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Monday: False Worship — 23 Comments

  1. Perhaps the form of worship that has taken over is the notion that you are the most important person in the world and little else matters. The idea that there is something outside of yourself that is worthy of consideration gains little traction in a world that has fallen under the temptation of self-gratification and fulfillment.

    The great "worship" sin of Satan is described in Isa 14:13,14:

    For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.

    Sometimes, even as Christians, we cling to personal viewpoints and ideas to the extent that we are elevating ourselves to the status of self-worship. Self-centredness is at the heart of false worship.

    Perhaps one of the evidences of true worship is a willingness to listen, rather than to be listened to.

    • Amen! Never forget Satan is not fussy about how you focus on self even a person who is depressed or whose image of themselves is less than what God has in mind, is still focused on self and has difficulty worshipping the I Am! Attention on God and who I am because of His creation and redemption is worshipping. I as a child of the creator worship and adore my savior!

      • Beautifully said, Sharon!

        That's also why the many self-help programs to counter depression and/or "low self-esteem" don't work in the long run. They are still focused on self.

        As our Creator, God reminds us that He has created us for service, and only when we focus on Him and His mission in this world can we find genuine happiness. For instance, the best way to overcome "low self-esteem" is to focus on helping others, leaving no time to focus on self.

      • I am not sure that I want to spend time identifying false worshippers in church. Rather I think that our focus should be on Christ to ensure that our own worship is not false.

      • See Matt 13:28-30,39. My brother, Jesus was quite clear it is not our job to be focusing like this or doing things like this. Pray for others, but don't weed them out.

        Maurice's suggestion regarding what our focus needs to be is correct.

  2. Satan seeks to establish a false system of worship, one that takes away people from the true God.

    Most Sunday keepers and even the Muslim spend just a few hours in their places of worship then they go back to their businesses.

    Are we like them?

    Where do we really go on Sabbath afternoon?

    Why are our churches full during the sermon and almost empty in the afternoons?

    Just two hours in the church, are we robbing God of his time?

    Is this kind of false worship?

    We are our brothers keepers,can we do something about it?

  3. "Satan revealed that he knows exactly what worship is about: it is to give honor and respect to the rightful owner of the universe."

    Could it be that worship rests on a completely different (and deeper) foundation than is being suggested here?

    In Ex 34:8, Moses is internally, irresistibly compelled to fall down in worship of God. That irresistible internal compulsion is a 'draw' motivation (as per Jn 12:32), as opposed to a 'push' or 'command' motivation from an external source because he 'should', because it is 'rightful'.

    I would propose that being worshiped because He is "the rightful owner of the universe" is a completely foreign concept to God to the extent that it is the last thing God would desire. Now, I am aware some who read this may be very bothered by what I have just said, so please read further and hear me out and then make your judgement call.

    God is love (1 Jn 4:8). God is motivated at His core by pure, self-renouncing love. Self-renouncing love ONLY seeks the good for others, it seeks nothing for itself (I Cor 13:4,5) - it is inherently incapable of seeking, thinking or feeling that way.

    Of all the ways God could have been, He chose to BE pure self-renouncing love. And yet, while God could have theoretically chosen to be motivated by the principles that the power-brokers of this world are motivated by, he couldn't have practically chosen such. Why? Because self-renouncing love is the only basis that makes life viable. No other basis can viably support life (hence the truth of Rom 6:23). Thus, in reality, if God was on any other basis than self-renouncing love, He wouldn't/couldn't exist - and neither would life.

    Moses, I believe, worshiped out of overwhelming appreciation of who God is - not of Him as "rightful owner" of the universe - but of Him as pure compassion, pure grace, pure self-composure, pure lovingkindness/covenant-faithfulness, pure 'trueness', pure mercy, etc. Can you 'see' the difference?

    And I would also maintain that God, as pure self-renunciation, does not derive pleasure DIRECTLY from being worshiped. Rather, God derives pleasure INDIRECTLY from us worshiping Him because in worshiping Him, we are re-aligned once again back to love-inspired submission to our benevolent Creator and are therefore 'correctly re-oriented' back to the way we were created to be because that is inherently necessary for us to live abundantly - the created in harmonious union with The Creator (The Source of life).

