With the Lord, I find sadly humorous those professing Christian leaders that exalt and admire the Old Testament prophets for their at times very harsh rebuke of Israel in sin who then turn around and condemn the contemporary prophets in this New Testament era sent to them for so easily finding critical things to say about the churches in sin declaring, “God is about love.” Hypocrites! Most assuredly “God is love” (1 John 4:8, NKJV), but He is also holy, righteous and just and therefore, judges sin wherever it is found including among those who profess to know Him as His people (Hebrews 10:30-31).
It is because God loved Israel that He sent the prophets to warn them of His judgment for their sins if they might repent, but they did not (2 Chronicles 36:15-16). It is because God loves sinners that He sent Christ into the world to die for our sins so that those who believe might be removed from eternal condemnation on the condition of their continuing faith and mutual love motivated obedience (John 3:16-21, 5:24, 14:19-24; 1 John 3:4-9). Otherwise, there is no other remedy for practicing sinners whether they never place faith in Christ or “draw back” from it in disobedience (John 8:21-24; Hebrews 10:26-29, 35-39, NKJV). Even so, our gracious God is ready to forgive the repentant!
Not the proud man who stubbornly resists admitting he has been wrong, but it is the man who humbles himself in brokenness and repentance from his sins that enjoys God’s grace in forgiveness (Psalm 32:1-5, 51:16-17; Proverbs 3:34; Isaiah 57:15; James 4:4-10; 1 Peter 5:5-6). If you, Christian leader that is guilty, will not repent seeking to save face among other reasons in the flesh, be reminded that knowing the right thing to do, but refusing to do it is sin (James 4:17). Also, as you have no doubt proclaimed to others, pride and haughtiness precede destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Know too for a certainty that God has warned and called you to repentance through this His servant and yours in the 2013 blog series on worship and this edited epilogue He led me to post. As a result, I fulfill the ministry He in love for you called me to (Ezekiel 33:1-11; Romans 12:3-8; 2 Timothy 4:1-5)!
Originally Posted September 29, 2013
In wrapping up the series of blogs the Lord led me to write entitled, Worshipping God Without God beginning September 8, 2013 there were a number of things that were left unsaid that I now present in a series of short statements.
To the triune God, Maker of the heavens and the earth, my God, my hope, my joy and my life; to You be my heartfelt worship, praise and adoration for all of who You are and all of your goodness to me both now and forever--Amen! Father, there is no one greater! Lord Jesus, my Savior and Champion: how awesome You are and pleased I am to praise You forever as one eternally grateful for your work to save a wretch like me! Holy Spirit, my constant Companion and Helper: thank You for bringing the love of the triune God to me and making possible my expression of it back to You! O God, you deserve so much better than what You are being offered as worship from us on earth.
To my Jewish brothers in Christ for whom I rejoice and am well pleased to be among and share as a Gentile in God’s salvation through grace by faith effected as of a first priority for you (Romans 1:16): you are of God’s continuing elect of your people since the earliest Jewish disciples that have enjoyed the initial realization of His promises in Christ (Romans 11:1-15) who is the Son of God and David soon to return to sit on His throne at Jerusalem (Psalm 110:1-2; Matthew 22:41-46).
As He spoke to the woman at the well “salvation is of the Jews,” so is everything pertaining to it historically (John 4:22; Romans 9:1-5, NKJV) and in the prophetic future yet to be fulfilled through Christ that true worshippers among the Gentiles celebrate with you (Isaiah 49:22-23; Zechariah 8:20-23). To the extent this is not true among any Gentiles professing to be Christians, forgive their willful ignorance and very importantly, do not compromise what you know is right from God’s Word following after their corruptions especially in worship! Instead, you who have suffered double persecution, lead the way before us in what pleases God through your obedience as did your first century Jewish predecessors, the Lord’s apostles most prominent among them (Revelation 3:7-9).
To my white brothers especially of Conservative Evangelicalism who are guilty not as you judge, but God: loving me and all of your black brothers has not been given to you as an option by God. It is commanded! Therefore, all failure to love your brothers in the Body of Christ is willful disobedience. As a result, your covert racism toward black Americans (trotting all over the third world helping and taking pictures with Africans and other people of color does not remove your guilt) causes you not only to continue to offer up polluted worship to God that is rejected, but many professors of Christ among you have died and will die entering eternity without Him because of clinging to it (Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 3:10-15).
Also, the love Christ commands is not to be just words spoken insincerely in theory, but backed up by deeds (1 John 3:16-24). Repent now so God may send Holy Ghost revival that will supply His love to the many cold, dead hearts unable to love your brothers of color as equals and on an equal basis as you love yourselves. Nevertheless, many that read this will perish refusing to obey the call to repentance because it is coming from a black man. Surely, God is wise in all of His ways (Proverbs 27:12)!
