Three Kinds of Worship by Pastor Lafayette Scales
Pastor Lafayette Scales visited our church. He is from Rhema Christian Center, Columbus Ohio. As always when he comes, the message is spectacular, and the following teaching was a real blessing to me! I kept it in one piece for the message could not be easily divided into two posts.
Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.
In Chapter 13 of Acts, Paul and Barnabas were released and sent to minister to the Gentiles and Jews. They were at the church in Antioch which was a Holy Spirit filled, gifted and multicultural church. Paul and Barnabas separated and Paul and Silas traveled together teaching and preaching.
Paul and Silas go to Thessalonica and begin to teach and preach and a riot breaks out. They send them away to Berea.
Acts 17:10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.
Paul has praise for the Bereans for they tested the Word spoken to them to see if it was true.
Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
The Jews from Thessalonica found out Paul was teaching in Berea and came to cause trouble. Paul left Berea and went to Athens.
Acts 17:13-15 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.
The city of Athens has been around from ancient times and was very pagan when Paul visited the city.
Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.
Paul’s spirit was provoked when he saw the condition of the city. When has our spirit been provoked? We won’t change anything unless we notice what is provoking our spirit. We are not to coexist with evil, but to transform evil and transform lives.
Acts 17:17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.
First he went to the synagogue. When our spirit sees wickedness reign we need to go to church. He asked them how could they have let this evil go on. Paul regularly went to the synagogue. We need to go and worship so God can infill us. But Paul didn’t stay at the church. He took the influence that God placed in him into the market place daily.
We go to work daily and go out into the market place. It is in our daily lives in the marketplace that we can influence others and share our resources of wisdom and knowledge. If we are successful in life, it is because God wants us to use that success for the church and also for reaching others in the market place.
Acts 17:18-21 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
The locals heard Paul’s teaching and as they liked to debate current knowledge and trends they brought him to the Areopagus, the hill, to ask him about the doctrine he was teaching about. The hill was the place where public policy and debates occurred. It was where the culture was shaped.
If you are successful in the synagogue and in the market place, you can influence others toward God. They will seek you out and take you to the hill. (Sort of like going to the White House or some other place where there are dignitaries.) But you are not there for a photo opportunity. When God dispatches people there is a strategic purpose behind it. It becomes an opportunity for you to influence public policy, debate, and shape the minds of the people.
Acts 17:22-23 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
There are three kinds of worship.
1. IGNORANT WORSHIP
This is worship where people worship God on their own terms. In other words, God as I understand Him. In some other religions they see God as a rock, plant, air, mother nature, or whatever else they choose to be their god. They worship, but they don’t know what they are worshipping. It is false worship, and denies God for who He is.
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
All they would have to do is look at creation to know that our world is no accident. This is not part of the evolutionary process. You can go to the zoo and see a chimpanzee and you are not looking at your great, great, great grandmother. People will argue evolution saying that the earth is billions of years old. But God could have created an earth that seems to be billions of years old in seven days.
Adam, when he was created, was not an embryo, but God created him as a fully grown man.
God can create an earth that has old and new things in it. We too believe in the Big Bang theory – God said it and BANG it was there.
Romans 1:21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
The fool rejects the truth. If you reject the truth, stay ignorant, then you stay foolish long enough, you become a scorner.
1st Exchange: Romans 1:22-24 Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
They exchanged the glory and truth of incorruptible God, for a lie.
2nd Exchange: Romans 1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
They worshiped the creature, not the creator.
If we eliminate God, then we don’t have to explain anything else. If God is eliminated people can worship anything they want.
3rd Exchange: Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
They exchanged the natural use of their bodies for what was against nature.
Romans 1:27-32 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (31) undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,unmerciful; (32) who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Pastor Scales pointed out all the “UN’s” in verse 31.
Ignorant worship, which man so likes, changes the glory of God, the truth of God and the natural use of our bodies. God is merciful, so He keeps wooing those who have gone astray and keeps drawing people to Himself.
Pastor Scales shared that God kept pulling him to Himself. He would turn on the radio or TV and hear preaching. God kept pursuing him in the world, the nation, the city, the community, his house, and finally his bedroom where he finally gave up. God is relentless. He never gives up on us, and keeps giving us His love and mercy.
Jesus came from Heaven to earth for us.
