Worshiping in the light

CLARION CALL

“GET BACK TO THE BIBLE”

In two recant posts on facebook from two different Christian organizations, I noticed something I have seen before. At one venue the house lights were turned off with very bright stage lights and smoke machines working overtime in what looked like a pagan ritual. At the other venue there was no smoke machine and the house lights were on. The differences were noticeable. The one with the lights on and clear air the people were worshiping with their hands raised up in adoration towards the Lord.

The other with the house light off and smoke machine operating with flashing lights with some people standing with their hands in their pockets and other with arms crossed looking around the room. Another reason they stood around was that the song were too complicated and hard to sing. It was a concert where the goats were being entertained and it was a pastor’s conference. I was left asking the question what hope has the church got if it tries to be like the world? I was more encouraged by the first gathering were the light were on and the people could worship the Lord and present themselves as children of the light and they could even sing the words of the songs.

Nightclub

I worked in Night clubs and Pubs as a bouncer and on the doors, where the walls were black, lights flashing and smoke. It is in this type of atmosphere that the truth of the person’s identity is clouded. The resistance to sin is reduced and deeds of darkness took place in corners of darkness.

This not a church its a Nightclub

Now to see this in churches, the walls painted black, the house lights off, lights flashing and smoke machines is a terrible thing. It is true the church that does this to get people to come and feel comfortable is in error. The sin of profane worship is upon us. Churches like this have not much to offer.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (NKJV)

The world is lost and looking for a light. Jesus is the light, but we are meant to be little lights, the Bible that people read. If we are not offering Holiness how can we attract people into the Kingdom of God?

Should we be looking at the atmosphere or gimmicks to get people into the Church or the presence of God?

Light has no shadow! The Bible says, “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

One time I had considered a job of being a pastor at a church in Australia and in the process of finding out about the job the person from that church said they were looking for a younger man to attract you people, but he felt I should still apply. I said, “Thank you” and proceeded to not go any further. You may ask the question, “Why?”. The simple fact it’s not about my age, IT ABOUT JESUS in my life and His presence in the church. The average age in our church in China is less than 25 see it’s not about me.

Eli was priest and judge in Israel, divinely chosen to hold these positions. He was a father of two sons Hophni and Phinehas, whom he did not control, and he was at crossed purposes with his role as Judge in Israel. His sons had no respect for God and the sanctuary and its service. They had lost all sense of holiness and significance of service to God.

As Eli before him had done, Samuel appointed his sons Joel, and Abijah; as judges in Beersheba. Neither of his sons walked in his ways and chased after dishonest gain. They took bribes, and perverted justice. There is no ‘dynasty of godliness’; each generation must make its own commitment to God. The elders of Israel came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

Questions could be asked, “Did Samuel do something wrong?” “What was the problem with these sons?” “Did the elders of Israel do something wrong too?”

Yes. Firstly, Samuel had broken the accepted tradition by appointing his sons to be judges because judges were selected by God and not by man. They were not to have a succession or dynastic mantle to follow.

Secondly, the elders of Israel were wise and right to say they did not want Joel and Abijah because of the evil those young men did.

Thirdly, Samuel was wrong to overlook his son’s indiscretions.

Finally, it was the elders’ request that were wrong too, even though it had been prophesied many years before that Israel would have a king. It was their motivation that was wrong; “to be like all the nations”. They wanted to be like the world.

David instructed his son, Solomon to follow the architectural and operational plan for the building of the temple (I Chronicles 28:11). In each case, when they followed the pattern, the glory of God was manifested and God’s purposes were fulfilled.

Much of Western Church growth is church migration and methodologies following their own patterns, but often lacking the blueprint of God. The Scriptures present patterns for worship and patterns for prayer. Most germane to our study, patterns can be found, beginning in the Old Testament, for building God’s Kingdom in the earth. The nation of Israel was always moving away from this and the question could be asked today, “Are we also moving away by trying to be like the world?”

The book of Exodus has tremendous spiritual significance as God outlines, through Moses, His system of Law, His Priestly structure and institutional worship for the nation. He established the Israelites as a nation of free people under Him (Exodus 19:3-6). It depicts the return of man to the Garden of Eden, where God will dwell as the Ark and Tabernacle in their midst (Exodus 25-31, 35-40).

In Psalm 99:5 it tells us to exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool, thus alluding to coming to a place where God sits.

Is God sitting in darkness or does He shine with Glory?
Should we bring darkness into His presence? If we do does He not shine on it to remove it from us?
Are we to manifest the darkness or the light?

The Holy Place was a place of worship and duty for the priests. Here they would fill with oil the Candlestick replace the Showbread and burn incense on the altar which represents a further period of formation and submission for and to the journey ahead. The Holy Place is a place of separation and a place of prayer on behalf of the nation (Genesis 1: 9- 13). Candlestick or oil lamp light. LIGHT

The Holy of Holies was God’s dwelling place was in the Old Testament and was filled by His brilliant glory which is BRIGHT LIGHT.

We have a different dispensation with the Holy Spirit living in us. We can enter by a new and living way found in and through Jesus (Hebrews 10:20). We may enter boldly to the throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16) but it must be remembered that we can only do that in a certain humble way as mentioned above.

Read about King Hezekiah found in 2 Chronicles 29:1-36; 30:1-27; 31:1-21. He sets out the order.

We need to follow certain practical Biblical steps of faith, as King Hezekiah did. Putting it simply, it means a renewal of obedience to God, according to the Word of God. If we read the Word of God we will find many instructions, and if we follow them they may bring blessings, but then if we are reading them and God speaks to our heart there will a greater blessing.

2Chronicles 29:1-5 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem. His mother was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. : 2 Hezekiah obeyed the LORD by doing right, just as his ancestor David had done. : 3 In the first month of the first year of Hezekiah’s rule, he unlocked the doors to the LORD’s temple and had them repaired. :4 Then he called the priests and Levites to the east courtyard of the temple :5 and said: It’s time to purify the temple of the LORD God of our ancestors. You Levites must first go through the ceremony to make yourselves clean, then go into the temple and bring out everything that is unclean and unacceptable to the LORD. (CEV)

Ø Verse 1/ Hezekiah had a position of responsibility to God and the people.
Ø Verse 2/ Hezekiah in obedience to God followed the precepts of his ancestor King David.
Ø Verse 3/ Hezekiah opened and repaired the door of the temple.
Ø Verse 4/ Hezekiah set things in motion by calling the priests to assemble.
Ø Verse 5/ Hezekiah gave two directives.

o Sanctify yourselves
o Remove that which is unclean and unacceptable

We as Christian know that God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), in Him all that is visible and the invisible, were created (Colossians 1:16-17). If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1John 1:7). We also know that Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12) and that we the sons of light and the sons of the day too. We are not of the night, or of darkness (1Thessalonians 5:4-5) and that we have been sent to the world as a light to share about salvation (Acts 13:47) found in Jesus.

Do we have a God that will lead people who have breathing problems into a smoke filled room which could cause them to have an asthmatic reaction? NO

Do we have a God that will people into a room with flashing lights that could set off an epileptic seizure? NO

Do we have a God who would want you to put poison into your body which could kill you? NO

NO is the answer to the above questions even if it is for only one person who could be affected. We will see some churches sued for causing some negative reactions because of this trend.

People who want to be like the world with tattoos and body piercing to get people to church are falling into the sin of unbelief. Do you notice how many song leaders are getting tattoos on their forearms so when they hold the mic so people can see them; drawing attention away from Jesus to the flesh. I am not talking about people who had them before they got saved.
God is looking for people who have a life of worship and churches that reflect that too and not what we are seeing now.

Many pastors are going to hell because of what they are doing by calling it God’s moving.

You may have a concert but don’t call it worship as it does not have a Biblical precedent.

We are children of the light, not the dark!

Repentance is needed in the House of the Lord.

 

When the whole teaching of the Bible is considered, it has to be consistent not excluding some!

Let us get back to the Bible and walk in the light then we will go forward in power.

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Grace is not free, someone must pay!

I know not why God’s wondrous grace!

W. Whittle (1883)

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

We have heard in the church today, “We are hoping for grace to cover that”. Is that possible or do we need to have some input into receiving grace?

Grace; wondrous grace is part of God’s nature and part of ours too, but sadly our grace is corrupted.

We all have been hurt by words that have been spoken about us and we have spoken words that have hurt others. That is not to mention pain that is of a physical nature too.

Within grace we find an element of mercy and it is in this that we find our part to play. Our part is to make a request to God for mercy so He can show His grace. However, we find it hard to show grace to our brothers and sisters.

We all want grace from God through asking for mercy when we were guilty of sin and we are legally obliged pay.

Love, grace and mercy flow from the throne of God like a river of life to revive all who call on His name and seek forgiveness, and it is available to all, even though not all call for His mercy.

Grace is part of God’s nature.

God must be merciful and He will be merciful but only to those who ask. Yes, that is right; we all need to be set free of sin!

Ezra 9:9 For we were slaves, yet our God has not left us in our bondage, but has given mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us some life, to set up the house of our God, and to repair its waste, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. (MKJV)

We have been set free from the bondage of sin and death by the grace and love of a wonderful God through the Divine sacrifice on the cross of Golgotha for the atonement of our sins.

Neither death nor sin can hold us down any more now that we have been set free. It is through this new-found transformation that we can walk in life with our heads held high and a smile on our faces.

There is a price to be paid for sin and someone must pay it. God demands justice for sin because His Divine Law must be maintained. On the other hand, He supplies by the free gift of grace the salvation of mankind through the death and resurrection of His Son because His love is so great.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. (MKJV)

Gracious

God is immutable or changeless with grace always existing as a part of His character. This divine benevolence hit its highest peak with the gracious act of Jesus willingly submitting to the humiliation of crucifixion. His gift of grace to men is a perfect description of His character; God is the one who initiated salvation in an act of propitiation. His desire is to display and make known to men His salvation, was fully manifested in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. This demonstrates His character of grace which is greater than the Law.