    God created us to live abundantly (Jn 10:10) on the basis of self-renouncing love (Matt 22:37-40; Jn 15:13). Thus, God derives pleasure and delight as a BY-PRODUCT of things being 'as they ought to be' (the interrelated biblical terms for things being, and/or being restored to as they ought to be are "righteousness" and "justice"). When we are once again living abundantly as God designed for us to, it is the joy that we experience from being this way that brings God pleasure. God's joy is activated as a by-produce of seeing the joy we are experiencing.

    Thus, I would propose that when we come to 'see' and comprehend that God and His self-renouncing way is absolutely perfect - that there is no better/other way possible/viable in terms of that which can produce abundant life and living - that such awareness will inherently, internally compel us (via an irresistible 'draw' motivation) to worship God just like it did to/for Moses. And because of the consequential joy that we (like Moses) experience, God too experiences delight because creation is once again 'as it ought to be'.

    To give a more experiential explanation of what I have outlined above, have a look at 2 Cor 2:14,15. This mirrors similar to what we also find in the old testament in passages such as Num 15:3 regarding "a sweet and soothing aroma".

    Now, imagine you are cooking (or around someone who is cooking) your absolute, favorite dish. You really, really, really love this dish. And one day you stop for a moment and ever so slowly breathe in and 'savor' the fragrance of this dish. Now what happens next depends on whether the dish is exactly as it ought to be, or whether it is burning.

    If the dish is exactly as it ought to be, what do you experience as you slowly breathe in? Likely, you experience pleasure and delight. What is that delight based on? The dish being as it ought to be.

    What am I suggesting that true worship is at its core? God and us mutually sharing delight in each other. Our delight is in coming to the point where we 'see' and comprehend who God is the fullest possible manifestation and expression of pure self-renouncing love. And God's delight is in us, having been able to appreciate and embrace self-renouncing love as the core of life and living, and God as the epitome of self-renouncing love, once again being restored back into harmony with abundant living - the purpose for which we were created.

    What do you think?

  4. I hope I am not reading too much in this but looking at the following scripture I notice a common thread:

    2 Samuel 11:2 (And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.)


    Daniel 4:29-30 (Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”)

    The "self" is a hiding or subtle danger. A moment of elevation affected both Kings, and they were attracted to sin. At the rooftop, David was attracted to Bethsheba (point to note, is David was to be at war 2 Samuel 11:1 "at the times when kings go off to war" he remained in Jerusalem). At the rooftop, Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself.

    Today, we stand a risk of self-exaltation or self-vindication, as we stand tall above others in comparison with their faith or believes. Worship is one, a very personal connection between God and you; and should not be compared. It is me giving praise to God for creating me and redeeming me.

    Immediately,we put ourselves or any other thing between this, then we begin to spiral or are sucked into a vortex of false worship. Lucifer did this; Nebuchadnezzar found himself at the same point; and many others too.

    We, - if not we are prayerful and not in reliance on God -, may find ourselves in false worship as we overpraise ourselves, our property, our intellect, our church, our worship styles, or our family. When focus moves from what God has done to what we have done, then we are angling towards "false worship".

    • You are 'spot on' Stanley when you correctly identify self-exaltation as the core feature of false worship.

      This core feature will express itself in a multitude of ways, but each expression will trace its roots back to this very foundation.

      Self-renunciaton vs self-exaltation. Those are the only 2 options. These are the basis of everything.

    • Good point, Cyrus! But I don't think it should only be about Sabbath afternoon or Sabbath. It is true though that our commitment to worship in our current days is dwindling. True Worship is a way of life not an event.

      True Cyrus!, we suit-up into Christians on occasions, and revert to the world - like fictional comic book "superheroes"; and that's really it - " False worship", in a way or form. We have installed an on/off switch for living as Christians; more so Adventist. There is a "church Stanley" and worldly Stan, existing in one me, and that is horrible to think about, but basically what we do in real.

