The Danger of Corrupt Worship
Bishop Melvin L. Maughmer, Jr.
SCRIPTURE: - John 4:23-24 says “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth”.
OPENING: - Over the past couple of weeks God has been dealing with me on praise and worship. Much of what we call and do as worship today has degenerated into a form of entertainment, involving anything and everything except offering a sacrifice of praise and reverence to a Holy God. Although there are all different kinds of styles and shapes and forms of worship, we must ensure our focus of worship is on God, on His holiness, and His majesty. Spiritually and emotionally we must be moved to a sense of awe and reverence for God, if that is not done then all that was done was entertainment and bodily exercise and the Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise profiteth little...”
Amos 5:21-24 says “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream”. God tells Israel about their corrupt worship He says He hates what their idea of worship is and how He will not accept it. He says take away the noise of thy songs and thy string instruments, because it is nothing more than corrupt worship.
The Bible says in Psalm 100:1-5 “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Let me propose here that this is joyful noise is unto the Lord not our own personal gratification. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations”.
Unfortunately, a lot of what we call worship today does not lead into a corporate care and concern for the masses but has literally become a privatized experience of a select few that promotes self-glorification and one’s own personal edification.
We must remember Worship occurs when people encounter God who loves them and desires a relationship with them. “Worship does not lead to an encounter with God. It is an encounter with God”.
The purpose of our worship is to glorify, honor, praise, exalt, and please God. Our worship must show our adoration and loyalty to God for His grace in providing us with the way to escape the bondage of sin, so we can have the salvation He so much wants to give us.
There is a Catholic Catechism that says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever”.
What Does Glorify Mean?
In Hebrew, the word glorify is kabod; and in the Greek, it is doxazo. First, to glorify means to shine, to demonstrate and to manifest the divine. In other words, glory represents the Lord’s presence.
Second the word glory means to reflect, to show forth, to demonstrate and to express the image of an object or person so that it may be seen by all. In the New Testament doxazo can mean to signify, extol and ascribe honor to, and worship. It is most often used of an external manifestation. According to the Bible, to glorify God means to bring Christ’s glory or radiance to light, to manifest it or to reflect it. When we glorify God, we are reflecting how awesome and amazing He is through our actions and attitudes.
To glorify God means we bring Him honor through what we say, how we act, and how we think. To glorify God means to acknowledge His glory and to value it above all things. It means we make it known to others. It means we have a heartfelt gratitude. We glorify God through our faith, through our love and through our desire to obey Him. We glorify God through our desire to know Him. We glorify Him when we worship Him. However, our worship must be done according to His Word. Since worship must be done according to His we must search our hearts and our worship practices to make sure that they are not displeasing to the Lord. Understand if our worship is not done according to the Word of God, we must change it regardless of what we have been accustomed to.
John 4:23-24 says “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth”. This is the basic principle of worship that Jesus taught.
This causes us to ask the question: - Why is it so important to glorify God and Worship Him correctly? Simply put, it is what we were created to do. God created us for His own glory. In Isaiah 43:7 says “Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.”
We were made to glorify God. Worship and the glory of God are intricately connected in Scripture Leviticus 10:1–3; Hebrews 12:18–29, therefore; we must pay close attention to how we structure worship and what we do in worship since we are to glorify God and not entertain mankind. We must realize that our worship must be pleasing unto God and there are dangers and consequences of corrupt worship, which is worship[ that is not pleasing to God.
Let me first give a few examples: - In Genesis 4 we find the His-story of Cain and Abel. Abel offered the proper sacrifice and his worship was accepted by God. Cain did not worship God in spirit and in truth, he had a form of worship that was corrupt because it was not according to the Word of God. Because he didn’t worship God the way God prescribed worship to be done his worship was denied by God. He then became angry, jealous, and eventually a murderer and made to wander with a mark upon him from God. It was a downward spiral that started because of corrupt worship. Because his heart was not in it, God did not accept His offering.
Now I know there may be someone that will say well my heart is in my worship Bishop. Understand having the heart of worship is good however, it is not enough to make our praise and worship pleasing to God.
One of the most enthusiastic worship services in history was done in Exodus 32 when the children of Israel after coming out of Egypt began to worship in the wilderness. Because they had a misunderstanding of who God is and how to worship Him correctly – WATCH THIS: - they started to worship in a way they were accustomed to, what they had learned while in Egypt and therefore began to worship out of tradition instead of relationship and because of their misconception of God and worship of Him they began to worship the golden calf saying this is our God, and as you know that did not end well some 3000 people were killed for their sin of corrupt worship.
In Leviticus 10:1-2 “Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord”. God had given very specific and detailed instructions on how incense was to be brought and what exactly was to be brought before the Lord in the Tabernacle. Remember that the incense represent the prayers and the worship of the people, but these two sons of Aaron the priest, that corrupted worship ignored those instructions and were killed because of corrupt worship.
Understand that in our worship, we may say all the right things, but if our hearts are not in it, the Lord is displeased with our worship. Similarly, our hearts may be fully into worshiping God, but if we entertain falsehood in our worship or praise Him in a manner that is not prescribed in Scripture, we displease God. We must emphasize both heartfelt praise of God and worship that is structured according to His Word.
Romans 1 Paul talks of the degeneration that occurs when the human heart turns away from the worship of God. In verses 21 – 28 Paul marks three levels of this degrading worship from truth.
