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In March of 2020, like many of you, the events of the world began to affect my life in a whole new way. Suddenly, the government was telling my husband that his occupation was not essential and he needed to close up shop and come home for who knows how long. I found myself curiously puzzled by this because as far as I and my three children were concerned, my husband’s income was entirely essential. However, we went from comfortable income to zero dollars in a matter of days. So, here I was, face to face with another one of those tests of faith that I’d been warned about, read about, and was all too familiar with in the past. How would we react?
You are here for two reasons: To Worship and To Witness.Jason Roddy, Princeton Presbyterian Church, Johnson City, TN
Conquering The Fear
I’d like to tell you we were complete pillars of strength completely trusting in our God and not at all in a state of panic, anger, bitterness, yes, sometimes rage, and any other emotion you can conjure up. But you and I both know that would be a complete load of rubbish. As with any traumatic and scary situation, we experienced the full range of emotions and I am sure many of you could sit down with me over a cup of coffee and share something very similar.
My fear for provision wasn’t very long-lasting as I’ve seen God provide so many times that I immediately began to see His hand of providence and provision all over the circumstances that led up to March 2020, and I was confident that He would not forsake us.
However, another fear soon crept in and that fear remains to this day a torment that I must repent of daily. The fear that big government will swallow up my family and carry us off to captivity in much the same way as they did in Corrie Ten Boom’s, Richard Wurmbrand’s, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s day.
As my head worked hard to recall the promises of God in order to convince my heart not to panic and to bring myself to a state where I could face my children without fear in my eyes, the Lord was always kind and gentle. He reminded me very quickly of His deliverances over and over and of how he provides for his children in the moment of their trial.
When Stephen is about to be stoned to death for sharing the gospel with the crowd, the Word of God tells us:
“But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And He said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”Acts 7:56-57
I read the account of Corrie Ten Boom in, Tramp for the Lord, and was so encouraged by her stories of deliverance time and time and time again.
I spoke to a sister about my fear, especially my fear that my children would be taken from me, and she reminded me ever so gently, “Don’t discount God, Amanda.” As a side note, if you don’t have a sister in your life like this, ask God to provide you with one. We all need godly mentors and sisters we can turn to for counsel, encouragement, and reproof on this journey.
Along with all these events that God continually used to gently guide my heart to repentance and my mind back on His promises, he used the above statement from my pastor. This is it, isn’t it? This is why we are here: To Worship and To Witness!
God Is Seeking True Worshipers
It’s all over the Word of God. You were created and subsequently redeemed because God seeks true worshipers. You are to worship Him and tell others about Him. That’s it! How then shall we live in light of the changing world around us? Worship and Witness!
Over the next several posts and podcasts I want to talk about this theme. Ok, so we are to worship and to witness. What does that mean? Practically speaking, how is that fleshed out in our lives. It’s really simple and, yet, in a world increasingly hostile to the true God of the Scriptures, we often fall down and trip, don’t we?
In John chapter 4, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well,
“But the hour is coming and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”John 4:23-24
Clearly, this passage states that there are “true worshipers” which implies that the opposite must also be the case: there are “false worshipers” as well.
So, if one of the two reasons we are here on this earth is to be a “true worshiper” then wouldn’t it behoove us to learn what God says is “true worship” and what isn’t true worship. Absolutely!
How important is “true worship” to God? Well, turn to the book of Genesis and you will quickly see that God’s desire for true worship and rejection of false worship leads Cain in his pride to murder his own brother. The hardened heart of man will defend false worship even unto death. So be prepared that if you take the path of desiring to offer up true worship to God, you will receive ridicule and scorn. However, the cost is worth it always. If we are here, if we are created, to rightly worship God. If it is true that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, then discovering how He receives our worship rightly is of the utmost importance. Truly, there’s no greater endeavor. All the rest of our duties in life are born out of our life of true worship to God.
Entire worlds have been torn down and recreated over the debate about the true worship of God. The puritans and pilgrims fled to America so they could rightly worship God the way they believed (and I agree with their interpretation by the way) that the Word teaches us to worship God.
Do We Have to Go to Church to Worship?
I’m no expert on this topic, so I will probably seek to share resources more than anything as we discuss this topic, but I feel it’s such a needed discussion to have. So very many Christians today believe that because we know God is everywhere, that we are under no obligation to even attend church on regular basis.
It’s true, we don’t have to go to the temple to access God anymore, thanks to the sacrifice of our Lord and His mediation on our behalf. But, dear friends, the Bible is not silent on the topic of regular corporate worship and fellowship. Jesus is seeking “worshipers” and it’s clear that these worshipers will meet regularly together.
“So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father; and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.Ephesians 5:15-21
True worshipers will worship God by their lives and daily living, but they will also long to worship Him regularly in a corporate setting with other believers. How can you not long to do this and rightly call yourself a worshiper of Jesus Christ? In fact, if you don’t long to be with God’s people in His house on the Lord’s day to worship Him together, then I would at a minimum, ask you to examine yourself as Paul states, to see if you are, in fact, in the faith. We are compelled to love one another and to worship Christ together.
I’d like to share a Facebook Post I had this past week as I was unable to attend church due to sickness in our home. I don’t share this to say I’m super spiritual. I’ve certainly had times where I’ve turned my eyes to the world and been tempted to stay away from church, but over the course of my life and as I face the many trials that come my way, I can honestly say, that my love for God’s people and corporate worship in His house is strong. I’d vote for daily corporate worship if it were up to me and I truly believe that is exactly what all of eternity will be. So in concluding this first installment on “Why are you here?” I ask you these questions and strongly encourage you to evaluate your heart on this matter, repent were necessary, and find a strong doctrinally sound body of believers to worship with every week.
“I don’t comprehend not wanting to be in church? How will you ever enjoy heaven if you don’t enjoy singing the song of the redeemed and hearing God’s Word? What do you imagine you will do for eternity? If the redeemed aren’t “your people” then who are? I just can’t comprehend this thinking. These people…THEY ARE MY FAMILY. Here’s what I long to do…every day…all day…FOREVER!!
After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 2For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” 3Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” 4And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” 5Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”6And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.9Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 10And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.Revelation 19
Getting my eyes focused back on my true purpose enabled me to conquer these fears and continues to keep me in perfect peace as I daily seek to be a “true worshiper of God” and to “tell others of His great works.”
To be continued….
Recommended Resources From This Installment of “How Then Shall We Live”
- AGTV(American Gospel Television)
- Spirit & Truth: How Does God Want To Be Worshiped?
- Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom
- Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand