This is a topic that I have always wished there was more teaching on, but I’ve learned that the truth is all very simple. I believe worship has a variety of manifestations, so long as the worshiper is seeking to glorify and extol the living God. True worship, in my mind, is any good thing that is given unto God from His children, whether it be thanksgiving, or praise, or love, or adoration, or glory and honor, even our minds and hearts that are fixed on Jehovah God (the Father), Jesus Christ (the Son) and the Holy Ghost at all times. The opposite of true worship is called “idolatry”. Any adoration or praise that is not actually given to God Himself, can be perceived, as scriptures say, as “things sacrificed unto idols” (1 Corinthians 8, Revelation 2:20). That is essentially what the Apostle Paul is preaching in Romans chapter 1:20-32. He is saying that worshipping God is the true way of life designed by God, and worshipping and serving the creature is called “the lie” which is the device of the devil. In another sense, it is what we center our lives around, what we give our thoughts to, and Who we give ultimate thanks to. Christians ought to be occupied with the Everlasting God and Father, and knowing His Word, praying always in the Secret Place, and seeking the rest and peace found only in Him by faith. Jesus said these words unto His Father, “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You sent” (John 17:3). So here you have two opposing forces, God and idols (also the devils who are behind idolatry). Anything that opposes God in our heart is an idol by default. Paul knew this well, and that is why he references immoral sex, uncleanness and covetousness as common idolatrous behaviors that a Christian can be tempted by (Ephesians 5:3). Jesus knew this in reference to men’s attitude toward money and material wealth, He said, “you can’t serve two masters…God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). The obvious virtue that is needed in regard to the temptation of idolatry (or excessive indulgence in earthly things) is temperance and moderation, also faith and knowledge, which if people seek Him daily, the Holy Spirit will provide in due time. As Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 8, just knowing that there is one God, who is the Creator, and one Lord Jesus Christ, is enough to avoid the stumbling block of idolatry. If I eat and drink, and enjoy myself on earth among the Gentiles, and give thanks to the one God of grace, then it is not idolatry, it is me living my faith. As Paul taught, “whatever you eat that is not by faith, it is sin” (Romans 14:23). In other words, make sure your conscience agrees with the things you partake of, lest the soul be afflicted unnecessarily. If I watch my favorite movie or read a good novel, and enjoy the talents and the artistic work of other people, and give thanks to God and Jesus Christ as the Creator, then I am in an act of wonder and worship toward God and not idolatry. There are some weaker Christians, who are called babes, who do yet not know this, so they may still feel like they are sinning or committing idolatry when their conscience speaks to them about the content or of their current level of the knowledge of good and evil. Paul even warns mature Christians not to cause weak ones to stumble through their liberty, or knowledge, or grace (1 Corinthians 8:9). But as Paul taught, knowing that there is only one God and one Lord Jesus Christ, who made all food and drink on earth to be pure and acceptable, is sufficient knowledge to avoid the sin of idolatry. The question of true worship is answered in whether we keep God and Jesus Christ as our first Love, if He truly is the center of our lives, if we spend sufficient time in devotion, worship, and meditation, with a desire for Him and the vast wealth of the Kingdom. God is not deceived or mocked as to whether we truly fulfill the commandment of Matthew 6:33, which says “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”. He knows if we are in the will of God or not. Paul also mentioned “uncleanness” as a thing that could cause trouble. I believe Paul is referring to uncleanness as a matter of the conscience…that the person has been doing things that their conscience does not agree with, and thus their conscience has become “defiled”. One of my favorite scriptures is Titus 1:15, which says “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience are defiled”. Maintaining a pure heart and mind is a thing that requires devotion and growing in faith and stature, by eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood, thus maintaining a holy life, as Jesus said was necessary to have life (John 6:53). The reward of such devotion is a soul and mind that is virtuous and able to enjoy abundant life and an enriching and often intoxicating love relationship and experience with the Living God. Righteousness that we receive from God also brings with it a divine protection from harm, such as was the case with Daniel and the lion’s den (Daniel 6:22).
