Summary: The central issue of human life, to be resolved, is that of worship.
September 18, 2004
The central issue of life is worship. This has been the case from the very beginning. Worship was the central issue for the first war. In eternity past, the sin of pride entered Lucifer’s heart and he became jealous of God, wanting to be the one who received heaven’s adoration and worship. He wanted all of heaven, including God, to bow down to him. He wanted to be the one in charge, and this led to the organizing of the universe’s first rebellion and war. There was mutiny in heaven, and it was over worship.
Lucifer and his followers were cast from heaven, but the effort to unseat God from His throne was not over. Following Jesus’ baptism, Jesus went to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. At the heart of this encounter with Satan was the issue of worship.
Matt.4.9- Worship was at the centre of the last offer Satan made to Jesus.
Because of this history, let us not think that worship is not central to our lives, too. The central and most important issue to be resolved, in human lives, has to do with worship. Who will you worship? Whom will those created in God’s image worship? Before whom will the heavens and earth bow? The reality is that we all have to serve somebody- we all have to worship someone, and we are called to choose. We have declared our choice, I know- this is what happens in public declaration of Jesus as personal Saviour, and in the public affirming of this in the ceremony of baptism. But let us not think that once this declaration has been made that we’re done. Let us not think that once done finishes the battle and the cause of worship in our lives. This is not the case. Daily, we have to declare our allegiance and faithfulness to God.
Ro.12.1- Paul, the mature Christian, through writing to the Roman church, tells us to be living sacrifices. This instructs us about the need for constant worship. Let us get some idea of what is involved by looking back at what was involved in primitive sacrifice.
Lev.1.1ff- what was involved here? What was involved was the sacrifice of everything. The whole being of the sacrificial animal was involved. Notice the detail of the process. What does it mean to ‘flay’? (Does anyone know?) What does skin provide? It provides protection, covering, beauty, hides flaws, toughness- but it all had to go before the sacrifice could be made- all that outer covering had to disappear first. There are some lessons in this for us, aren’t there? When we come to worship God, we have to do so without all we might use to protect us or cover us or make us out to be more, or different, than we really are ‘under our skin’.
Comparing Paul’s message and the example of the ancient sacrifices shows us that being living sacrifices requires more than form of us. It requires more than part of us. It requires our complete selves. It require more than just dedicating a closet to God, or a house, but takes hold of the entire person, and has the whole life dedicated to God.
How do we so offer ourselves? How do we so bow down before God continually? Jesus tells us how to do this, as he instructed his disciples. As his 21st century disciples, the same instruction and guidance are ours.
Jn.15.10- Jesus tells us of our need to be in obedience to His commandments. This obedience, which is referred to several times in Jesus’ words, and those of others we’ll see, is important to the Christian life. What are the commandments of Jesus? Clearly, they are what we read in Matt.22.37-39, and other places that restate this.
Now, I know what comes to mind when we read this. I know what comes to our minds. “Oh, yes, I know. Jesus summed up the 10 commandments in theses two, so really it’s just the 10 put a little differently. The first 4 are in the 1st, and the last 6 are in the 2nd.” No! That’s wrong. We taught that wrongly and you and I have to wrestle to get that out of our minds. That interpretation is patently incorrect and leads us to wrong conclusions. What that interpretation does is to establish the 10 as the most important, so we default to trying to keep the 10 commandments.
No, no, no!
The 2 are the more ancient. They existed from the very beginning. The 10 commandments were NOT in force before Moses, contrary to sermons I have given, in years past, and that we’ve written about and taught. The 10 are a ‘dumbing down’ of the 2 for a people without access to spirituality at the highest levels. The 2 were before the 10 and are after the 10. The 2 are where we are to begin- and where God ever intended people to begin, not the 10, and the 10 are not meant to be worshipped, as they are by far too many people, and exalted. Now, you might not see the difference. But it’s great. Do you begin at God’s level, or at a human level? Do you begin at the higher level, or at the lower? It does make a difference to your spirituality. Be sure you are thinking accurately and correctly. Challenge yourself. Do NOT exalt the 10 anymore. Exalt Jesus Christ and what He declared. This is fundamental- will you exalt Jesus or Moses? That’s the choice. Will you exalt the more spiritual or the less spiritual? That’s the fundamental choice before us on this matter.