      It's interesting, that you mention the Muslim. Let's give it to them though, five times each day they stop all activity to pray and worship "Allah"; their "Five pillars" are centred on "Allah". They have instituted worship in their way of Life. Think of it, as Christians especially here in Africa, we adopt to two cultures, my traditions and religion seperately. That's shouldn't be the case. I should be a Christian at all times and all forms.

      I hope this mention will not make my views be deemed as me shifting alligiance but I feel that we dwell too much on comparatives that umbrella us in a moment of self-vindication sheathing our own failures at the long run.

      True Worship should be in every action and reaction we make us followers of Christ. In any case, God created us and gave us all that we have. Why should it be hard for us to live to exalt him in everything we do? It's not only about the Sabbath or Tithe; but it's a life walking with God. Do our acts praise God? True Worship is not a reservation for a special day or time;True Worship should be our heartbeat - our lifeline. It should not be strainfully or painfully achieved. We should live it.

      • I maintain we can have true worship as you discribe,[daily communion with God], and also set aside the Seventh-day-Sabbath as a special day of rest from our daily duties. We want to maintain worship in a self renouncing manner during the week, also maintaining Sabbath as a special day hallowed out of love for our maker. True worship incorporates not only one special day out of the week, but everyday. Six days a week are for us to labor for our lively hood, maintaining a relationship with Christ. Daniel 6:10. The Seventh-day is a special day also to delight in the Lord, but without interference from our gainful labor.

  5. Satan’s religion is false religion but it is religion nonetheless. He doesn’t even mind if we show up for worship - just as long as its false worship.

    He loves to see folks go to church to talk about other worshippers. He loves to see us go to uplift our own goodness. He loves it when we are preoccupied with other things - like who hurt our feelings recently, and what so and so thinks about us. He loves to hear our critical comments about the worship leaders and the pastor’s preaching.

    The devil loves it when we don’t put our hearts into praising God. He likes seeing us just going through the motions. He can stand anything but worship of God in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24

    • I understand your point Josiah and believe that is the heart of true worship, to be involved, inspired. However, of all the places we could be on the day God promises to make time to meet with us in joining together, being together with others is better than sitting alone and being isolated and disconnected. There is a blessing that God promises we will receive in making a point to come and worship together, to be part of the Body of Christ. I have experienced more than once, "going through the motions" of getting ready, dressing in my church best, and going to church even when my heart was not there. But I encounted God in His House, and through contact with someone with a "word in season" or having the experience of praising Him and joining with others, my thoughts were lifted in a way I would not have experienced had I missed the special appointment with God.

  6. Jesus' third temptation(as with the first two) was to place His own will above the will of God. Yes, there was a specific temptation to break God's Law, but this only results when we deny the Sovereignty of God and place self upon the throne of our heart. This is the real test in every temptation isn't it? How else could breaking one commandment bring the charge against the sinner of breaking the whole law(Jas 2:10)? If we set God aside on one point, we have denied Him as God, and have renounced His Law as our duty.

    With the 3 Hebrews of Daniel 3, as well as the last generation upon the earth, if God is not the object of our worship, then it is self we worship above God, since there are no other gods to worship, only others who demand worship while threatening death to any who decline to deny God, though at risk of their temporal life.

    Any departure from the perfect Law of the Lord is to worship self above God. While we are called to worship the Lord “in the beauty of Holiness”, any unholy(disobedient) thought harbored, word spoken, or action taken, is a denial of God's Sovereignty and an exaltation of our own desire above the will(Law) of God.

  7. Hi Robert

    There is much that you and I differ on, but in this instance I wholeheartedly agree with you about the principle you have stated - "exaltation of our own desire above...". I will share my basis for agreeing with you regarding this principle first, and then I will share my views on the next part of the phrase "the will(Law) of God". You can then let me know your thoughts in more detail regarding this latter component.

    Self-exaltation is precisely the foundational basis underpinning Satan's 'original' sin - and is consequentially the essential motivation behind every temptation offered up to us via lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (1 Jn 2:16). There are a 1000 or more ways that exaltation of our own desire can be indulged - whether it be outright intentional rebellion against God, or the decidedly more common, subtle following of a trail of feelings that lead to indulgence of an 'emotional quick fix' behaviour, etc. This is why Jesus said that anyone who would join with Him would need to "deny self" (Lk 9:23). Self-denial is the opposite of self-exaltation. It is impossible to do both of these at the same time - if you are not doing one, you are by default doing the other.

