Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God”…JESUS!
In life today everything has to be evaluated by some measure of a standard for approval. Standard is defined as an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations. When I obtained my undergraduate degree at University of Detroit, I had to take two Statistic courses, and one of the foundational basis to evaluate the amount of variation in a set of values was its Standard Deviation, defined as a quantity calculated to indicate the extent of deviation for a group as a whole. These terms can be applicable to the state of those who are in the body of Christ today! Jesus Christ has a Standard for us to be governed by, and that is the unadulterated Word of God; whom many have chose not to be measured by! Hence for this Golden Nugget I would like to provoke the thought “Our Standard and Hope in Christ Jesus Will Always Expose False Worship” The premise scriptures to provoke further gospel provocation are as follows:
Rev. 3:3,11 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Isa. 59:14-21 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever.
There are two very essential principles presented in Revelation 3:3,11 which are profoundly interesting, clear, simple, and full of much power! The two distinct truths which characterizes all Overcomers is first the Standard (God’s Truth) that has been communicated; and second, the Hope that is set before us.
My brothers and sisters we find these two things illustrated in Israel’s history, as well as in the history of the Church of God. That being what He has given us, and what is to come. These two things form our character in God. We are not to be influenced by the things around, nor the present condition of the people of God who walk as though they have no hope; but we are to be influenced by what God has given us, and what He will give us. Yes, sometimes we do become discouraged and disheartened by the state of things around us, and are tempted to surrender many things because of the perceived ruin, which can paralyze our walk; but if we get hold of these two things, the Standard and the Hope, and they get hold of us, they will enable us to endure our season to be an overcomer. Hence this is why we are to remember what we have received and heard, and cherish the hope of glory.
When we look at the church of Sardis, which represented a designated period in the church age. We must always distinguish between the real work of the Spirit of God and the state of things that result from mans fleshly interference without consulting the Holy Spirit, i.e., human management, and human philosophies, which comes in a form of godliness, yet denies the power of the Holy Spirit. It is through these human weaknesses that Satan crafts his attack, because this approach renders one as dead to a real divine visitation! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Saints, approximately 113 years ago there was a very distinct movement of the Holy Spirit of God, in the United States of America and the world aboard during the Azusa Street Revival; this lasted for more than eight years, 1906 until 1915. This revival drew many out of the enclosures of Christendom. But what has happen since then? It appears that the power, freshness, and zeal of the Holy Spirit has departed gradually since then. Why? Because in many cases people have slipped into dead worship, and there is nothing worse than lifeless worship! So what is our safeguard to avoid this dismal state? I say we are to simply hold fast to what we have received concerning the Standard of God, and continue to live in the blessed Hope of Christ’s coming.
My brothers and sisters I find many illustrations of this in the Old Testament. All the great reformatory movements in Israel were characterized by such things. This happened in Jehoshaphat’s time, and in Hezekiah’s time. The Lord called back His people to the original standard, to what they had received at the first. Hezekiah goes back to Moses, as his authority to maintain the divine STANDARD in the celebration of the Passover. Many may have said, Oh, it is hopeless; our national unity is gone. Even Solomon had to leave abominations behind him. Satan will always suggest to lower the standard because of the ruin that surrounds us; but Hezekiah did not listen to Satan, nor did he concentrate on the surrounding ruin. He was an overcomer. And because of his astuteness, a tide of blessing rolled in, that had not been known since the days of Solomon; which is documented in 2 Chronicles chapter 30.
The same happened in the days of Josiah: a child was on the throne; a woman filling the prophetic office; the enemy, king Nebuchadnezzar was almost at the gates of Jerusalem. But what did Josiah do? He made sure the book of the law (the Standard, i.e. the Word of God) was read. Instead of lowering the STANDARD on account of how things looked, he acted on the Word of God by faith; which was his standard of action, and he kept the Passover in the first month. The results have been documented in the word of God, that there had not been such a Passover since the days of Samuel.
As it was with Hezekiah and Josiah; so it was with Ezra and Nehemiah. In those days a feast was kept which had not been observed since the days of Joshua the son of Nun. It was reserved for that poor, little remnant to keep that feast. They were overcomers; they went back to God, and to what He had required of them at the beginning.
Wow, again we have, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; who gained a magnificent victory when they refused to eat the king’s meat that was offered to idols. They did not yield one bit, they held up the standards given them from God. They proved to be overcomers! They could of said, “God in His governmental dealings has sent us into captivity; why should we refuse to eat the king’s meat?” But instead they were enabled to hold up the standard of God through their convictions in the midst of the dismal ruin around them. GOLDEN NUGGET!