To my black brothers in all of the major denominations caught up in Christianity the religion of men passed down to you by your former masters who are guilty: you pride yourselves on being free from the control of white men. So then, who is now holding you captive to carry on all of your traditional practices that cancel out obedience to the Word of God as it is written and pollute your world renowned, enthusiastically offered worship to God; worship which only pleases you and those entertained by all of your performance not God? While it is true from God’s Word that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17, NKJV), the Spirit will never sanction sin or lead God’s people to sin in offering worship polluted through disobedience (1 John 1:5-7).
If you are truly free in Christ, then realize you are free to serve Him faithfully and obediently as a lifestyle of worship as He requires and not just a Sunday only affair where performers help you get your happy on! Also, our Christian slave forefathers learned singing to God lifts burdened hearts not as some cathartic release induced by the singing itself, but through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in faith filled hearts fulfilling the words of Christ found in Matthew 11:25-30. Repent, therefore, from your “old time religion,” wicked ways practiced even on Sunday and any bitterness of heart toward your white brothers in Christ which has already sent many to Hell, so you may offer up an authentic worship to God (Mark 11:25-26; Hebrews 12:12-17).
Finally, to my sisters in Christ who are guilty especially those of my own race and culture that beyond question have all of the right stuff in spiritual fervor and leadership skills to lead anybody’s worship of God: repent and voluntarily relinquish your leading of the worship of the whole church! Remember the divine response to Miriam when she challenged the leadership calling of her brother, Moses, and Sapphira when she blindly followed in the sin of her husband (Numbers 12; Acts 5:1, 7-10).
Your fervor for God, desire and ability to lead His worship is not somehow wasted because He has not elected you to lead the whole church in usurpation of men whom He has chosen. Thinking like this comes from the sinful flesh; a desire to be seen and heard by mortal flesh rather than the eternal God who has put His holy fire in you and called you to honor Him first with submission in this present age (Luke 1:38)! It is not about you in performance, but it is about what God has required for His own worship (1 Corinthians 14:34-37).
As an aspiring great woman of God in the image of Christ, pleasing Him in love and obedience should be your highest concern (John 14:15). Stop letting Satan deceive you into believing out of a rebellious, worldly feminist disgruntlement that you are being short changed by glory hogging men that want the spotlight all to themselves. Woe to any man in the flesh that is doing this as a worship leader or preacher! Instead, like Miriam before her sin, joyfully lead your daughters as well as fellow sisters in the churches, prisons and scattered as lost sheep in the community who need your fervor for Christ and leadership among them (Exodus 15:20-21). Your faith, submission, self-control and service will be richly rewarded by the Lord here and now as well as eternally if you will obey!
On this Memorial Day I remember with the rest of our grateful nation those from all branches of the military that have died in wars from its inception. War is not a pleasant matter to consider or view even from a distance as is afforded in modern times through television. Nevertheless, God Almighty sanctioned the inclusion of men in His ongoing war with rebel angels as formally stated in Eden after our forefather and head of the human race, Adam, fell to Satan through sin (Genesis 3:1-8, 14-15). In the same breath our God announced a Champion from among us that would single handedly prevail against Satan and the entire fallen angelic realm!
The Lord Jesus Christ--Seed of the virgin, Mary--won the war as foretold by His life, ministry, death on the cross, burial, resurrection from the dead and ascension to Heaven (Luke 1:26-33, 4:14-21, 31-41; Hebrews 2:9-18, 7:25-8:2, 9:24-28). Whether aware of it or not, like it or not, those that become Christians through the Gospel about Him to this day are enlisted into the ongoing war of the ages. For though Christ has won the war, the mop up operations include bringing willing humanity to salvation and leading us to journey through this fallen world waging “the good warfare” in His victory safely to Heaven (Colossians 1:3-8, 2:11-15; 1 Timothy 1:18-20, NKJV).
Walking in the victory of Jesus Christ means that we must closely follow His example and pattern of conduct in the face of satanic warfare against Him. Even from His youth the Lord had the priority of His life settled--He would be about His “Father’s business,” (Luke 2:41-50, NKJV). As He ministered, He remained mindful that the Father’s ultimate business for Him was suffering leading to death (Luke 9:18-22). He did not sugar coat or deceive anyone then nor does He do so now; the cost to be His disciple is the same self-denying priority focus on pleasing God and doing His will to the death He had--the life of the Strong Man of God (Luke 9:23-26, 14:25-35; 2 Timothy 2:3-4)!
