AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
December 2, 2013
A Presbyterian Church set to
following the Lord Jesus
Christ, without Compromise
and the Bible without Qualification,
DIRECTION, DYNAMICS AND DESIRE
Worship with the Magi
The wise men from the East came to worship the one born King of the Jews: that is what they said (Matthew 2:2), having seen His star in the East. Now the Greek word for worship, can hold various senses. It can mean to bow in recognition of authority and position, or to worship in the sense of Matthew 4, where the very same word is used by Christ concerning the point that one must worship GOD ONLY. The devil then uses it of himself, and the worship he wanted Christ to give him, in exchange for the kingdoms of this world. Again, in John 4, it is used by Christ concerning the worship of God, who desires a true-hearted and entire worship.
It depends on the circumstances, the person, what is implied in it, what type of reverence is in view. If God be in view, then it is the true adoration which leaves nothing out, so that one forsakes all to follow Him (cf. Matthew 16:25, Luke 14:27ff.). In the case of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17), this meant that he be willing to forsake all his riches because they were an impediment to faith, dividing his loyalties, usurping his trust from the Lord. In other words, when it is the Lord who is in view, to love Him with ALL the heart and mind and strength, means that parallel with this is the readiness in worship to make of Him the sole inspiration, to the uttermost, all other things to be in subdued state in one's mind and heart, COMPARED with Him. That is natural when it comes to God: He is infinitely above all others, and to fail to translate that into practice is like putting a stone on a par with understanding. It is simply foolish.
Thus whether the worship of the wise men were for Christ as God, or for this Babe to be King of the Jews, is unknown; except for this, that it would certainly be quite remarkable if they made the long trek, and gave the costly gifts, and took so long doing it, merely to singularise and anoint the ruler to be of a small kingdom harassed already by Roman occupation!
The light they had, they followed, and they followed it with august ceremony and profound ambition. We must do no less, but rather more. We worship the babe, because whatever they knew, we KNOW, we who are Christians, that that babe was the first historical awakening of God Himself in human format, that He might both bear the acme of their sins and the horror of how they felt, if left in the castigation they deserved. Likewise He took the penalty due, that of death as it came, and breaking its power, become the leader into eternal life. With death broken, He handed out passes for paradise: not with plastic keys, as with the Moslem children slaughtered in the Iraq-Iran war, for with God there is neither deceit nor presumption, but with faith as the recipient, and Himself crucified, yes rather risen, as the One given!
We worship because it was God incarnate; and in memory we worship; and we worship when at around 30 years of age, He was ready for the priestly work which in His case ended all priesthood and made of Himself in One, the High Priest, the atonement with His Gospel the call.
Do YOU worship the babe ? that is the potency and reality of the incarnation ? and the One so incarnated as in Isaiah 48:15ff. ? Are you ready to forsake all for Him, that is your plans and your financial security and anything else you hold dear, rightly or wrongly, EXCEPT for HIS word and its duties. These stand firm, being themselves from Him (John 12:48-50), suffering neither cultural relativism nor back-number status as outmoded. Human cultures come and go; and are empty. Yet God is never outmoded, knowing all before it happens (Isaiah 46:8ff.). Man is outmoded when as in Australia at the present time, religion is made subjective, myths are pretended to have stark objectivity, children are bound to a nature cult and morals are methodically being cast out, as if they were spiders in the wood to be burned.
Indeed, this is the Age of No Morals, except for the Exclusion of the Morals of God: that alone is prohibitive, and pronounced against with a mounting ferocity as spiritual sleaze increasingly replaces spiritual truth in the degenerative sinking of society over time. Otherwise you can inveigh against the Government status and seek for extremism and often get away with it; it is just relative. You can have people received as citizens who openly seek by FORCE a giant caliphate. Moreover, as shown by Muhammad in his own ways, it is one where force gains entry, even in the area of faith, and such is the frequent reference in the Koran (as seen for example in Divine Agenda Ch. 6).
Even Russia has ruled against propaganda for the stringently anti-biblical so-called 'gay' movement (I Timothy 1:10), justly far from this marring the revelation of God and the sight of the eyes concerning what constitutes the physical cohesion of parties which continues the existence of the human race. But many are falling into this total insult to God, the Maker, as if what you see and find experimentally and practically has NO bearing on their sort of religion. It is an illusion, which readily becomes mandatory, if given opportunity, so that to point out the obvious from the eye in reading the Bible or in surveying the scene, can become a CRIME.
Sodom may or may not have had such laws; but if they didn't, and just practised multiple sexual predation and sodomy, then some nations are in regress, already in advance of them; whose judgment was sure and is held up as an example of just deserts by God (cf. Jude 7). For them is this justice: they "suffer the vengeance of eternal fire." That is where without repentance it all leads. What, after all, is the value of the human will when it strictly, even while persecuting those following the truth, refuses to be as created, insists on being some kind of god who can use ANYTHING any WAY they like, and abort the intimate correlations which continue the race in the prepared manner.
Mocking God may be good exercise for the voice, but not for the stability of the heart, or the safety of the soul. You don't have to worship God, but if you do want to do so, do not be deceived: you are not a god and if you want to share the honours with the One who made you, it is simple theft (Romans 1:23-24), worship of self or culture becoming the threadbare substitute for the clean fear of God, and the love of His ways.