It was the same with Daniel who was a mentor to the three Hebrew boys aforementioned. He stood in perpetual faithfulness, and gained a splendid victory. He did not do it to show off when he opened his windows. He prayed towards Jerusalem to maintain the standard of God; he prayed towards God’s designated place three times a day, and hence he was called the servant of the living God. If these witnesses had surrendered the standard, they would have lost their victories, and God would have been dishonored.
These testimonies make the Word of God of exceptional value to us. It is not a question of setting up our own opinion or authority, because we have been called on to maintain the Standard of God, and nothing else; and if we do not get hold of this, we will continue to measure ourselves by ourselves, which is shipwreck! 2 Cor. 10:12-13 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.” It might have been said to Josiah, when he broke down the high places built by king Solomon, who did not keep the Standards as noted in (2 Kings 23:13) “Who are you, to set yourself up against Solomon, and the institutions set up by a great man like him?” But it was not a question of Josiah versus Solomon, but of God versus Evil and Error. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Hence as I forestated, our character is also to be formed by what we Hope in, i.e., the coming of the Lord. But notice something here Saints, concerning the church of Sardis, instead of receiving accolades from the church’s proper Hope, which is our bright and Morning Star. They are warned, “If, therefore, thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” This is how He will come upon the world, as a thief. The reason why the church of Sardis is warned, instead of receiving accolades by the hope of His coming, is, that they had sunk down to the world’s level. That level that represented a low, lifeless, sapless walk in Jesus Christ; that was going to overtake them as a thief in the night.
This can also happen to us if we let ourselves go down the stream, like dead fish. The Lord is trying to awake the hearts of His people to a deeper sense of this. He is trying to get them to see that nothing will do, except the downright reality of His Standard. If we do not have this, we have nothing. It is one thing to have doctrines in our mind, and another thing altogether to live Christ in the heart and exemplify it with a true worship Christ lifestyle!
He is coming for me, hence I have to watch for my bright and Morning Star. Now let my heart rise up, and overcome the condition of the things around me. When I find saints in sub level conditions, I try to arouse them to come up. If you want to help destitute saints, you must bring them back to the basic standard of truth that you have received, which is our first love that God gave all of us at the beginning. Build on what God has given you, and on the hope that is set before you. It is a powerful thing to inquire of many Saints, “Are you prepared to abandon everything that will not bear the test of the Word of God?” for this inquiry is something we can all stand on!
This is why it is so imperative to hold fast to the Standard of the truth of God, and do not accept anything less; even though you may be alone. If a regiment were cut to pieces, and only one man left, if he holds the colors, the dignity of the regiment is still maintained. It is not a question of results, but of being true to Jesus Christ, to be really alive in a scene which is characterized by having “a name to live, while dead.” We want something more than just mere profession. So often even in regular scheduled communion services in the breaking of bread, it has become an empty formality. We want more power and anointing, more devotion to the Person of Christ, because we have been called to overcome.
In Romans chapter 1, the apostle Paul shows us that the reason of all the abominations of the Gentile nations, was revealed in the fact, that “when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God;” hence they too “corrupted themselves.” This is a principle of vast practical influence, especially if we continue to attempt to lower the Standard of God. There is an inseparable link between the character of the god of in many religions and the character of the votaries thereof, yet God was constantly reminding His people of the fact, that their conduct was to be the consequence of what He was. “I am the Lord thy God, that brought thee up out of the land of Egypt; therefore,” etc., “be ye holy, for I am holy.” And this is exactly what the Spirit of Truth is telling us today… “He that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.” GOLDEN NUGGET!
This is why False Worship will never be acceptable unto God, because our Lord is a jealous God! When we read the opening verses of Lev. 10, it furnishes a truly terrifying illustration of the inflexible justice and burning jealousy of our God. Nadab and Abihu, stood before the Lord, clothed in their garments of glory and beauty, washed in the blood, brought near to God, made His priests, had passed through all the solemn ceremonies of inauguration into their priestly office. Wow, all this occurred while worshiping correctly, but we see they did not take heed to the Standards afforded them, and were destroyed by the fire of God, and are seen to failing their privileged and high calling! They became a spectacle to men and angels based on the fact that the greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility, and hence the greater the judgment when those responsibilities are not fully met.