The Lord prepared for His final battle of suffering and death with Satan as His Father’s business for Him in three major ways: He put His affairs in order, remained resolute through prayer, and finally, submitted completely to all that the Father had allowed for Him to experience. While our Lord had no property or bills (Luke 9:58), He had made provision for His mother as required of the first born Son and spoke it from the cross (John 19:25-27). The soldiers had already taken His clothes as foretold (John 19:23-24). Following His example, every adult Christian should be living to die and simply; having all of our affairs in order as it depends on us (1 Timothy 6:7-12).
Seeing the tragedy that can unfold when there is death without a will, Christians should have at least a basic one to give direction about the distribution of property and other assets to surviving family members. Providing for our spouses and any dependents to the death is our responsibility before God as aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ (1 Timothy 5:3-16). This does not just require having life insurance or retirement income if available, but leaving as little debt as possible. Written funeral and burial plans paid in advance will be helpful too. Jesus knew when He was going to die and put His affairs in order; not knowing, we all the more should.
As our Lord embraced His coming suffering and death, we must do the same. For while He fully participated in activities beyond ministry such as weddings, dinners with friends and foes along with funerals (though He interrupted one in progress by raising the deceased to life), He was resolute in His commitment to die in His Father’s cause to save fallen mankind (Luke 13:22, 22:7-16). As the time drew very close, His resoluteness to suffer and die was fully tested on the Mount of Olives. But He prevailed over the natural, human desire to look out for self, avoid pain and live through steadfast, intense prayer as we may have to also do when our hour comes (Luke 22:39-46).
Fully surrendered and completely resolute after prayer and strengthening sent from His Father, the Lord Jesus endured being betrayed to His face by His hand-picked disciple as well as submitted to the mob that had come to take Him prisoner and Satan, who was ultimately behind the evil of that hour (Luke 22:47-53). The Lord expects His followers to imitate Him in all things including preparing for our final battle in the hour of darkness as He did. To the glory of God, the last twenty centuries are filled with the excellent testimonies of aspiring strong men and great women of God in Christ’s image who prevailed to victory in their final battle (Acts 7:54-60; Revelation 2:8-13). Many prevail every day now. May you and I go out in a manner worthy of our Lord (2 Timothy 4:6-8).1 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
1 As an additional instructional resource on the topic of the Christian’s spiritual warfare, the Strong Man Store has available an audio
CD series I was blessed of the Lord to proclaim entitled, We Are At War!
From the beginning until now, God’s faithful have been a persecuted minority (Genesis 4:1-10; 1 John 3:10-15). Our time in America has come and God wants us to remember in Jesus the stuff we are made of through Him (2 Timothy 3:12)! We may be powerless as a minority today to reverse the decline of our nation or effect the repentance of falling away Christians as foretold, but in our endurance to the end we will receive power from Christ to reign with Him on this earth when He returns with the Kingdom as sweet vindication of our suffering. Be encouraged about the future of the faithful today in this edited blog repost that appeared on the last day of 2012.
Originally Posted December 31, 2012
The final deliverance of God’s elect Jews and faithful saints will begin with the Kingdom of Heaven’s declaration of war on Satan and his kingdom. Holy angels faithful to God in their superior numbers and might will engage and prevail against the devil and his angels in heavenly places. The victory of the holy angels will be so thorough and final Satan and his angels will be evicted permanently from their heretofore dwelling in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-9). This means there will be no residence any longer for them in the second heaven which is all of outer space beyond earth’s atmosphere or access to the third heaven, the abode of God (Acts 7:54-56; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4).
This moment is a mixed bag for faithful saints. On the one hand it is good news since it means we are yet another step closer to the fulfillment of Satan’s announced judgment, realizing our hope of eternal salvation and the reign of Christ (Revelation 12:10). On the other hand, it is bad news in the near term because the devil and his demonic armies have just lost the war of the ages and are confined to earth with only a very short time (three and one half years) before they are imprisoned in Hades after which a thousand years later, they are finally forever condemned to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10).
These fallen creatures are not very happy campers at all and in fact, while the heavens are urged to rejoice over the devil’s defeat by the holy angels and eviction from their environs, all of the inhabitants of the earth including elect Jews and faithful saints are warned to prepare for grief since “the devil has come down to you, having great wrath,” (Daniel 12:1; Revelation 12:12). This is the major part of the “great tribulation” many Christians miss. It is not God’s wrath that is at the core of that brief most evil of evil times, it is Satan’s wrath and he wastes no time venting it against the human objects of it he hates the most: Jews and Christians (Revelation 12:13-17).