But in the mystery of God’s knowledge, that after He pursues us, there does come a point where we cross that line, and God says in effect, “OK, you rejected Me, My mercy, My longsuffering, go your own way.” God then lets circumstances speak to us, and often with very negative results.
Pastor Scales told us he never wants to go to that place of crossing the line. We could destroy ourselves and go to Hell, by rejecting God’s lovingkindness.
Ignorant worship is dangerous.
God can show Himself to you, breaking out of the Spirit. The things of God are clearly known by His creation. God expects a response.
Colossians 2:21 Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,
We can easily put ourselves into a position of legalism with rules that put us under the law, instead of in Christ.
We want to take the values of the Kingdom into the place of commerce.
Paul’s disciple started a little church, but there was a problem. They were preaching another Christ, Christ not as man but as a phantom.
The spirit is good, the flesh bad, but they mixed in Greek philosophy. Then there were Judiaites who wanted the Gentile believers to celebrate the feast days and be circumcised and keep all the laws. The problem is that this brought confusion – not even the Jews could keep all the laws, so why would the Gentiles? It is true that we want to honor the seasons and feasts, but the Judaizers were saying that the only way a person could be saved is by keeping the law, the ritual, which is the type and shadow of what Jesus did. But now we have these things in Christ. Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; (Him being Jesus)
Colossians 2:21-23 KJV (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
This leads us to:
2. WILL WORSHIP
Man-made worship based on rules and regulations. We see this in all the churches. Pentecostal and Charismatic churches have faith lived out in rules. For example, some churches say you are sinning if a woman wears pants instead of dresses. And women should not wear earrings or jewelry. Forget red lipstick!!!! If you do any of these things they would think you are not saved. The quote given is that if God wanted your lips to be red, He would have made them that way. Men cannot have their hair touch their collar.
Salvation is based on the keeping of rules and regulations. Pastor Scales shared how he was going to go into a foreign country to preach and fortunately before he arrived there, his secretary contacted him and told him to shave off his beard – for if he arrived with a beard they would put him on the plane and send him home, for their rules forbade beards – although mustaches were ok.
With such a focus on rules and regulations, salvation is wrapped up in WILL WORSHIP.
The Old Testament had rules, prohibitions, and regulations. Jesus kept all those, and then died to free us from the law.
IT’S THE BLOOD.
Pastor Scales sang a few verses of I know it was the Blood, the chorus of which reads:
I know it was the blood,
One day when I was lost
1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
We are saved by the blood of Jesus. If we try to have will worship, we will struggle in our flesh to keep the rules and regulations. We can do that for a short time, then we will slip up. We question and constantly tell our flesh to hush up.
When we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, we are not to just stay in the church, but to go to the community and tell people about God’s anointing. People are to be able to see God in our homes and in our communities. There is a sounding of trumpets and a day of cleansing, not just at the temple, but in the community.
Pastor Forte had us laughing – he said that the common pattern was for a person to get so caught up in church life that they go to church, work, home, church, the buffet, home. He said that the people take a wrong reading of the passage – 2 Corinthians 12:7b a messenger of Satan to buffetme, lest I be exalted above measure. (bold is my emphasis).
Basically they have no life but with the church community – but that doesn’t reach out to the others who need to hear the Gospel.
So IGNORANT worship kills, WILL WORSHIP binds you. We come to the third kind.
3. TRUE WORSHIP
John 4 is about the Samaritan woman at the well and speaks about true worship.
The Feast of Tabernacles brings us to true worship.
With the Woman at the Well, Pastor Scales reminded us that the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. Later Philip would go to Samaria to preach the Gospel, but it was Jesus and His dealings with the Woman at the Well that laid the foundation for Philip’s later work.
Jesus and his disciples go to Samaria (usually Jews would avoid the place) but Jesus needed to go there.
John 4:4 But He needed to go through Samaria. Jesus had a divine appointment.
The disciples went to town to get food and provisions, but Jesus remained at the well. When the woman came – she came at an odd hour, probably to avoid the other women. The other women came to get water in the cool of the morning, but this woman was coming in the heat of the day.
Jesus asks her for some water. John 4:7-10 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
She did not know the gift that she was standing next to it (Jesus).
John 4:11-15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
She was thinking in the natural, not wanting to get thirsty in the physical, not having to come and get water, etc. She asks Jesus to give her some of this water.
Jesus liked to mess with people. He asks her.