Nehemiah 9:17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. (KJV)

God is compassionate, merciful and full of grace

Graciousness

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, for your sakes He became poor, in order that you might be made rich through His poverty. (MKJV)

Act 13:39  And by Him all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.

Grace was shown by God from the first act of killing an animal to cover their sin in the Garden with Adam and Eve up to us today and will be shown by God forever and ever. This grace was a covering where in the new Covenant in Jesus’ it’s the blood that removes all sin up to the point of salvation. The spirit of man has been restored and the heart cleansed from sin. It deals with the new Legal rights/position of the believer purely received from God by grace.

Please note that there was no act of repentance on the part of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, even though grace was shown by God, so we must conclude that another element besides grace is needed to avoid presumption and keep us in right relationship with God. That element is repentance on our part. And Adam never repented in the Garden!

Past, present and future sins are removed by God’s perpetual grace but we need to have perpetual repentance for any new sins, so that we stay in right relationship with God.

The Mercy Seat of God represents Holiness, Righteousness and Justice of God, the final demonstration of God’s propitiation by the Blood of Jesus. The Blood of Jesus meant that God could still exercise His judgment on sin and be able to show grace to His creation.

Tablets of the Law / Grace

The record of transgression have been removed from God’s records by the act of grace. God’s grace is greater than the Law. Our new Legal position is we are under grace not the Law, but move outside of Jesus and the law by your actions then you move back into condemnation.

The Pot of Manna / Grace

The rejection of God’s provision is now covered by grace. Our new Legal position allows us to receive God’s provision.

Aaron’s Rod / Grace

Revolt against God’s authority no longer applies because of our new Legal position again given to us by grace.

Even with our new legal position we need to be aware that there are areas we still need to guard against because they will still try to master us, but by diligence we can overcome.

With Jesus bringing His Blood and sprinkling it on the Mercy Seat means God could still exercise His judgment on sin and be able to show grace to his creation.

1John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins. (MKJV)

The final demonstration of God’s propitiation by the Blood of Jesus is surely a powerful demonstration of God’s love to us.

1John 2:2 And He is the propitiation concerning our sins, and not concerning ours only, but also concerning the sins of all the world. (MKJV)

As we have seen propitiation satisfies the righteousness of a Holy God, making it possible for Him to show mercy without compromise, this shows the consistency of God’s character of love. God’s attributes are never compromised.

Mark 1:15 and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God draws near. Repent, and believe the gospel. (MKJV)

Jesus became the tabernacle of God in the flesh and as the first fruit of a new creation He showed us the fulfilment of the promises of God.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and tabernacle among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth. (MKJV)

1Corianthians 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruit, and afterward they who are Christ’s at His coming; (MKJV)

It is not only the example of His life that we follow, but also the legal blessing presented to us by God.

1Peter 2:21 For you were not called to this? For Christ also suffered on our behalf, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps, (MKJV)

If Jesus had broken any of the Law, then the Divine Law of God could not be satisfied. The benefit of His fulfilling the Law is that we now have a New Legal standing. This new position is available to all whether people believe or not. It’s not about believing it’s about asking for forgiveness.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God. (MKJV)

If the Cross of Jesus is the focal point in the history of mankind for the forgiveness of sin then the resurrection is the focal point for the delivery of all the promises of God. It is at this point that the resurrection of Jesus demonstrated to all the heavens that He was the Son of God and that death and sin couldn’t hold Him down. He had defeated them.

Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. (MKJV)

Romans 4:25 who was delivered because of our offenses and was raised for our justification. (MKJV)

2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the eternal times. 10 But it is now having been manifested by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has made death of no effect, bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel; (MKJV)

The judgment of death and sin against us has been absolved and we have been exculpated and exonerated. We have been vindicated, validated, legalized and exonerated by what Jesus has done; therefore, we are now sons of God. The only condition is that we have believed and repented.

It is God through His Son who upholds and maintains our position in His Kingdom. We have been exculpated from any effort to win favour from God in regards to our Salvation; we receive this by His grace and love. Once we have met the dynamics of believing and repenting, the only thing we need to do is know what the Word of God says and use it in our defence.

On application for MERCY you will receive initial salvation and then our on-going salvation is by meeting some requirements of obedience and repentance throughout our Christian life we will be saved or are being saved daily and finally we will avoid any punishments that will befall all sinners.

When we read John 3:18-21 we see that it does not nullify John 3:16 & 17 but qualifies them by saying it’s not an automatic thing that a person will receive this grace. The message is clear; if you do not believe in Jesus then you are condemned. You may know a great deal about Jesus and still be condemned!

John 3:18-21 He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. 1And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who practices truth comes to the Light so that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God. (MKJV)

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (MKJV)

Grace cost Jesus everything to bring this salvation to us.  Grace will cost us our pride, stubbornness and our unwillingness to repent. Therefore, God’s grace does have a cost! All we need to do to get this free gift is ask for MERCY through the act of repentance and then for the remainder of our lives we will grow in our understanding of how we received this grace and to show grace towards others.

Remember: We have to be consistent and apply the whole teaching of the Bible to our lives. And “whole” means Old and New Testaments alike.

Let us get back to the Bible and be obedient to the commandment, then we will go in power.