We find the first level in verse 21 which says, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened”. They will not honor Him as God or give thanks the way God requires; they are more concerned will self-glorification and selfish ambitions.
In 1 Kings 12:25-33, Jeroboam, the first king of Israel feared the people would return to the king of Judah because God required that they go to Jerusalem to present their sacrifices (Worship). Jeroboam being insecure and seeking self-glorification, feared that if the Israelites continued to make the pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem as they were supposed to because that was the place God appointed for sacrifice, they would be tempted to put themselves back under the reign of Rehoboam, king of Judah, so he set up two altars so the people could worship God without going to Jerusalem. He built “two calves of gold” and put them at Dan and Bethel, causing the people to worship them which was corrupt of the why God commanded. Because they did not follow God’s law of how He wanted to be worshiped, their worship of the true God was flawed. This flawed worship quickly degenerated into false worship of false Gods.
Another example of corrupt worship is that of King David in 2 Samuel 6 for trying to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, but he did not do it according to the Lord’s instructions Numbers 4:15; 7:9; Deuteronomy 31:9. It was loaded on a cart being pulled by an ox instead of having the priests carry it. There was quite a celebration going on as the ark was making its way up to Jerusalem until the cart hit a bump, and Uzzah reached out his had to steady the ark. At this point God’s anger broke out and Uzzah was struck dead for his irreverence verse 7. At first glance this seems cruel of God, but WATCH THIS:- Uzzah was the son of Abinadab, whose house the Ark of the Covenant stayed in for 20 years. Uzzah had become comfortable being around the Ark of the Covenant and therefore, because of his comfortability did what he was not supposed to do in reverence to worship. When our worship becomes comfortable that we take it for granted, we often offer corrupt worship because we do what we desire and not what God commands.
The second level of degeneration is found in verse 25 which says “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen”. It is the exchange of the truth of God for a lie so that the creature is worshiped and served rather than the creator. This is most obvious in pagan idolatry. God responds by giving them over to their degrading passions. This is why sexual perversion is so often tied in with idol worship. The mind is no longer functioning properly, and emotion and passion are leading the person rather than truth.
Today materialism and hedonism which is simply pleasure and self-indulgence tops the list of such idolatry. People bow down to the idols of material success and pleasure more than giving honor and worship to God. These are the gods that give them meaning in life and for which they live
The Old Testament is a record of God’s judgement against idolatry in all its forms. Time after time God chastised the Israelites people for slipping into idolatry. He had already judged the nations that were before Israel because of their idolatry. Finally, it was the reason for Israel and Judah being taken into captivity. Even though there was a revival under King Josiah, God declared to him in 2 Kings 22:17, “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.”
The final level of degeneration is found in verse 28 which says, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient”. When there is the suppression of truth leads to even cessation of the acknowledgment of God. God’s response is to give them over to a reprobate mind. A mind that can no longer discern even basic logic.
King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:30 – 32 says “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will”.
While these words were still in the king’s mouth God’s judgement came against him and Nebuchadnezzar lost his ever-loving mind and became deranged and lived out in the fields grazing like a cow.
We see the effect of this third level of degeneration as more efforts are made to make God irrelevant to the affairs of our nation and society. We see people with depraved minds rising to positions of power promoting evil and suppressing good. They call evil good and good evil Isaiah 5:20 says “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
As we look at the events in America especially on this past week, we see the effects of a nation whose righteousness is lost, and worship has dwindled into ruin. Proverbs 14:34 says “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”. As Christian citizens of this nation we must pray for God’s grace and mercy to grant revival,
How we worship God has consequences that go way beyond ourselves. True worship of God brings blessings. All forms of false worship bring dire consequences. You cannot ignore God, nor can you worship a false God, nor can you worship the true God improperly without incurring His wrath.
God created us to worship and we will worship and serve something. It will either be true worship which God requires, the worship of false gods, or the worship of ourselves. When we do not worship God the way He requires us to worship Him then the consequences to ourselves and others are dire.
CLOSING: - You want to see this land healed, you want to see the injustice and blatant racism. You want to stop the spirit of anti-Christ then we must correct our worship.
WATCH THIS:- 2 Chronicles 7:14 says “If my people, which are called by my name,(that is all of us that call ourselves Christians – not a particular denomination because holiness without no man shall see the Lord, holiness is a life-style not a demon-ization. No one has a monopoly on God) shall humble themselves (stop self-glorification, personal agendas and self-edification), and pray (communicate with God which is a 2 way activity we talk and listen – it’s not a monolog that is what Jimmy Fallon the Host of the Tonight Show does), and seek my face (that is worship, because God is spirit and to seek His face is worship and that must be done in spirit and in truth), and turn from their wicked ways (stop our corrupt worship, our sense of comfortability, our heartfelt selfish desires that are based upon tradition and not His word); then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (then we shall see the results of our correct worship – when we do what God requires us to do the He is obligated to do what He said He will do.) ”.
To worship God in spirit and in truth, then, is to declare that God is worthy of our reverence and deserves our worship. We worship Him both emotional and spiritually. We worship God based on the truth of who He is, the truth of who we are in Him, the truth of what God does, and the truth of what is going on in our world. We do it with a heart inclined toward God and in submission to Him. We worship God when our attitudes, actions, and words declare that He is worthy of our praise. Any other form of worship than this is corrupt and corrupt worship God will not accept.
Revelation 5:12 says “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing”.
Bishop Melvin L. Maughmer, Jr.