You may desire and proceed tothe worship God with all the heart, so that it is HIM ONLY as Christ told Satan, whmo you so treat. It is not some other creation you serve and worship; for that would be outrageous, a servile dump of your responsibility, a willing serfdom to sinners: ONE is both your teacher and Father (Matthew 23:8-10), and it is an honour to worship Him THEREFORE, who died to save, rather than eccentrically and blindly worshipping a mere limited creation, whether yourself, society, country, ideology or preference.
Seek to Delete the Babe with Herod
Failure to worship, however, is never likely to end in mere disinterest. Take the case of high-priest Caiaphas in Christ's day on this earth. He decided that since many MIGHT suffer if Christ in His wonders, miracles, raising of the dead, plenipotentiary power, were permitted to live longer on this earth, even the nation perhaps becoming target for suppression, therefore His murder was mandatory.
People who try to remove God as Creator, and hence Christ (cf. Col. 1:15), are killing His image just as truly as if it were maintained that Lenin really were a capitalist (despite the fact that what he REALLY was is not so clear, though his followers slaved in subjugation). Herod took the matter as a matter of fact: SINCE He had in infancy aroused such adulation and admiration, even worship, since the thing was already international in scale, it was necessary to preserve the status quo (his rule and perhaps his hoped for dynasty to come), and so kill the king so heralded when it was easy to do. Easy ? yet with God nothing He decrees otherwise CAN be done; and in this case the assigned family were temporarily moved to Egypt by vision and command from above.
True, you may grieving, just walk away, with the rich young ruler, who did not find it in himself to worship God; but in so doing he too slew, even his own heart, even that which from youth had sought to obey the commandments, and left himself spiritually dead, not only in condition, but in voluntary action as well. When one bans the light, the darkness becomes more intense. It is like putting up black-out material over the windows in wartime, lest light escape; except that in this case, it is lest any light comes in. This is darkness by order.
Again, some may prefer to be of divided mind, like the people in Elijah's day (I Kings 18:21). If the LORD be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him, he cried before performing in the power of God the demonstration of where power belongs, even where morality lives, and mercy may be found. It must be sought, and found; not impounded in some compartment with the key thrown away. How many mental illnesses come from this, and spiritual sickness in cynicism or scepticism, which like a criminal, CANNOT face the guilt of exclusion, and so though hearing and even seeing often, learns never!
Others take part, as Judas did, going so far before cracking, but exclude this or that part which oppresses their pseudo-divine desires, and so seeking to gain the glory of Christ, rather than worship Him whose it is, provide papier-mâché substitutes, manufactured in hell; for when God is not unreservedly served, then the devil is decisively interested. When not resisted, his lust is interminable.
The attitudes differ, as then they did differ, but the babe grew through youth to manhood, and manned the cross and managed death, so that remission of sin might be free, vicariously taken captive in Him, who capturing captivity, granted freedom without price (Isaiah 55). The alternative as we see in nations constantly, is that sure self-strangulation, perhaps advanced by catastrophe, which may at times be rather merciful, since when the stone of spiritual reality at last falls, it crushes to powder (Matthew 21:44). There is no safety from the truth, and no mercy in opposing it, except sometimes time to reflect and repent. Truth is like that; and mercy is its only interruption which, when itself interrupted can depart, like a ruptured bag, having shed its contents in vain.
Watch One Hour
Where are you ? Perhaps already a Christian, you find weights and pressures, challenges and compromises, church defaults and governmental anti-Christian passion (if you define that term by a characterisable movement against the morals and teachings of Christ at the most basic level, which is certainly the case in South Australia, and perhaps the other States as well) to constitute a problem, a pain, a drag. If so, remember how tense it was for the disciples when they were waiting for Christ as He prayed, having again emphasised His coming crucifixion and fulfilment of His saving work, so about to leave them shepherdless. When man leaves you, it can be sad; but when the only begotten Son of God leaves, it was far worse. It was in a way like leaving a luxury spiritual flat by the seaside and living instead at an area North of Alice Springs.
They slept, weary and perhaps disconsolate, certainly sad and weighed down with a woe that like a storm, had sent out preliminary winds and was increasing to a gale.
Christ came upon them, not once, but twice, and asked: COULD YOU NOT WATCH WITH ME ONE HOUR! (Matthew 26:40,45). It is much easier to sleep during tragedy, and to slumber repeatedly when the abyss opens as if drowsily seen as i a dream, not really so very frightening, as the senses dull, and a foolish misstep is taken.
We must not slumber, for to each of us there is appointed a time near the crest of evil, when to have the eyes open and the heart purified, the mind alert and the spirit chaste is quintessential. It is like playing in a fifth test when the match thunders to its end. The result is clear; but the way to it may have many a twist and trial. Be valiant therefore, and let this be your watchword in this coming year, which may see devastating changes, as the passing moment of power of the antichrist comes, and the trial of your faith comes close. Remember how many have suffered imprisonment, torture, decadent false accusation, and so smile at adversity, triumph in your heart, for is it not just for a little while, when the grand assizes begin, when the assault on Israel extends beyond feverish words from the deluded already, and the powers-that-be become almost of one mind in this: that God must go, so that their rupture might be complete..
This Christmas, then, be fearless and faithful, turn aside for none, speak the truth plainly, give testimony liberally, be cheered with the presence of Christ, and strengthened with might in the inner man, knowing that, that now as then, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). It is not some extra for the Christian, but an integral part of knowing the Lord (I Cor. 12:13), and how He helps as you wait on Him, and seeing His mind, DO IT. HE will not leave you orphans (John 14:16-18, 16:32), but is the God or all comfort and consolation, faithful for ever.