Know Your Bible

VOL. 5                           August 27, 2006                           NO. 32

WORSHIPERS

(AND NON-WORSHIPERS)

    Folks who live in the South know that there "is a church on every corner," but on Sundays those meeting houses are not always full. Further, some of the things that are taking place in those houses of worship are not exactly Bible_based worship. Well, in the American tradition, folks worship any way they want, and that's fine for Americans, but God is not an American. His blessings for America is like the blessing of the Corinthians: "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you" (1 Cor. 11:19). Freedom of religion (a good thing) doesn't make improper worship acceptable to God.

The Non-Worshipers: -- are the ones most obviously in the wrong. They apparently think that they have no obligation to God. Or, perhaps, they don't believe that there is a God to worship. Sunday morning comes, and they are laying in bed, fishing, cutting grass, or otherwise engaged. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God" (Psa. 14:1,2).

Vain Worshipers: -- were addressed directly by Jesus: "Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:7-9). These folks are determined to be religious, but on their own terms. They follow the traditions of their ancestors, the popular religious movement, or their own inventions. Their worship is vain as far as God is concerned. Or, should we think that our generation doesn't have any worshipers like those of Jesus' day? Or, perhaps God has changed His mind?

Fun Worshipers: -- are into having fun. Like the Corinthians, they think having meals, fun, and games should be a part of things at church (1 Cor. 11:17ff). James says this in the Bible: "Draw night to God, and He will draw night to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up" (Jas. 4:8-10). Happy time together is a good thing (Acts 2:46), but must it be pointed out that too many folks have the emphasis way too far on the fun while tragically lacking reverence for God and His Word.

Mistaken Worships: -- are those who are sincere, but mistaken. Cornelius was a man of prayer and good deeds (Acts 10:1,2), but he had missed the words of salvation spoken by the early evangelists (Acts 11:14). Someone is paying the bills for all those houses of worship in the land; someone is doing the teaching there; someone is organizing, checking, and promoting. However, sincerity does not equate to being right with God.

    Paul, the apostle said: "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities" (Acts 26:9-11). Why did he behave that way against Christians? Because he was mistaken. Should we believe that there are no mistaken folks out there today who are involved, who sacrifice, and who give themselves altogether?

    Will Jesus appear to them as He appeared to Saul to correct their error? (Acts 9). No, there are mistaken worshipers out there today who will have to study and investigate to find the truth. Paul's conversion is simply an example of what mistaken folks should do when they see the truth (1 Tim. 1: 15,16). If God will forgive and help an insolent sinner like Saul of Tarsus, He will help and forgive other also.

Half-Hearted Worshipers: -- appear in the Bible in the book of Malachi. The Jews said, "Behold, what a weariness is it!" They offered polluted bread, blind sacrifices, along with the lame and the sick. Their attitude shows up today in folks who come to worship services when it is convenient for them, who don't pay attention, who can't be counted on, and who make no real commitment.

    We see them also in the church at Laodicea. To them the Lord said, "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth" (Rev. 3:15,16).

True And Spiritual Worshipers: -- Jesus said, "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" (Jn. 4:23,24) Unlike the mistaken worshipers of idols in Samaria and unlike the Jews in Jerusalem who worshiped in vain; the true worshipers would worship with sincerity, truth, and spirituality in the churches.

    There is nothing in the Bile to indicate that God has changed His mind about acceptable worship over the last 2,000 years. We can still sing, pray, give, preach, and partake of the Lord's supper as those early Christians did. That is true and spiritual worship when folks come together whole-heartedly and worship.

---George Hutto

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***Sentence Sermons***

To err is human, but when the eraser wears out before the pencil, you're over doing it.

***

Faith must have adequate evidence or else it is

mere superstition.

***

Compromise is always wrong when it means to

sacrifice a principle of truth.

***

The Christian must have "won't" power as well as "will" power.

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