I’m so grateful to attend my church, Emmanuel Pentecostal, where the true presence of the Lord Jesus is felt week after week. God is seeking for true worshippers. Everyone worships something or someone, even if it is as limiting as their own self. But true worshippers must worship in spirit and truth. To worship God in spirit we must be filled with His Spirit. To worship Him in truth is to be obedient to His revealed Word and from a pure heart. Everyone knows there is confusion, contradiction and falsehood on every side. The only way to discern truth from error and counterfeit from the real is to study the real. Then one can discern anything that is not genuine. Only something of value is usually counterfeited. For example, no one would counterfeit a $6.00 bill because there is no such thing. In this blog we are going to look at true spiritual worship of God as contrasted to false sensual worship that glorifies the flesh.
King David of old loved the Lord with all of his heart and worshipped Him unashamedly in the dance when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Israel. There is a true worship of God that delights the heart of the Lord. In the Psalms we see why David was a man after God’s own heart. He had found that intimacy with God through repentance and worship.
Now we are going to look at a counterfeit worship that is permeating nearly every facet of society. The emergent churches, referred to in this article, are adopting Hollywood style stage settings and the spirit of entertainment to counterfeit and replace true worship. As I did a perusal of postings on Facebook on January 1st I saw the pervasive theme of bringing in the New Year with merry making, dancing, feasting, etc. It is natural to want to end one year on a high note and begin the new the same way. However, some of the things posted on FB troubled me. I noticed someone had posted a Christian talent link and out of curiosity watched it to see what on earth they were auditioning for. All I saw was a repeat of the same thing I had been seeing in other posts – everyone involved in a “party spirit” trying to copy the dance styles of the world and especially influenced by the hip-hop rap culture.
I decided to do a brief study on a few words that came to mind: limelight, stardom, exhibition, entertainment, renoun, illustrious, fame and finally glory.
This study took me on quite a path of revelation. First of all, let’s look at where the word “loving the limelight” came from. Limelight became popular in the early 19th century and was also known as calcium light. It was a type of incandescent stage lighting used in theaters and music halls. This lighting cast an unusual lime glow on the actors on stage and projected them in an unreal aura. As the entertainment industry was being birthed in this country and around the world, much to the chagrin of those who clung to Biblical core values, those who were being seduced into the aura of “stardom” loved to bask in the “limelight”. In other words, they were intoxicated by the unnatural glow that was shining upon them. Performers began to emerge as a new class of people eventually evolving into Hollywood and everyone seeking to be a star. The term “limelight” became equated with “fame or someone who was famous and in the public eye.”
Secondly, I did a search on how the word star, used in this context, began. This false glow that fell on performers actually made them “twinkle like a star” and hence the word “star” was birthed. It is not too extreme a conclusion to say that there has always been an innate desire in unregenerate man to be “like the most High God” and who but God can create stars?
The desire for fame and recognition goes back to Genesis 10 when Nimrod emerged on the scene of world history. He was a man of renown who led a large following (the world had become as one) to attempt to build a tower that would reach heaven. Their mission was to build a name for themselves and hence the Tower of Babel was built until God brought an end to this self-exalting project. (Genesis 11)
Another false illusion of performers, “basking in the limelight”, is that as their adoring followers emotionally reach for their stars, there is a give and take back and forth which has absolutely nothing to do with actual intimate relating to people one on one. The interaction is intoxicating; hence the stampedes we’ve heard about at rock concerts with many injured in their emotional frenzy to “touch” their “star”. The entire stage experience creates a false illusion. Everyone wants to be a star. If this were not so then why are “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars” such popular TV programs?
Continuing to reflect on the Facebook videos that had been posted, I noticed a common theme of exhibitionism. The flesh wants to display itself. In giving oneself over to worldly dance, inhibitions are cast aside. Since there were no alcoholic beverages or drugs at any of the events I saw on Facebook there was an illusion that it was all just “great fun”, “clean fun”. What does God think of all of this? Has anyone asked lately?
Glory was the last word on my word study list. I wanted to compare the world’s view of this word to what the Bible says. According to Wikipedia glory means “great honor, praise, or distinction accorded by common consent; renown; adoration, praise and thanksgiving offered in worship. A height of achievement, enjoyment or prosperity (i.e., ancient Rome in all its great glory before its great fall); a halo, numbus or aureole or gloriole (limelight)”
When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, he fasted and prayed for 40 days before being confronted by the devil.
“Again, the devil taketh him (Jesus) up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.” Matthew 4:8
“And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. If thou therefore will worship me, then all shall be thine.” Luke 4:6
We all know the Lord’s response:
“Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8)
Here is the question. Is satan still offering this temptation to mankind today? A person may have fallen for this snare and not even realize who they are serving because they are experiencing the reward of the “tempter’s” offer, that he would give the pleasures and glory of this world to them. It is only later that the trap will be revealed.
“He that speaketh of himself seeketh (desires) his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” (John 7:18) Even Jesus, God in human flesh, did not seek his own glory. “And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.” (John 8:50) One clearly sees here the difference between flesh and God. No flesh can glory in God’s presence for ONLY GOD is deserving of all the praise, honor and glory.
“That no flesh should glory in His presence.” I Corinthians 1:29
“That, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” I Cor. 1:31
“Therefore, let no man glory in men.” I Cor. 3:21
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Cor. 10:31
The Apostle Paul, who suffered great afflictions, learned a very important lesson through his sufferings. The only thing he could glory in was his infirmities. It is suffering that brings glory to a saint. This doctrine is in deep contrast to what many churches are teaching today that the Lord took all of our suffering on the cross so we wouldn’t have to suffer.
Let’s examine some of the things the Apostle Paul had to say about this:
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” Romans 5:3
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
Beloved, it is suffering that reveals glory. We can not put on a mask of glory with stage lighting makeup techniques, face lifts (which are becoming more popular) and any number of things to change our appearance into the image of the world. We must not glory in appearance but in heart.
“For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer to them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.” 2 Cor. 5:12
“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 2 Cor. 10:17
“Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern my infirmities.” 2 Cor. 11:30
This temptation to glory in himself and his accomplishments was ever present in the Apostle Paul, but through many trials the Lord taught him not to glory in the abundance of revelations and visions as so many are doing today. There are numerous books out there on visits to heaven, hell, and prophetic visions seen. Paul was caught up into the 3rd heaven and saw things no man had seen, but he was brought back from that experience with sealed lips and a thorn in the flesh. When he approached the Lord to remove the thorn God spoke to him and said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9 After hearing this Paul came to this conclusion: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14