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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Worship Me, Obey Me

“Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
 
Much today in Protestantism is all about worship. We have a new thirst for worship. This is new. Yes, Protestants have worshiped during the past 500 years, but, not with the new fervor we see today. True, the three angels’ messages say “worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:7). But, it also begins with, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His Judgment is come.”
 
So, worship must be very important in the last days; but, especially in light of Judgment. We should want to please the Judge, which is the reinstated position God has in the end. In the end, God is freed from the accusations of the adversary’s great controversy. And at that time, He will straighten out the distorted, twisted misunderstandings created by Satan’s character assassination of Him.
 
But that Judgment is yet to come. In the meantime, the character of God still suffers from misconceptions, even by His holy people. According to this prelude to the first angel’s message, worship and giving God glory are synonymous. And that may sound like what we see happening in the denominations’ worshipfests today. But, I must ask, What does giving God glory mean? Does it mean singing about how much we love Him? “I love You, I love You, I love You”, like some Beatles song? Is giving God glory only singing about how great He is? How gracious He is? How much love He has to go around?
 
What about the rest of the first angel’s message prelude? “Fear God.” Oh, you mean respect God like a father! Oh, you mean reverence God like a big, soft, wizened grandfather! No, I think the angel meant to fear God because He will be your sentencing Judge. Judgment time having come, or the warning that it is soon to come, is the context of Fear God. And the angels are heaven’s policemen and therefore God’s bailiffs, who excel in strength and bear not their sword in vain.
 
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the Judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” (Dan. 7:9-11). Judgment means serious business.

(If anyone wants to see more about that executive Judgment, go to Revelation 19:20, and see that the beast and the false prophet go into the burning flame when Jesus returns in destructive power to lay the earth low. Later, after a millennium in heaven with the saved of all nations and all ages, Jesus will come back again the third time to give Satan to the burning flame.)
 
But, some say, What about: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1Jn. 4:18)???? They say, That kind of fear does not sound alarming.
 
True. But what about, “Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19)? “Then how shall God judge the world?” (Rom. 3:6). Paul saw that there must be a need for fear and guilt and shame. Read 1 Corinthians 7:27-31 and you get the sense of last day urgency with the apostolic church. They had love and joy in the Holy Ghost. But, true love can also fear before God.
 
The question of Judgment time should cause us to ask ourselves, “Do I really love God like I think I do?” Judgment day should make us examine ourselves to know for sure whether or not we are walking by faith, not after the flesh but after the Spirit. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2Cor. 13:5). With every judge’s decision comes an examination, and trepidation—fear. Will I end up in punishment or justified? Is my defense as sound as I thought? Is my record clear? Is my love perfectly selfless? Will it pass His perfect inspection? Any thinking person will tremble in the court room. And every human being should tremble during the investigative judgment, and the soon coming final decisions of that 170 year investigation.
 
“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people….
It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev. 23:27-30,32).
 
While the heavenly sanctuary is being cleansed and the cases of God’s people are being decided upon, we are to be afflicting our souls. Why? Because the Day of Atonement is very serious business. To not afflict the soul is to be cut off from God. That doesn’t mean that we should be looking for our faults and mistakes, and castigating and flagellating our mind. But it does mean that we should all be actively studying the scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, which will reveal to us our flaws and mistakes. We should read them for information and communication from Jesus. But, fear not if you hear a lot of correction and instruction. You will find that no one measures up to the high standard. But, that is good; or, as Paul would say call it, “holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). That means that God is infinitely better than we. And, convicted of sin, we will have something for which to beg God for His help and forgiveness. He must give us repentance. Then all own self-manufactured repentance will be repented of with disgust and thrown out.
 
[On that note, “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” (Rom. 2:4). But, how do we consider His goodness outside of what we see in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy? Is He good to me if He does me good and life is nice to me all the time, or I will grumble and doubt His love? (I have heard people talk like that, have you ever heard it?) Is that the goodness that leads a proud, self-centered sinner to repentance?  Or, is His goodness the troubles that we should get, but our continuous seeking Him allows Him to stave off the worst of the troubles? We get some trouble, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. That’s goodness isn’t it? We deserve some trouble! The full bad treatment we should get because we deserve it, Jesus doesn’t give to us because He already took it upon Himself. “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. With His stripes we are healed.’” Desire of Ages, p. 25. And also, isn’t His goodness that leads us to repentance the blessings that come to us round the clock that we take for granted so much of the time, none of which our good behavior is entitled to or warrants; but He loves to bless us with them anyway? Our reasons for worship need some reform. Our conceptions of His grace need some working on. Then will our light break forth as the morning, and our health will spring forth speedily. Worshiping God will be different than it is now.]

The three angels’ messages about Judgment Day begin with “Fear God.” (Rev. 14:7). If we love Him, we won’t mind to fear Him. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” (Ps. 103:13). Children love their fathers. Let us fear God in love; and if our fear toward Him is genuine, so will be our love for Him. Fear God in worship. Worship Him in fear. “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” (Ps. 2:11). Fear and worship Him in the context of His Judgment. Is Judgment Day getting closer? Don’t the shootings and wars and other impending troubles make us wake up and feel “the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:8)?
 
