True Worship | Part Four
God is the same today, yesterday, tomorrow, forever, and always. He never changes.
What you are about read below is what the Bible would call normal Christianity. When people are walking in the truth Spirit of God the presence of God does come into their fellowship. And his presence and power are as real as an F-16. In fact much more real. But, it is my observation from the study of the Scriptures, and from the observing of modern day Christianity, that there is a wide gap between the Faith of the average churchgoer today, versus the faith and spiritual experience of the average churchgoer in the book of Acts.
That begs the question: what is the cause for such a great gap?
And like usual, I believe we can boil down both the problem and the solution to two simple words: repent and believe. In other words repentance onto dead works false religion. Is the key to the whole Story, but without it, the whole story takes a worldly, human, and very different direction than the Word of God Clearly Describes.
In other words, if worldly pursuits, worldly entertainment, worldly attitudes, philosophy and social acceptance, Trump obedience and faith to the word of God, and the spirit of God, then the people of God, will not experience the power of God, the love of God, and the presence of God, as the early apostles, and their followers did. This only makes sense. And this pattern of repentance and the lack thereof, is repeated throughout History, even before the Messiah came to Earth. In the Old Testament, we the people refused to repent of their sins, they lost the presence of God, and often suffered horrific consequences as a result. When the People repented from their sins, their idolatry, their false worship, their evil sacrifices (even human sacrifices), the LORD of Heaven would come down and do miracles and deliver them from their enemies.
In the New Testament Repentance and Faith are just as critical and just as important as in the Old Testament. Ananias and Sapphira both chose not to confess or repent before the Apostle Peter, and they dropped dead before him in th presence of God.
In Acts chapter eight we meet a very interesting new character … who I believe ends up having a very long term positive and negative impact on church history–all because this issue of repentance is never fully engaged.
Simon the Sorcerer, Acts 8
Acts 8:4-25 (KJV) Therefore, they that were scattered abroad, went every where preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. 9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. [There was no evidence of repentance in Simon’s respond]. 25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
Please feel free to make comments, ask questions, and share wisdom
The Exclusivity of the Gospel …
“To Him Who has an Ear to Hear,
Let Him Hear.”
The gospel excludes the one who is not interested in learning,
hearing, believing, or living in the gospel.
To such a person the gospel is foolishness, and nonsense, and even heresy.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (HCSB)
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.
19 For it is written:
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and I will set aside the understanding of the experts.
20 Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age?
Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish?
21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. 24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, 25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.