His blood so that in the Spirit and faith we are able to draw near to worship God the Father as He prescribes (Ephesians 2:11-18; Philippians 3:3; Hebrews 8-10:22).
The Lord Jesus shows us by His own life what Spirit energized worship looks like in Luke 10:21. Out of His spirit spontaneously burst forth thanks to the Father. There was no choir, praise team or building; just the Son worshipping the Father in the temple of His body (John 2:19-22)! Even so, when we that are true worshippers as Christians assemble together there is worship of God in word and song as seen in the example of Israel and 1st century AD Christians (2 Chronicles 5:2-6:2; Acts 2:44-47, 16:25-26). There is also to be order, for individually and corporately we are God's house and worship Him as He prescribes (1 Corinthians 11:2-14:40; Ephesians 2:19-22, 5:17-21; 1 Peter 2:1-10).6
The worship of God is not about us; it is about Him! It does not matter whether we enjoy it or not--though in the Spirit we will. What matters is did we please God by worshipping Him as He prescribes? Therefore, let every guilty pastor repent from flesh contrived services called "worship" that feature entertainment to please people and the performing of hymns and songs led by known willful sinners. Let the Holy Spirit lead! Too, let professed Christian women that will be true worshippers of God in spirit and truth repent and voluntarily relinquish authority as a worship or any leader over men in His house (1 Timothy 2:11-14). Near is His judgment (Numbers 16:1-40)!7 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 See the July 14, 2019 post, A Man’s Responsibility To Provide, under the categories, Biblical Worldview and God’s Creatures.
2 Get a print copy or digital download of the book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can
also get a print copy of the book on sale in the Strong Man Store.
3 A sampling of posts to read would include the July 13, 2014 post, House Of Confusion, July 20, 2014, Confused Men, Compromised Sons, October 12, 2014, Whose
House? and the two-part, Feminism’s Entry Into The Churches, posted May 27 and June 3, 2018 all under the category, Call To Repent.
4 It is a full on lie to attempt to disarm the perpetual standing of the apostle Paul’s teaching in this passage by claiming it was only for this one church and of his histori-
cal-cultural thinking of the time since in vs. 33, he asserts the truth stated is “as in all the churches of the saints” and declares what he has written “are the command-
ments of the Lord” in vs. 37, (NKJV). Therefore, I’ll say it yet again: God’s assignment of men to lead does not end at the church house steps! They are all willful re-
bels who defy and disobey the clear apostolic instruction on women in God’s house and should repent.
5 Read the January 2015 three-part 2013 repost, Worshipping God Without God and the epilogue, Final Considerations On Worshipping God, all under the category,
Call To Repent.
6 Read the July 27, 2014 post, God Of Order, under the category, Instruction.
7 Those in the churches with spiritual eyes to see, see God’s judgment in His house is in progress as warned. Guilty men considering themselves fair-minded and pro-
gresssive have much to fear as a result since rather than the good of liberating women from God’s unfair and unequal restrictions by championing their rebellion, you
are instead putting yourself and them in harm’s way of His judgment (Mark 9:42-48; Hebrews 10:26-31)!
On Mother’s Day, May 8, 2011, I wrote the untitled paragraph immediately below as my second blog post ever as an author followed by the more lengthy, re-titled and edited offering readers have become accustomed to one year later as noted. What a difference one year made in my experience of Mother’s Day because of the ongoing rebellion against God’s order and morality being worked out in the laws and social policies of our nation! For this cause, no one should expect God’s judgment upon the land to diminish ahead even with a temporary repentance (Nehemiah 9:1-37), but severely intensify regardless of who the President is (Jeremiah 30:23-24; Nahum 1:1-10; Romans 1:28-32).
God made man male and female--Gen. 1:27-28. The days set aside on the calendar to honor our parents are good. In so doing, we are reminded of God’s purposeful acts to create and set in place the means by which the human race would perpetuate itself. As I discuss in The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, by His intentional physical design man is male or female in this present age. On Mother’s Day, we celebrate females whom God designed to conceive, carry, birth, nurse, and nurture our children. My own mother departed to be with the Lord just after Mother’s Day last year. I remain grateful to her and salute all of the women including my wife, Mary that embrace their calling to be mothers as God designed.
Originally Posted May 13, 2012
Today, I remember my mother, salute again my wife and divinely designed motherhood with a profound sense of appreciation tied to the incredible role God has uniquely given you for bringing human life into existence. Adam so valued the unique role his wife would play in God’s purpose of marriage and procreation (Genesis 2:18-24) that he gave her a name related to it: “Eve” which means “life” or “living,” (Genesis 3:20, NKJV). A man as God designed him cannot conceive nor can a woman do so by herself. Human procreation is the cooperative effort between the seeds of men and women along with God who gives each human conceived a spirit (Psalm 139:13-14; Zechariah 12:1).