We have a precedent to a Judgment Day that came without fearing God. It happened three months after the deliverance from Egypt. God coming down to visit His newly freed people would only happen once in human history. So, Moses publically sanctified the people and required them to afflict their souls by washing their clothes. They were also to put a pause on the sexuality, even though the people were legally married. Nothing must keep them from having a clean heart and an undistracted mind when God arrived to betroth them to Himself.
 
“And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.” (Ex. 19:18-20).
 
After God spoke with powerful overtures and appeals in thunder, the children of Israel rightly feared God with all their heart. “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” (Ex. 20:18-20).
 
The Lord had to prove them—show them what He expected of them. He delivered them from their oppressor so that He could be their new Master—their new Husband. And as any jealous husband would be, He expected fidelity. They were to serve no other gods except their Master who created heaven and earth and who redeemed them from the spiritualism and debauchery of the world’s greatest kingdom.
 
“I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” 

The measured, unwavering, solemn tones rolled through the earth.  
 
“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”
 
Again, the same power and solemnity rolled through the earth.

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”

More rolling echoes...

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me”

And again...

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.” (Ex. 20:2-6).
 
Christ had to be clear on the terms of the relationship because the unholy adversary was always near to steal their hearts away from their holy God. And sure enough, 40 days later they were worshiping Jesus, but the wrong Jesus. The Jesus they were serving was the wily master from Egypt whispering them back into his arms, not the new Master who saved them from bondage.
 
“And when Aaron saw it [the golden calf he had just fashioned], he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD [Heb. Yehôvâh]” (Ex. 32:5). Aaron called everyone together to worship Jehovah! Wonderful! But, what kind of worship was it? Pagan worship to Jehovah!
 
Do we see why every exhortation to worship, and every proclamation of a worshipfest, even if we are singing, “God I love You”, doesn’t assume that the worship is to the one true God? As we just noted, there are many false Gods, even named Jehovah. And Paul clearly wrote that there are also many Lords (1 Cor. 8:5), i.e. many who are worshiped in the name of Jesus. He also wrote that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (2Cor. 11:14). Aaron calling for worship in Jehovah’s name didn’t make it worship to Jehovah. Singing His holy name and praying to His holy name didn’t change the Lord’s disposition one iota toward their atheistic prayers and heathen games and debauched nakedness.

They were breaking the Lord’s relationship covenant by breaking His commandments, which is why Moses came down and threw down and broke the brand new Ten Commandments, ground down the golden calf, and rounded up the rebels by the edge of the sword. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9). Worse than simply breaking Jehovah’s commandments; they were doing it in Jehovah’s name. They were breaking the covenant with Jesus, which they had just agreed to; and they were doing it in the name of Jesus. They took His name in vain.

“All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 366. It was Jesus who came down upon Sinai and with whom the children of Israel made the covenant.
 
We need to examine ourselves and our worship, whether we be in the faith. What kind of worship does the Lord really want? He wants our obedience to His prescribed will, during Sabbath and all week long. He desires worship by obedience, first; then our Sabbath worship will be genuine, a sweet savour to the Lord. He wants no other god before the one true God. “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.” “Shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments” (Ex. 20:6); but, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” (Ex. 20:5).
 
Jesus told His disciples, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15). And later He said, “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14).
 
This is true worship. Worship is love, but a love that never seeks to trample upon the holy will of Christ. He wants us to be friends, as Abraham and the other Old Testament servants. But, they never, never presumed upon His friendliness. Satan loves to draw us into presumptuous worship to a God who is unduly friendly. With Satan you can have grace, grace, only grace! But, that worship is to a familiar spirit.

True worship wants to respectfully serve Christ, which means seeking to make life easier for Him. It wants to comfort Him from all the troubles that we and other sinners have given Him. Would we want to cause discomfort to or upset a girlfriend or boyfriend, our mother or father? Jesus isn’t asking for anything more than what our earthly relationships ask of us. It’s not asking too much to prove our love by doing the will of our loved ones. Would Jesus ever be whimsical in anything that He commands us? Would He make selfish and egotistical requests in order for us to grovel at His feet and submit to His control of us? No, His commandments are for our good and for those we deal with. Thus, ultimately His commandments do Him good and ease His heart, because His children’s obedience to Him cause love for each other, and love covers a mountain of sins.
 
Not only that, but obedience has a special bonus. Every other worship which doesn’t keep His commandments also doesn’t receive His promised Spirit. But, we receive a special reward for holding His holy doctrine close. We get two-way communication service through the written word of God! As Jesus promised,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7).
 
“He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21).
 
“If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:23).
 
No more faking true worship. No more practicing the presence of Christ. We have the real thing instead of imaginary. Those who know His word have the real bonafide presence of our Lord and God.
 
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:11).
“I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” (Ps. 16:8,9).
 
Jesus is our stumbling Stone who is set for the fall and rising again of many, wherever they are, in or out of the church, Christian or heathen, atheistic, hedonistic, gay, or criminal. If you will fall on His Law, His words, His statutes, His Testimonies, and be broken, you will throw your sins into the depths of the bottomless pit. And He will lock the lid shut.

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