Mankind was created by God and for God, and was created to depend upon and need God. He offers us a place in His Bride through Jesus Christ, to be born again as His Children, and to truly live for God as we were originally intended. There are countless promises in God’s Word, which can cause the Body of Christ to inherit blessings, wealth and a new life in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) However, so many of us who have come to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior know that there are many potential pitfalls on the path that leads to life and glory. As soon as a believer is drawn by the Holy Spirit, and becomes born again by believing in their heart and confessing Jesus as the Christ and Savior, they have also, spiritually speaking, left the sinful bondage of Egypt and are now on a new journey of life, as a newly liberated creature, across the wilderness of trials and spiritual growth, and looking for the Promised Land called Canaan, the glory of lands, which in biblical language, is figurative of heavenly places. They have died with Christ, our Passover Lamb, unto sin, and are now risen again with Christ by the power of the Spirit: this is called being baptized into Christ (see Romans 6). There is the joy of first knowing Jesus' great love, His glorious life indwelling us, His resurrection from the dead; all of these are free gifts of common salvation and grace, praise God! But there is another realization; a trek through the wilderness where we encounter indwelling sin and a need for spiritual conquest; the battleground for the soul and pursuit of His Promised Land. This is a path that through patient endurance, faith, prayer, and daily meditation and renewal by feeding on God’s Word, leads to a Promised Land of Life, Abundance, Immortality and Glorious Freedom and full Joy in God’s Presence (see Psalm 16:11, Romans 2:7). Jesus said, “Labor not for the meat that perisheth, but for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life.”(John 6:27)
For hundreds, even thousands of years, churches of this world have often been dull of hearing, and full of disputes and divisions, which as Paul warned the Corinthian Church, they are carnal and disobedient in the eyes of Jehovah, and thus disqualified for any land of promise (see 1 Corinthians 3:1). Many pastors are doing their job for hire and are by no means the faithful shepherds that God would have them be, such as He found with David, who loved the sheep of his pasture, even risking his life to kill a bear and a lion to save them (see 1 Samuel 17:34-37). O, How God loved David! He would desire all lowly men to be as David, and they will be like David, even as God Himself (see Zechariah 12:8 ). But as for now the doctrines of men rule many of the places of worship and many hearts seem to pursue their own gain, taking the name of the Lord in vain, because of their abundance of sins and merchandising.
I have wrestled with Scriptures at times in my life, trying to understand certain passages, but it is only by the grace of God and His Spirit who gives wisdom and revelation to all who but ask (see James 1:5). The Holy Bible can seem like a daunting journey for a new believer, though it is truly the inspired Word of God concerning man's salvation, but it has many deep and spiritual statements that need the Holy Ghost to give understanding to the mind and heart. There needs to be a waiting upon the Lord and sitting at His feet, learning the gentle ways of Jesus Christ, and letting the eyes of our understanding be opened by the Holy Ghost. Many, such as some churches and also the Jewish people, were brought to confusion in their misunderstanding the Scriptures, because as Jesus said unto them, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:39-42 ). Jesus is stating that Scriptural truth (the written letter) is not enough of itself, the holy Scripture must be mixed with faith, obedience, prayer, spiritual understanding, and there must be holy love abounding in us, from God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Jewish leaders, and many Christians throughout history, have had knowledge, which is good, but Paul often contrasted knowledge with love, saying, "the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19). As Peter wrote concerning Paul's wisdom, that many do not understand his writings, and they struggle, but as Paul wrote, “we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which was fore-ordained for our glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7). Among some of these people are Nicolaitans, who set up their carnal doctrines and religious traditions over God's spiritual doctrines and faith, and their own carnal interpretation is being upheld among their followers. They seek to serve God according to oldness of the letter of the law, but fail to understand the newness of the Spirit which gives life (see Romans 7:6). As the poet Frances J. Roberts prophesied, in essence, this message, “The letter does serve a purpose for us, in that it convinces people of sin and causes death to our old carnal nature”. However, the glorious truth is that the Holy Spirit brings new life from the dead to make us partakers of the Divine Nature that is in Christ (see 2 Peter 1:4). The fact though, is that God is Love and He desires all men to repent, to receive Jesus Christ His Son by faith, and also receive the Holy Spirit as a Teacher and Revealer of all Truth (see John 16:13). He desires all His children to know Him face-to-face, and to be their dearest Friend and Savior. He desires to speak plainly to you concerning Himself and His Son, and His eternal purpose with His Bride. As a servant of Christ, I desire to expound many mysteries of Christ and make plain this doctrine of Christ for those that have a hunger and thirst for truth. Jesus and Paul did speak in many proverbs and mysteries, yet Jesus said near the end of His earthly life, “…I will soon show to you plainly of the Father" (John 16:25). This collection of writings will be my journal of meditations upon the Divine Truth; the deep and glorious truth spoken in plain language. Meditation, prayer, and diligence in the Word are what each Child of God must do continually to unravel the mystery of Christ by the spirit of revelation, and ultimately grow into the full stature of Christ on earth.