God will supernaturally protect His elect number of Jews during this period (Revelation 7:1-8; 12:6, 14), while faithful saints are expected to overcome the devil’s onslaught of deception, works of power and violent persecution (described as war) through patient endurance involving trust in the blood of Christ, their testimony and being willing to suffer death (understanding themselves as “sheep for the slaughter”) in remaining loyal to the Lord (Revelation 7:9-17, 12:11). These are the aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, prepares the willing to become!
The “great tribulation” is the final intense evil period of these latter days and the last gasps of existence for Satan’s kingdom when he reigns openly through his resurrected and immortal man patterned on Antiochus Epiphanes of old (Daniel 9:27, 11:36-45, 12:7; Mark 13:14-23; Revelation 13). In its aftermath are the most violent, painful transitory birth contractions of the approaching Day of God’s eternal Kingdom brought by our returning Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ (Mark 13:24-27). He will lead and be a strong support for the elect, remnant Jews who have been waiting for Him without realizing it in the final battle for Jerusalem (Micah 5:3-5; Zechariah 12, 14:1-15; Revelation 16:12-14, 16, 19:11-21).
He comes to fulfill the ancient promises of God and save the people of His ethnic heritage, even Jacob (Jeremiah 30-33; Romans 11:25-36) and the yet living faithful remnant saints who are transformed alive after those that have died are resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). Faithful saints from all time that have been the righteous minority in Christ will be powerless no more or ever again (Philippians 1:27-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)! Finally, the oppressions of the oppressor will cease and the new immortal, righteous majority will rule a world of real peace, justice and equity for all (Psalm 37:11; Isaiah 11:1-10; 51:12-13; Micah 4:1-5; Revelation 5:8-10). Let God fill you fresh with joy, peace and hope by these truths and the power of the Holy Spirit in believing to the end (Romans 15:8-13, 16:20).
God destroyed all of the former places He set apart to meet with Israel assembled to worship. Surely, someone will say, “That cannot happen to the churches since God treats them differently than He did Israel.” Does He? As the corrupt religious leaders of Israel did to no avail, so, those that practice Christianity the religion of men have also concocted doctrines that falsely guarantee them and their religious structures protection from divine judgment (Jeremiah 7:4). Another will ask, “If God is all that put out about it, why has He not been judging the churches guilty of practicing corrupt worship?” Hasn’t He though? His destroying judgment among the churches has gone forth through the centuries and intensifies going forward as I write about in this concluding, edited 2013 post.
Originally Posted September 22, 2013
It is of the most insidious heresies of Christianity in the midst of the dominating influence of Gentiles from the end of the first century until now; the teaching that somehow God treats the sins ancient Israel committed differently from Christians guilty of the same sins because the cross of Christ has removed believers from the place of judgment. Such a thing would be showing partiality which the Scriptures teach is sin and not found at all in God (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34-35). This wrongheaded, arrogant, patently anti-Semitic attitude persists in spite of the fact Christians are warned in the New Testament not to go where Israel went since Israel’s sins and God’s response are purposely written as warnings to help us avoid making their mistakes to the end also of avoiding their consequences.
In their case, an elect remnant will recover from the consequences of disobedience and behold at last, the returning Christ Jesus who will bring them into the riches of the New Covenant to include worship of God in spirit and truth (Isaiah 1:7-9, 10:20-23, 59:20; Romans 11:23-26). In our case, the consequences of disobedience that there is no recovery from without repentance now are more severe because we have the written warnings, the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, His instruction on worship, greater responsibility for obedience and no excuse since the Holy Spirit lives in us (Luke 12:47-48; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 3:7-19, 10:14-18, 26-31,12:12-17)!
Tragically, it is apparent that God’s response of judgment upon polluted worship in Israel in the Old or of Christians in the New Testaments respectively has not borne its purposeful fruit to instruct and warn since I and others continue to cry out against the widespread scandal called “worship” in the churches to this day. For as He did in the Old Testament by making a perpetual example of Aaron’s two sons with their “profane fire” in the early days of Israel, so, in the early days of the Church the Lord made an example of Ananias and Sapphira putting them to death for the sin of lying about their gift only He knew about or do not most pastors to this hour teach “giving is an act of worship,” (Acts 5:1-11)? Again, is it not written our Lord taught, “true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,” (John 4:23, NKJV)?
But the appropriate response of fear in the Jerusalem church did not last long or spread far. Men went on to practice all manner of sin and sought to hypocritically pretend devotion to God which He also judged during the apostolic period and continues to judge or where are the churches of Asia Minor (1 Corinthians 5:1-13, 10:14-22; 11:17-34; Colossians 2:16-23; James 2:1-13; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Revelation 2:1-6,12-16, 18-23, 3:1-3, 14-20)?