Apart from this cooperative effort with mothers in the middle, new human life would not come into being. Out of the joy of such clarity comes now, a deep sadness. As a professed Christian this past week, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, gave a public endorsement to same sex marriage and the resulting unnaturally assembled families as a matter of living out Christian morality. Specifically, he referenced the instruction of the Lord Jesus found in Matthew 7:12 (also Luke 6:31) and made it a moral underpinning for permitting same sex marriage so as to treat all people equal and fair.
With all due respect to his office (I address this matter upon his public profession of being a Christian), Mr. Obama in his reference to the Bible gives a classic example of corrupting God’s Word to support one’s own ideas. Did not the Lord just lead me to write two weeks ago (April 29, 2012) that seeking Him in humble prayer and paying attention to context are among the important steps to take in gaining a right understanding of His Word?1 Also, a common truth every faithful Christian knows is that God or the Son of God never, ever ratifies sin. Since He is immutable, God does not evolve in His thinking either. In love, though, He sent Christ to die for and save us from our sins!
Our President said he observed his staff engaged in and talked with his wife and daughters about same sex families and felt that they should have the same acceptance as any other family. Absent from his consultation list (publically anyway) is a talk with the immutable God who consistently from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments calls same sex relations sin, wicked, abominable, vile and sexually immoral (Genesis 18:16-21, 19:1-25; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:18-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 21:7-8). In my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, we teach men their first loyalty in all things is to God.2 A talk with the holy God to understand His Word will never yield His endorsement of what He has already called sin!
In attempting to interpret and apply Matthew 7:12 to morally support treating people equal and fair, one must do so within the larger context of Jesus’ sermon beginning at Matthew 5:1 and the immediate context of the verse which starts at Matthew 7:1. In the larger context our Lord is teaching about Kingdom attitudes and conduct. In the immediate context He warns against the practice of condemning others in their faults because to whatever extent we dish it out, it is coming back to us. He also teaches that before we spend time judging others, we must begin with ourselves (vs.1-5). The Lord next presents instances of exercising proper judgment about things holy and God (vs.6-11).
The Lord’s instruction about doing to others as you would have them do to you in verse 12 comes at this point. In saying “this is the Law and the Prophets” (NKJV), the Lord equates His Kingdom teaching with the moral instruction of these Old Testament books and particularly their summation in loving your neighbor as yourself! In no way are we to interpret our Lord as teaching in our quest to treat people equal and fair as we also want to be treated that we are to accept what they do in sinning against God. Matthew 7:13-23 (which is still part of the larger context of Matthew 7:12) makes it absolutely clear Jesus was not teaching this.
What God calls sin, we call sin and there is nothing in this about being equal or fair except to the extent we apply the same standard (God’s Word and what He calls sin) to ourselves as we do others. Therefore, heaviness of heart has overtaken me as our President is the highest profile professing Christian in the world who along with a growing number of others is corrupting God’s Word to support their own ideas. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I call Mr. Obama and all such persons to repentance knowing Christ will have the last word (Matthew 7:24-29).
1 Read the May 31, 2015 blog, What Does God’s Word Say? under the category, Instruction, then take full advantage of the offer for a free Bible Interpretation Document
Download. God will hold every single one of us accountable for how we handle His Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3); a reality every prospective Bible interpreter should
2 The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics is available through all major internet booksellers and the Strong Man Store where the E-Book Edition in two formats is currently
on sale through June 20th.
Of the greatest privileges redeemed sinners have been granted through faith in Christ is to draw near to worship the Holy God! Yet, in the spiritual confusion to include open idolatry and cultural conditioning that has characterized much of outwardly professing Christianity since the second century and now reaches its zenith during these latter days, ostensible worship of God has been very corrupt. Most visible today is the defiant break made with the divine order plainly taught in the Scriptures in order to allow women to lead the worship of God when the entire church is assembled out of the world’s notion of equality among other carnal and evil motives.
The leading of worship by women has occurred in spite of the fact that God in His prophetic Word has made it clear that the divine order continues under Christ at His coming and millennial reign; men will be the exclusive worship leaders in Jerusalem’s temple (Isaiah 9:6-7; Ezekiel 40:46, 43:1-12, 44:10-31). The immutable God has not changed the order of His house during this present, mortal age, nor will He ever! Surely then, what has been done to allow all manner of unacceptable worship in the churches is sin in the sight of and rejected by God. Ever consistent in His actions toward men, God in His longsuffering love warns and calls the guilty to repentance through this three part blog series and follow up epilogue the Holy Spirit led me to post in 2013.