There are many things each Child of God needs to know to be prepared to enter the Kingdom of God. So many of us when we were kids our parents taught us how to be saved, and so we thought we were saved (by whatever means we were taught) and so we went about our worldly cares and were not taught the importance of knowing God now, and entering into heaven now, and receiving our inheritance in this present moment (as the Testator Jesus was crucified for this cause). We were only taught that we need to believe in Jesus so we can enter heaven when we die some day in the distant future. This is the common notion taught among Christians as I have witnessed in the past. This doctrine leaves out the importance and urgency of learning of Christ and receiving a full reward, and it basically robs God, men and women of their exceedingly great promise of full salvation. It gives innocent children a false security that tells them everything will be okay, even though they are not brought up in the admonition of the Lord and the beauty and love of Jesus Christ. Ignorance will be their downfall, if they depart from the Lord to seek the glory of the world. God does know those who are His, but He expects His gospel to be glorious and appealing to draw all people to Himself. Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God” and with this commandment came the promise of all material and physical needs being met in this life (Matthew 6:33). So, as Christ’s body, why exactly are we taught to seek first our education, our health, our college degree, our career, and our spouse and every other method of self-preservation which only expresses the desires of the ego and not Christ? Why do so few people have faith? These are sand pebbles in comparison to the precious Diamond of the Wisdom of God and the Faith of Jesus Christ, and the many gifts God has for us. Going to church on Sunday is not enough; in fact, attending an average church of this world can be detrimental to true spiritual growth, as Frances J. Roberts prophesied, “it’s (organized religion) like touching a dead body and being defiled thereby, and thus needing days of cleansing” (“On the Highroad to Surrender” - Remove the Graveclothes). To obtain the promises of God, one must walk by faith, keeping His words, and obeying His voice and following the call of the Holy Spirit as a doer of His will. It means to leave behind the pleasures of the self-life, and pursue the pleasure that comes from knowing Jesus Christ, the Husband and Bridegroom of the Church, in the Secret places of the Most High. Nourished by heavenly manna, and a drinking from the spiritual Rock that springs forth the river of life, bringing gladness and perpetual joy that doesn’t fail (see Isaiah 58:11). We must seek the Lord and live; for there is no other path for a men and women to walk to obtain life, for God is the source of all life, and Jesus is the Way to the Father (John 14:6). As it is written, “He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life” (1 John 5:17). The key to what Jesus said is that you must seek the health of your own soul by feasting upon His Word and receiving spiritual riches, and growing into full stature, and then the needs of the body will also be supplied one hundred fold in due time. It’s an immutable promise of Jesus Christ: abundant life, houses, lands, brothers and sisters, married together as one large family of God in the Spirit with white garments…the only requirement is to lose your own life for the sake of Christ and the gospel (see Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:28-29). God is saying here that the soul is a higher priority than the body, and God would have all men have their souls a watered garden of life. Do not think your growth will happen over night; it takes diligent and patient study and meditation as a dedicated disciple, as a Branch receiving Life from the Vine, and patiently bringing forth an abundance of fruit (see John 15). You must cast yourselves before Jesus as the One who can bring clarity and purpose to your life, now and forever. It takes perseverance and KNOWING exactly what reward you are seeking for, as the scripture says in proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). For if you do not know the rewards (the great deluge of the Love of God, mixed with the people, places, and things God has for you, whether in heaven or on earth, or beyond), then one would be tempted to fall off of the course. There are many who seek the Lord for selfish reasons; so they can appear pious and holy before others, or maybe they desire to belong to a higher rank of heaven, or become a great ruler. They have forgotten everything Jesus spoke of, such as, “he who is least among you all, the same shall be great” (Luke 9:48) and “he who humbles himself like this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). There will no doubt be those who are great in heaven; a multitude of Kings and Priests, the Church of the Firstborn, many faithful warriors who have stood up to giants and subdued kingdoms, and the beauty of the living God will be upon us all. But there is such a thing as not desiring to be great; and only these types of people can God truly use in any significant way, because their desires are pure, and the soul is separated and completely yielded to Christ in them. The bottom line is, seek to cleanse yourself with the washing of the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26); seek to understand His Word with a new heart, and new spirit, through deep repentance and confession of sin. Search inwardly and let the light of the truth of God shine into your heart, mind and conscience; for God is able to renew you through His Way. The Christ does indeed grow and form inside the believing soul (Galatians 4:13). Yes, the Christ is a supernatural Seed (called the Word of God) planted in our hearts (see Luke 8:11, 1 Peter 1:23). These are things every believer should understand; that we need to live a life that allows the Life of Christ to form inside of us fully, so that we can go forth and do the Father's works, and, as Jesus said, we will do even greater works than were ever done in Israel (see John 14:12). It is a patient process, but fruit will come forth abundantly and the Father will be glorified. We must not allow the Word to be choked through worldly cares and malnourishment, but press forward in the loving service toward God.