These two were documented as being involved in False Worship! That’s right “Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not.” “Strange fire.” Here was their sin. Here we see men apparently engaged in making preparation for the worship of God; there is the fire, the incense, the censer, and the priest; and, notice my brothers and sisters, they were not false and spurious priests, but true sons of Aaron, members of the really separated priestly house, clothed in the divinely appointed priestly robes; yet, they were struck dead, and by whom? By Him whom we call our God and Father! Do you realize that the fire that consumed these False Worshipers came from off the “Mercy Seat.” The fire did not come from Mount Sinai, but out “from before the Lord,” who was dwelling “between the cherubim above the mercy-seat.” Saints, God will not be played with as many today choose to believe! Even today from the throne of grace will the fire come forth, to lay prostrate those who come before it in any other way than the divinely appointed way. “They died before the Lord!” Dreadful announcement! Rev. 15:4 “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest”
My brothers and sisters I want to show you why it was considered “strange fire” (False Worship) that brought this awful judgment upon these two priest! In order to do this, let acknowledge what was considered True Worship in order to more clearly ascertain my premise! When we go to 16th chapter of the book of Leviticus vs.13 we find the elements of True Worship laid before us in the following words: “And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not.“ Here we see that the elements composing true worship were as follows; pure fire and pure incense. It must be living fire fresh from the altar of God, where it was perpetually fed by the sacrifice of God’s own appointment. This teaching is very apparent to me! On God’s altar is seen, day and night, a fire blazing, expressing, in the view of faith, the inflexible holiness of the Divine nature feeding upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Secondly, the incense must be pure, Ex. 30:7 for “ye shall offer no strange incense” i.e., it must be that which God could delight in, ordained by Him and for Him! Hence it could not be anything according to our own thoughts, ideologies, or ways. For it was only pure incense that could offer a proper material for substance to the pure living fire from off the altar. This shows us that in order for our worship to be pure, we have to possess these two qualities; Jesus Christ must constitute the material of it, and the Holy Spirit alone must kindle the flame. For only this is considered true worship. When our souls are really happy in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on Calvary, only then are we in position to embark upon contemplation of True Worship led in the Holy Spirit and in truth. Saints while we are in our period of reflection and thought, the fire kindles.” While our souls are thinking on Jesus, our censer sends up its cloud of acceptable incense over the mercy-seat. For our “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
Saints please note that False Worship is contra wise of all that I have aforementioned. Hence what is it composed of? It is composed of a variety of elements, fleshly thoughts, animistic feelings, influences by external things of lust, imposing ceremonial sensuous rituals, non convicting religious light, fine music, ceremony and splendid display without the true anointing. These are the elements of false worship, and are opposed to the simple worship from the inner sanctuary of our soul, that being “the live coal, and the pure incense.” My brothers and sisters given what we see today in Christendom, we see numerous altars smoking with this impure fire and impure incense! We can see the most unholy materials consumed upon many censers, and the smoke thereof going up as an insult rather than a sweet smelling savor to God! This is why it is imperative that we perpetually look into the condition of our hearts, lest we find ourselves in the same situation.
Notice what happen after the judgment was enacted by God “Then Moses said to Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.” “I was dumb and opened not my mouth, because Thou didst it.” Aaron saw the hand of the Lord in the solemn scene before him, and was still; he did not say a thing; “it is the Lord,” and “He will be sanctified in them that approach Him.” “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of His saints, and is to be held in utmost reverence to all them that come in His presence, because He is Sovereign!” Something really intrigue me, while reading this! The bodies of these two men were, it appears, burned by fire, but their priestly robes were untouched, for their cousins were told by Moses to go near and carry them forth; and “they carried them in their coats out of the camp.” I see a serious lesson in this; we may, by disobedience, reduce ourselves to such a condition that there will remain nothing but a mere outward form, as seen in the “coats“ of Aaron’s sons. I’m sure that if anyone had looked beneath these coats, they only would have seen the ash from the bodies of the two priests! The substance of their reality was gone; nothing remained but the external covering; which is exemplified in 2 Ti. 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Only having a title and name while alive, yet dead.”
My brothers and sisters, let our worship be pure, let our hearts be simple as to our objectives in Christ Jesus! Let us continue to have the pure incense and fire, and ever remember that “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of His saints.” When one enters upon the office of the priesthood, they have to be brought out of the region of fleshly influence, and must mortify it perpetually. This is exemplified by Aaron the high priest, he had to break the cords from his sons whom he loved very much, because of the anointed oil that the Lord had placed upon him, as well as ourselves! 1 Pe. 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Let us continue in our priestly place, in our priestly dignity, in our priestly privileges and let us not be dragged down from our high elevation as “kings and priests to God.” Because when we walk as true examples of who we have been called to be “Our Standard and Hope in Christ Jesus Will Always Expose False Worship” Please strive to have a “JESUS DAY!”