With the rise of manmade Christianity the religion after the passing of the apostles and among predominantly Gentiles, all manner of corruptions such as the worship of relics, images and persons (alive on earth and deceased) other than the Lord were introduced in rank idolatry. As well, sinful flesh driven programmed and packaged worship services complete with incense, the formal service of male priests, expensively ornate pageantry, invented traditions and rituals not commanded in the New Testament were also introduced into what became the Catholic Church headquartered at Rome by the 4th century. An Eastern offshoot called itself Orthodox but retained all of the outward religious formality of Western Catholicism as did other traditions in North and East Africa for example, along with many Protestant churches after the failed 16th century Reformation attempt by disaffected Catholic priest, Martin Luther.
All of the major branches of Christianity the religion of men have their hands stained with the blood of God’s prophets, faithful saints and many people through murderous worldly intrigue and biblically unsanctioned wars to add to their countless wicked and perverted deeds in similitude to Israel. These Christian religionists to this hour supposedly offer what they want all to believe is worship accepted by God; worship that has initially among Protestants the last fifty years included a growing number of women as leaders--a corruption ancient Israel was never guilty of.
Before there was a formal religious organization in Israel, no woman is recorded in the Bible leading the family worship and conducting sacrifices to God, only men (Genesis 4:3-5, 8:20, 12:7, 26:24-25, 33:18-20). When Israel worshipped God appropriately the men as His chosen leaders always led; no women were ever priests in accord with divine decree (Exodus 29:9). And though she as the sister of Moses and a prophetess held leadership rank, Moses led the worship of God by the whole nation assembled after the Red Sea miracle while Miriam led only the women (Exodus 15:1-18, 20-21). Women sang in the choirs of Israel, but none ever served as the worship leaders--a job reserved exclusively for the Levite men (1 Chronicles 9:33-34, 15:1-28; 25:1-8; 2 Chronicles 29:20-30; Nehemiah 7:4-7, 39-67, 11:22-23).
The Lord Jesus nor His apostles changed what is clearly God’s will and pattern from creation that men lead the family and corporate worship out of their leadership role and responsibilities before Him (Genesis 2:7, 21-23, 3:16b; 1 Timothy 2:12-14). Even Christianity the religion of men in all of its manifestations around the earth and many corruptions honored the will of God that men only stand before Him as the leaders of worship until the 20th century. What changed? Not God! But many male pastors have changed for whatever all of the unbiblical reasons and women in disobedience lead the worship of God without God as the result in their churches.
Therefore, the God who shows no partiality and severely judged Israel for her sins before the whole world so that even the wicked at sane moments have marveled at their millennia long travail, has begun the foretold latter day terminal judgment within professing Christianity in like manner over what will be a much shorter time frame--you do not really believe He has forgotten about or overlooked the sins and bloody hands of Christianity the religion of men do you?
Within sixty years as time is reckoned both in a twenty-four and sixteen hour day (Revelation 8:12), the Lord will complete the total destruction of Christianity the religion of men on the earth and recovery of elect Israel which was scattered in 70AD in accord with His written prophetic Word plainly displayed (Psalm 90:4; Hosea 5:14-6:3; 2 Peter 3:8). Thus, those with eyes to see already see the holy contempt for the corrupt practices and worship of long standing traditions of Christianity the religion of men manifest itself in the steady deaths of Western churches as well as in the Middle East, North and East Africa with those called Christians being scattered and the destruction of their places of worship that will never be permanently rebuilt.
Yes, this is also persecution of the righteous remnant in the midst who are on the Lord’s side through obedience to His Word and warned to expect this in these latter days (Matthew 10:22-25). As were the conditions for the first through the third century believers who offered a pure worship under the persecution of Rome (Acts 16:16-25), so it will be again and worse for the righteous remnant globally until the Lord appears (Revelation 13, 14:9-13, 16:15, 19:11-20:6). We do pray for the strength of our faithful brethren.
However, there comes a certain point also in the face of known divine displeasure and coming judgment when the righteous are warned to depart from among the evildoers--Jewish Christians fled Jerusalem in droves as the Lord directed when the Roman army advanced to lay siege to it (Jeremiah 50:8-10, 51:1-10, 45-48; Luke 21:20-24; Revelation 18:1-8). Such is presently the case as the Lord in earnest carries out the foretold judgment on His house which will eventually come to all of the churches on the earth and finally “The Mother Of Harlots,” the seat of Christianity the religion of men at Rome (1 Peter 4:17-18; Revelation 14:8, 16:17-19, 17:1-19:4, NKJV).
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).
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.
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)!
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