    I believe it is worth expanding on what is meant by the will(Law) of God - because it is so easy for this phrase to be seen as reflective of an authoritarian God (that commands and demands). One of the most direct summary statements regarding God's will would perhaps be 2 Pet 3:9. God's will is that no-one perish, but that they come to repentance.

    Now, unfortunately many/most are sadly going to perish because that is their free-choice, intentional preference or 'heart-desire' to do what seems right in their own eyes (I know we both agree on this from what you have written elsewhere). And God is not going to force his 'will' to over-ride their choice.

    So, in essence, God's 'will' can be understood as His deepest desire that is also expressed in His salvific initiatives. It is God's deepest desire and 'intention' that no-one perish, but that they would instead'come to repentance'. Come to repentance meaning align themselves with God's offer and salvific plan/initiatives to rescue us from our terminal condition. Our terminal condition is our natural/innate tendency to self-exaltation - as a consequence of our inheritance under the 1st Adam (Rom 5:14).

    And it is worth mentioning that 'come to repentance' is via a "draw" (Jn 12:32; Rm 2:4) motivation which is, by nature, invitational. Too often, this is instead presented within Christianity via a 'push' motivation via appealing to or drawing upon fear, expectation or other coercive-based motivation - and in doing so, portrays an authoritarian view of God.

    If it is not God's will (deepest desire) that anyone perish, what then is God's will? Jn 3:16 and Jn 10:10 both comment directly on this question. God's will is, always has been and always will be that every member of creation experience abundant, eternal life. The Greek word in Jn 10:10 is zoe - which conveys the concept of the quality of life that God experiences. God's desire is that His creation experience the quality of life that He lives - He wants us to share in that with Him. It is God and us, together sharing in the joys and blessings of a life where it genuinely 'doesn't get any better than this'. This is the core of God's will. And this is what His 'Law' exists to enable. God's Law/s comprise all the principles that enable abundant life to actually be (work): laws of maths, laws of physics, laws of health, etc, etc.

    Nothing arbitrary, nothing authoritarian, nothing ego-based. But everything being pure expression of self-renouncing love: a love that exists to bring joy and blessing to all others.

    As far as I can see from scripture, God Himself 'expects' nothing, 'requires' nothing, 'demands' nothing. (Though you will find these words in scripture, I believe there are 2 reasons for this, both of which are due to man's misperception of God via failing to remember that God's ways - of being as well as doing - are higher than our ways (Isa 55:9). I would go on record as saying these tendencies are contrary to the nature and character of God. These are Satan's attributes that he has ascribed to God. Rather, God only desires, invites, and offers - that is consistent with His/Jesus revealed/displayed nature and character.

    I invite you to also expand on how you see the "will(Law) of God".

    • "I invite you to also expand on how you see the "will(Law) of God"."

      How do I see the will/law of God? Psalm 19,119, Matt 22:37-40, Rom 13:10, etc. I must also include His speaking of the law on Sinai as recorded in Exodus 20, which is quite specific in nature, while general in principle.(can we "keep" this law if violating it's specifics while claiming to uphold it's principle?)

      I also see God's ideal revealed in Genesis 1,2, and Revelation 21,22(and other passages such as Ps 15, Isa 33:14-17, etc). Where do sin/sinners fit in what He has revealed? How must God deal with them given His clear intentions as revealed in His Word? Look at the world around us, what will become of it and how? Doesn't scripture tell us? What is our loving God's intention in telling us? Does love include fair warning or stern reproofs? How does the True Witness reveal His love for erring sinners(Rev 3:19)?

      As for the "draw" motivation, how does that fit with the first two parables of Luke 15? How does it fit in the blessings/cursings of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28? While the drawing attributes of God's character is God's ideal method, too many have come to see God as being as evil as their parents/teachers/preachers/law enforcement officers/judges/etc.

      What was the "draw" in Jonah's message? Did it work?

