What is a Christian to do? Part 2
Updated: Apr 23
Part Two: "What is a Christian To Do?"
In part one of this two part message we looked at details related to the fact that we live in a country that has a Constitutional Republic as its form of Government. We do not live in a democracy, a dictatorship, a Theocracy or a Monarchy (King). We live in a Constitutional Representative Republic where Supreme Authority is vested in the Constitution and in the Bill of Rights. We learned that no authority exists (governing) which does not derive its authority from the United States Constitution. Thus as Christians we are obligated by Biblical mandate (Romans 13:1-7) to obey all lawful orders and laws that are in accordance with the Supreme Sovereign of this land the Constitution. Likewise, we are under no Biblical mandate to submit, obey or yield to any order or law that is in clear and unequivocal violation of the Authority that has been placed over us, namely the Constitution. We further learned that all officers of the Constitution are vested with delegated authority (from the authority of the Constitution) only to their respective and specific office and not to their person. "We are a nation of laws, not men."
Now what is at stake in our current environment is this, "does the government or any officer representing the government, have the authority to mandate that we alter our form of worship of God and our fellowship therein in any manner whatsoever? More specifically, are we as Christians under any Biblical (Romans 13) mandate to alter our worship or fellowship, when demanded by government when that demand violates the clear teachings of Holy Scripture? In our previous discussion, we looked a the unlawful use of governmental power as it pertains to the law of the land. Here, we will address the obligation of the believer when those laws of the land or the enforcement of constitutional or unconstitutional laws, violates God's Sovereign and revealed Will. The particular issue at hand is, has God spoken clearly and definitively on what He expects from His people as it pertains to His Worship?
The psalmist says that each of us should, "Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness" (Psalm 29:2 NIV).
The psalmist says regarding nations, "All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name" (Psalm 86:9 NIV).
The psalmist says regarding places, "Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy" (Psalm 99:9 NIV).
The psalmist says regarding governments, "May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him" (Psalm 72:11 NIV).
The primary word for worship in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word "shaka" which means to worship, bow down, show reverence, to stoop down before. Worship is the act of obeying, submitting, or prostrating oneself as as a gesture of respect. "So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me" (Exodus 10:3 NIV). The word here 'abad) denotes service, work, and worship. The old English word from which we get the modern form, means a condition of being worthy, dignity, glory, distinction, honor, renown. Worship denotes Worthy-Being!
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:11 ESV).
"For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods" (Psalm 96:4 NIV).
John Gill, says that we are to, "come spiritually, by faith and repentance, to the Lord himself, being drawn by the power of his efficacious grace through the ministry of the word; and, locally, to the house and ordinances of God, to attend upon them, and wait on him in them; and "worship" both externally, according to his revealed will; and internally in the exercise of grace, in spirit and in truth."
Albert Barnes: "Let us worship him by bowing down; by prostrating ourselves before him. The word here rendered “come” is not the same which is used in Psalm 95:1. Its literal meaning is “come,” and it is an earnest exhortation to come and worship. It is not a particle merely calling attention to a subject, but it is an exhortation to approach - to enter - to engage in a thing. The word rendered “worship,” means properly to bow down; to incline oneself; and then, to bow or prostrate oneself before anyone in order to do him homage, or reverence. Then it means to bow down before God in the attitude of worship."
Johnathan Edwards on the benefit of worship, "God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
Command To Worship:
Who: The Triune God: "the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Tim. 1:17 NIV).
What: Worship, Honor and Praise: "Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed. (Rev. 15:4 NIV).
When: The Lord's Day: "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore,The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (Exodus 20:8-11 NIV).
Where: With God's people: "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25 KJV)
Why: He is worthy to be praised: " Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.
Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” (1 Chron. 23-31 NIV)
Food For Thought:
1. "There are a lot of good reasons to gather with your brothers and sisters in the sacred fellowship of worship each week."
2. "Your church attendance is an encouragement to others. This is especially true in smaller to medium-sized congregations."
3. "Your church attendance is a rebellion against your sense of self-sovereignty."
4. "One of the most counter-cultural things you can do is get up early on Sunday morning, put real clothes on, and drive to a church building,"
5. "The gathering of the diverse and divinely empowered saints is a community organized in part to stifle the selfish human desire for autonomy."
6. "When we strangers and aliens gather as brothers and sisters under the banner of the gospel, we are rehearsing that glorious day when we will know as we are known, when our sin is vanquished and our Christian fellowship is fully enjoyed."
*Jared C. Wilson, "Attending Corporate Worship," Table Talk Issue April, 2018