Originally Posted September 8, 2013
A young preacher asked me in the past year, “whose side are you on?” referring to my taking exception to the conduct of church leaders as a group that stood over and against the people who should expect that they would do right as a matter of godly leadership. I have run into this carnal game of picking sides (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 3:1-4) and the resulting negative attitudes displayed when I have chosen the wrong side in someone’s eyes my entire journey as a Christian. It is shown by silent contempt, hostile acts of ostracism and verbal put downs expressed most often on the sly from the pulpit and a few times, to my face.
For the record, I have always sought to stand on the side of God’s Word in everything for this is righteous and pleasing to Him. That anyone claiming to know the Lord should be offended by that is reliable evidence of their disconnect from Him and very often also the flesh sustained practice of religion. Preachers as a clique versus the people for example, should never be nor should there be divisions in the Body of Christ over worship styles if we really understood what God in His Word teaches worship is all about.
On this day in thousands of churches around the globe (and the relative few in purposeful legalism that met yesterday) professing Christians assembled ostensibly to worship the triune God. In many languages, types of cultural expression and styles of music songs were sung to God for divine enjoyment and acceptance. However, the question of the hour is did the triune God enjoy and accept that worship or was there offense and rejection?
Many professing Christians and their leaders believe that God does enjoy and accept all worship sincerely offered like parents who receive the performance of songs, art, dance etc. from their little children which they would dare not disparage in fear of wounding their precious self-esteem. This is, in fact, what seems to be behind why a number of pastors in this last century have willfully disobeyed God’s Word on the roles of women in the worship assembly because all of the associated activity is considered performance. In their thinking, it is unfair not to allow the daughters of God to have a equal opportunity with His sons to perform in the activities of worship so He can delight in it all as a human parent.
God in His Word makes it clear that He does not see, think or do as sinful, fallen men (Isaiah 55:8-9). God is set apart from and other than man His creature (Exodus 3:13-14, 19:10-25; Isaiah 40:12-26, 43:10-13, 44:6, 46:5). While it is absolutely true that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), due to sin, that image has been marred and we corrupted to the very core of our being. We do not naturally think God’s thoughts, possess His attitudes or walk in His ways. Therefore, God, the living God rejects the premise that worship of Him out of sinful, fallen human flesh as it pleases us also pleases Him lest our self-esteem be hurt. It is not about us but Him!
Indeed, God is a God of order. When He says that He wants to be worshipped in a certain way that is what He means. You do not come up with your own worship and expect that just because it was sincere or from your fallen heart that He ought to just enjoy and accept it. A case in point is the “profane fire” the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu of the first priests of Israel offered to the Lord which He had not commanded. Holy, destroying fire immediately went from the Lord to completely consume them on the spot (Leviticus 10:1-2, NKJV)!
When Moses comforted his brother, Aaron, in the instant death of his sons, he spoke a word of transcendent, eternal truth to him and all that would purpose to worship God. ‘“This is what the Lord spoke saying: By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified,”’ (Leviticus 10:3, NKJV). So much for anyone offering up any old kind of worship they please to please Him in Israel and in this epoch of the Church!
Though we are not required to worship God in the specific rituals of Israel, Christians are nevertheless, to worship in the way God the Father has ordained in Christ; always treating Him as holy and respecting His Person. Our Lord Jesus taught that the worshippers the Father seeks are those that draw near to do so “in spirit and truth” because “God is Spirit,” (John 4:21-24, NKJV). This by no means is a liberal minded Jesus giving permission to bring whatever you want as worship and it will be accepted because what was offered was spirited (emotion charged) or sincere.
Spirit has to do with direct fellowship with God--our spirit in oneness with Him who is Spirit (John 17:20-23). Truth has to do with honesty about our inner condition (Isaiah 6:1-7). We are able to enter into God’s presence, into the Holy of Holies at all only through the shed blood and veil of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-22). This was something Israel’s high priest was able to do only once a year on the Day of Atonement when he entered the Holy of Holies with the blood of an animal to provide a covering atonement for the people’s sins committed the previous year.
But in God’s New Covenant, 1 we remain in His presence offering up the continual worship of faithful and obedient lives (Romans 12:1-2) made possible by Christ’s once and for all atonement through His blood which daily and as often as we have need, we may draw upon in confession and repentance for sin removal by forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:5-2:2). Therefore, are we really authentically connected to God and drawing near truthfully to offer acceptable worship when at the same time we are acting in willful disobedience to any part of His Word especially things in the worship He has forbidden such as women as leaders?
1 See the January 2014 blog posts, God’s New Covenant and Party Of The Second Part, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 for instruction on New Covenant.
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