      Let's elaborate on Jonah for a moment; what in his message that we know of, convinced the wicked of that city to trust in God's mercy?(no assumptions please)

      • Re Isa 33:14-17. This passage speaks of everlasting fire and eternal burning as the place where the righteous actually dwell - not the method of punishment for sinners and godless.

        "How must God deal with..." God has demonstrated that there is only one way He 'deals' with anyone - always in self-renouncing love. I would maintain that self-renouncing love is incongruent with initiating destruction, though it is entirely consistent with releasing to one's free choice (and, by extension, the INHERENT consequences of that choice).

        "How does the True Witness reveal His love for erring sinners(Rev 3:19)?" When I was at teacher's college, I spent considerable time being taught about discipline and how it is distinct from punishment. One of the guiding principles was to utilise natural consequences in the discipline process rather than imposed punishment. This was very different from the 'discipline' process I did my schooling under.

        Re Jonah and Nineveh (as the capital of Assyria and all that Assyria had a reputation for). Yes, in this instance, it was a fear motivation that was primary for a people who had a reputation of being fearfully violent and who only knew of how pagan deities operated (authoritarian). If this characterises the congregation you worship with or the people you interact with, then that would be an appropriate approach. But I would venture to say it was not an effective primary approach for Jesus day, and neither is it an effective primary approach for our time. Why didn't Jesus adopt the same approach when He was on earth when teaching people about God (eg Samaritan woman at the well, woman caught in adultery, Judas, etc).

        I do note that God did not say He was going to destroy Nineveh - He had Jonah inform them that Nineveh would be "overthrown" (Jonah 3:3). Within the context of their times, under pagan deities, I would propose that they would have understood this as 'one of the gods is not happy with us and will therefore not protect us against enemy invasion'.

        No assumptions? Any perception of any aspect of life is based on a set of foundational assumptions. You and I each operate from a base of assumptions. That is why we have different views, because we each operate from a different assumptive bases in regard to reading and understanding/interpreting the Bible.

        • Late, so a brief reply:

          There is no place for assumptions where faith is exercised. Different views of Truth result when at least one view is not by Divine inspiration. Truth has one version, or God is no different than fickle, capricious man.

          Not sure you answered the question of "what led Nineveh to trust in God's mercy?". What comes close to a relevant answer looks assuming if I'm reading it correctly. Perhaps if you enlarge on what you mean?

          • "Truth has one version, or God is no different than fickle, capricious man."
            And Satan's insinuation that there is more than one viable truth/reality would be substantiated. So I agree with you that there is one Truth.

            "Different views of Truth result when at least one view is not by Divine inspiration."

            And you are as committed to the view of Truth you genuinely see/believe is contained within Divine inspiration (The Bible) as I am from the view of Truth that I genuinely see/believe is contained within Divine inspiration (The Bible). Yet you and I each arrive at different views of Truth on many matters?

            "There is no place for assumptions where faith is exercised. "

            Faith is believing in something we cannot actually see - therefore even faith is based upon assumption that what we do not see is True/Truth (Jn 20:29).

            "Not sure you answered the question of "what led Nineveh to trust in God's mercy?"

            Due to the limitations of written-only communication, I don't yet know how else to answer the question other than the way I did above and with my elaboration. You would need to let me know how you see the answer to the question and then I could see better where you are coming from and how to link my answer to what you are seeing.

          • Phil, concerning Nineveh: the 40 days probation given and the very presence of Jonah, with his message from Jehovah, was the evidence that God is merciful. A fickle, vengeful god would have simply brought destruction without warning. Add to this the history of Israel, which they were very familiar with, including the acts of God in delivering them from Egypt, leading them safely through the wilderness, the overthrow of great kings, impregnable cities, and armies that vastly outnumbered God's people(only 300 at one time). Everything God does is to save every sinner possible from Death.

            They did not react to the threats as to one of their gods, or they would have been offering sacrifices(quite possibly human?), which would have augmented their guilt further. In PK you can read where they abolished idolatry for a season, and repented of sin against Jehovah's law.

            God understood them better than we understand ourselves, and knew the exercise of His power and authority would gain a positive response, at least for a time. If faithful, we may meet many who were saved for eternity by Jonah's warning message of "yet forty days...".


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