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Sunday, September 23, 2012

The True Worship of God

'God [ is ] Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.'


 Newspaper Exegesis?

In this day and age, we have many Christians who throw up their hands at the latest outbreak of hatred, whether in the Middle East or in our own nation, news of the latest natural disaster to strike, or the latest religious scandal to signal 'the falling away', and say, 'Jesus is coming soon'! They believe that this world is under the dominion of 'Satan' ( rather than God ), and that 'he' is the cause of all this evil, which does seem to be escalating and growing more rampant with each passing day!

You hear a lot of talk, especially among conspiracy theorists and anti-government 'whackos', of the coming one-world government, and you may well believe it! There is most likely more truth to the 'rumors' and 'murmurs' than most of us feel comfortable admitting. Although this is most probably ( to some, 'undoubtedly' ) happening as we speak, and quite possibly further along in planning and closer in actuality than even they had imagined, we, as Christians especially, must realize who the True Ruler of this world is! These are simply the plans and machinations of evil men, men who were created by the God we serve, and thus, whether they like it or not, are completely and utterly subservient to him; 'under His thumb', so to speak!

These same Christians ( I'm almost inclined to employ quotation marks here ) 'see' all these events happening all around us, and all the evil that seems to run rampant without check through this world, and say things like, 'how could a good and righteous God allow this evil in the world?', or make statements like, 'if God was really in full and total control of this world, all this evil would not exist'; 'no, just wait till He comes back; He will set everything to rights again!'

Really?!

This is not going to be an essay about preterism; I'm not going to go to any great lengths to try to prove that all is fulfilled! My purpose is to remind all my fellow Christians ( no quotations here ) that, as Jesus said in the verse above, we are to worship Him 'in spirit and truth'. Most Christians will readily admit that when Jesus spoke these words, He was referring to the fact that it was no longer in a specific place that He was to be worshiped, like the Temple ( in Jerusalem ), or on the high places ( in Samaria ), but that wherever His people were, He would be worshiped 'in spirit and truth'. So many of us today, I believe, do not really understand this, or realize the full import of this statement. Jesus first of all said that His followers would worship Him 'in spirit', which we could safely assume to have the basic meaning outlined above, but He also said that we would worship Him 'in....truth'. Here's where we get into the 'tricksy' part, the biblical argument for fulfillment; I'm not going there ( 'been there, done that' ); better men than I have done an excellent job of showing ( proving ) that. All I would tell my fellow Christians ( again, no quotations ); look at all of these passages that you've been told by your pastor, etc. teach that this world is in the grasp of the devil ( 'Satan' ) and that God is not ruling on earth, that His Kingdom has not come 'on earth as it is in heaven', as Jesus Himself, the Son of God prayed, with all honesty, and then try to tell me that the above is true! I think you will find that the Spirit of the most Holy God will begin to convict you and show you that He has fulfilled, and is continually fulfilling, all His promises to His people!

 And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2:35b

Does this sound like 'a one world order' to you? It sure does to me! John wrote, in Revelation 11:15, 'The kingdoms of this world have become [ the kingdoms ] of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!' Even when taken in the context of the time and place in history in which these statements were made, it is pretty clear what these men of God were saying; 'The earth [ is ] the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.' ( Psalm 24:1a ) 'This is Our Father's World'; this is a fact which no true Christian will deny, so why do we have such a problem believing what He Himself said about when He was coming, and what He said about His rule of this world?

When we disbelieve that He spoke truthfully to His first-century disciples of His soon ( 'about to be' ) coming, and attribute the dominion and rule of this world to a 'creature' that He said was defeated and cast out ( destroyed ) in the first century, can we truly say that we worship Him 'in spirit and truth'? When we spread hatred and discord ( disunity ) around the world, and even around our own country, within the bonds of peace, can we truly be said to be followers of Jesus?

Let us all be honest with ourselves, and realize who the True King of this 'New World Order' is, and worship Him 'in spirit and truth', following the path of truth and righteousness that He has set before us!

In Love, and for the unity of the faithful,
Charles Haddon Shank

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