John 4:16-18 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
She feels that Jesus is a prophet for he knew her situation. She has had five men, is with the sixth, but at this moment she has met the seventh man (Jesus) who will change her life. Seven is God’s number for perfection.
John 4:19-20 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
She wondered about worship – changing the subject. God will often start a conversation with us in the natural and then lead us down a path. She has flipped the subject from her many husbands to worship and where should Samaritans worship – on their mountain or in Jerusalem. Pastor Forte told us to look for the word WORSHIP – there are two mentions of worship in 19-20, more in the following verses.
John 4:21-22 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
He is saying that the Samaritans worship what they do not know – that is IGNORANT WORSHIP.
But Jesus is speaking about TRUE WORSHIP which is the salvation of the Jews.
John 4:23-24 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
God is looking for true worshippers. God is a Spirit, and those who want to worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. TRUE WORSHIP comes to God on His terms. We are spirits who live in a body and have a soul (mind, will, emotions).
We are not to worship just in the flesh, for we are spirit. God does not have an executive board that meets, He meets with Himself – Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Some have a problem thinking of God as trinity – three in one, but if you consider in the natural: A man can be a man, husband, father. A woman can be a woman, wife, mother. Before a man can take a wife and become a husband, he first has to be a man.
To be a man is a choice – so often in marriages these days the mother is not only raising the kids, but also raising the husband. Then Pastor Forte emphatically stated: husbandhood precedes fatherhood in our Kingdom.
During creation, God first created man and then breathed His Spirit into him. But Jesus was first a Spirit who chose to then put on a man suit.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
God gave spiritual CPR. God got in man’s face and breathed into it, delivering the spirit into man.
Angels and the devil are spirits, there are demon spirits. But we have God’s Spirit. We are Spirit with an earth suit, which covers over our flaws.
Pastor Forte told us that all clothing is an illusion – it covers over a multitude of flaws. But Adam and Eve had their birthday suit. They were without shame, there was nothing hidden when they entered their earth suits. But after sin, their earthly suits began the process of decay and they needed to cover themselves to hide their sin.
1 Corinthians 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
This will occur with the rapture. First the dead in Christ will rise – and God will reverse the decay and corruption of death, then they will put on a celestial body for Heaven, and there will be no corruption. They will be able to keep up with the spirit, run and not be weary.
When we die our spirit leaves our earth suit. We will be able to connect with God who made us, to marvel at the environs of Heaven. We have an all present God, so our leaving our earth suit ushers us into going even further into an already present God. He is inexhaustible. Heaven will have full blown worship, not what pales on earth.
Pastor Forte suggested for an idea of what true worship is like: many of us can remember our drug days – he said that there were occasional users. Then those who were weekend users who looked forward to the weekend and the party. Some were daily users, who only used after work, then they moved to using before work, during work, and after work – finally using instead of work. Those were the full blown drug users, where they spent all their resources to get drugs.
God wants us to be full blown worshippers – all of our being seeking to worship God. But in church there are those occasional worshippers, weekend worshippers, some do some worship at work, and instead of work. But God wants those who worship in all occasions – work, home, church – and they don’t need a reason to worship – they just worship. Hallelujah!
We want to magnify God with all our heart, where our spirit is connecting with the Holy Ghost, and we enter His gates with joy. We worship because God is good. There is three-fold goodness of God. 1. He HAS been good 2. He IS good and 3. He WILL be good. We want the faith to thank Him for what He is going to do.
We want to give God great praise, praise Him for His excellent grace. Corporate praise is contagious. We (as our bodies are tabernacles) want to be tabernacles of true worship, and be in His tabernacle with thanksgiving and praise. When we enter the tabernacle with that kind of praise the veil drops, and we are in a most Holy Place. We enter the covenant chamber, as trusting children. We stand before our Beloved and are overshadowed by His Presence.
In Solomon’s day, the priests fell on their faces for the could not stand under His glory. We want to be in the essence of the presence of God, sit in His presence, and think how cool is God. We want to be overwhelmed by His presence.
Song of Solomon 5:6 I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.
He is so desirable that we want to keep seeking Him.
When we turn to God in praise and worship, we find that we are lifted, want to obey Him, we are transformed, and our problems are put into perspective.
We then spent some silent time seeking and worshipping God.
This was such a blessed teaching for me.
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