Friday, December 31, 2010

It’s the Object of Worship – not the sincerity of worship that must be first and foremost


I have heard this all too familiar “objection” throughout my Christian life, stated in various forms and fashions.  It is the familiar:

“There are many religions – what makes you so confident that you have a ‘hotline’ to God?” 

In the online town talk forum I had answered a posting about profaning God’s Name.  Another person took exception and offered a sarcastic comment [Paraphrase]:  “I find it remarkable that you know what God is thinking and feeling.  I stand in awe of you.” And, so I seriously answered that person, that I considered myself one of “God’s children” and, being, who I am, I read God’s Scriptural Revelation, I do recognize  the Good Lord’s intentions.  I also pointed out the following Scriptures:

"But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." 1 Corinthians 6:17

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him and He will show him His covenant." Psalm 25:14 

I concluded that I thought some people begrudge Christians such as I, the privilege to express our faith and confidence in the Good Lord. People are too ready to grant equal status to all religions because each religion has its share of sincere worshippers.

In my daily Scripture readings I was again impressed with Christ’s words to the Samaritan woman at the town’s well. [John 4:4-30] Christ’s Words to her were very revealing about her personal life.  (She readily, recognized Him as a prophet).  But more revealing, was Christ’s statement of worship:


……But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth………. John 4:23-24

Christ not only makes it clear that God is not a graven image of some sort to be worshipped, but that “God is a Spirit,” and that He must be worshipped, “in spirit,” and, “in truth.” But even before Christ mentions the “quality” of worship -- that worship, had to be done, "in, truth,” Christ makes the most revealing statement:

"You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews." John 4:22

So, here we have it -- Jesus Christ, Himself, unabashedly states, that “salvation” [true religion that delivers (“saves”) one’s eternal and priceless soul, from hell] comes (originates) from “the Jews.” As one commentator put it:

Salvation is from the Jews. Salvation seems here to mean the Savior, the Messiah, as it does Luke 2:30 ; Acts 4:12:  and so the woman appears to have understood it, John 4:25. The Messiah was to spring from the Jews - from them, the preaching of the Gospel, and the knowledge of the truth, were to go to all the nations of the world. It was to the Jews that the promises were made; and it was in their prophetic Scriptures, which the Samaritans rejected, that Jesus Christ was proclaimed and described. See Isaiah 11:3.  [Clarke]

In the Gospel account of Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well, as related above, [John 4:1f] Christ never questions the woman’s religious sincerity or earnestness.  He never questions it, because sincerity and earnestness are not the first and foremost issues at stake involving genuine worship of the true God.

Don’t trifle with your present, priceless and eternal soul -- Luke 16:19-31

I know that it is culturally fashionable to be accepting and approving of all forms of religious worship.  The "power of positive thinking” mentality, the influence of mega churches and herding group pressure is so easily accepted, when there is the push to be multicultural and politically correct.  But that is not the way of Christ, nor, His follower disciples.

Christ did not come to be born into human flesh, to live, die and to be sacrificed for humanity’s sin – and, then to be resurrected, in order to win humanity’s approval and popularity contests.  [Nor, does He expect His followers to seek for the same cultural approbation]


Christ came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” [Luke 19:10] And, that includes you and me.  If you are a “holier than thou” personality, then Christ is not for you.  Hear what Christ says: 

“…..they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick……..for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  Matthew 9:9-10 

Sinner -- if you think that you are a good person and that your sins do not offend God and are not damnable violations [worthy of hell] against His Ten Commandments, then, stay as far away from the Hebrew (Jewish) and Christian Scriptures as possible.  If you don’t think that your sins offend God and that you are better than most people, don’t seek help when you fall flat on your face.

However, if you can humble yourself and admit that you are a sinner, such as the tax collector in the parable which Christ told –- if you can contritely exclaim with all shame, [“God, be merciful to me, a sinner,”  -- Luke 18:14] -- then, there is present and everlasting hope for you.  This hope is not in a particular geographical place of worship.  Nor, is this hope found in a particular “fever pitch” of emotion or sincerity.  This present and eternal hope can only be found in the person of Christ Jesus, who is the living God, the (only) One who sacrificed Himself for you and your sins and who was raised from the dead for your present and eternal peace with a Holy Creator, Father God.  Amen.


Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Old Testament:

2 Chronicles 18:1f -- the true God’s Message is voiced by the minority and not the voice of the popular majority

Psalm 10:1f -- the wicked’s persecution and God’s defense of the humble and the oppressed
 


New Testament: 

Luke 18:9-14 -- divine rejection of those who trust in themselves; His mercy to humble sinners

Luke 19:1-10 -- the Lord’s “salvation” – He is here, to seek and to save that which is lost

Acts 4:1-13 -- no divine deliverance (“salvation”) in any other name, but Christ


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Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
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Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith:  Parts 1-3

Note:  The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel 


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