I've posted recently about the shallow state of the Christian worship these days, and did a lot of posting about Beth Moore. That means that in the last week I've immersed in watching, listening, reading and attending events that are shallow in their worship (at best) and are blasphemous because of their casual approach to worship and the Holiness of a God we should fear (at worst). I needed a spiritual shower. So I listened this morning to John MacArthur's third part of the series called "The Kind of Worship God Desires." You can go here for a transcript or to download it. The first minute and a half is introduction and the last 4 minutes is an interview. The preaching itself is about 22 minutes. I urge you to take the time to listen/watch. You will be blessed. Then take a peek below as to the kind of worship some engage in today. The contrast is startling. And that is the point.
After an April snowstorm, one Christian author wrote of intimacy with God through play. "I heard the voice of God speak to my heart: "Come and play." I love that He said "Come." Not "Go." "Come." That meant He was already there. I also love how I could tell by the sweet tone of His silent voice whispering to my spirit that He was smiling. You know, you can tell that kind of thing in the voices of those you really know."
He had a silent voice, but it whispered. Neat trick. More than that, the writer could detect the tone of voice from the silence: smiling. Even neater trick. Best of all, the writer was on such familiar terms with God that His tone of voice could be detected. If you know Him well enough, you can tell that kind of thing, la di da.
The story continued, "I built a snowman. I used grapes for eyes, and a half-moon shaped sesame snack for the mouth. I didn't make a nose. I have enough for the both of us. He's wearing my hat and scarf, and I rather hope he doesn't get them wet. I let him borrow them because I was coming back inside. I laughed with God. He laughed with me."
Wow, cool! God is really just an avuncular cheerleader who builds snowmen. He isn't really the HOLY God whose courts shake with praise and smoke billows out, He is just a guy who hangs out on a sunny day finding sesame snacks to use for snowmen mouth with women who need a break from work.
I love my God because He is Holy. I love Jesus, even thinking of the moment on the Mount of Transfiguration where He revealed His glory and the three apostles with Him fell down terrified. (Mt 17:1-9). I love to think of Him first and foremost this way because it is a continual reminder of our position. Sinner. Yes, mercifully we're forgiven. Yes, mercifully the sins are forgotten. But mercy was needed because of His holiness. See, we're back to the most important attribute of God. It was stated three times in the Isaiah 6:3 scene in heaven, and "The Hebrews usually expressed the superlative degree by the repetition of a word." This means it is a supreme attribute.
This is the Jesus we worship today:
"Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death." (Revelation 1:12-18)
Hallelujah! I prefer this Jesus to the snowman making one. Don't you? The snowman making God who laughs and plays seems too much like us and not enough like who He really is.
The pastor at Window to the Word wrote in the piece Coming Face to Face with God,
“I had a pastor who is a pastor of a pretty far-out kind of charismatic church. We were having lunch one day and he said, ‘I want to tell you something, I don't know how you'll deal with this,’ he said, ‘but sometimes when I'm shaving in the morning Jesus comes in the bathroom, puts His arm around me and talks to me.’ I said, ‘You mean Jesus, the real Jesus appears in a way you can see Him actual...’ ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Do you believe that?’ I said, ‘No, I don't believe that. But what distresses me is I believe you believe that. I just have one question, do you keep shaving because if you keep shaving, my friend, it wasn't Jesus.’"
"What happens when a person comes face-to-face with God? Does he casually “keep shaving” and say something like, “So, what’s going, on Big Guy? Hey, high five!” Is that what happens when we come face-to-face with God? Or is what happens in Luke 5:8 more accurate? When Peter recognizes who Jesus is he says, “"Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
Blessed are those who are forgiven, who will be able to hear His voice without exploding! Who will be able to see Him as He is without falling dead! He is a holy and a merciful God, and it is Him to whom I cling.