Should We Be Talking To Satan?

What Scripture Has To Say Concerning Rebuking and Conversing With Satan

Rev. Kenneth D. Willis

“Think about what you are thinking about. As you recognize a lie to your mind, always defend yourself out loud. That means speaking to Satan and the evil forces out loud, binding them in the Name of Jesus, and forbidding them to lie to you and to use your mind.”

   We could look at dozens of examples from prosperity gospel preachers and those from the Word of Faith and Charismatic movements, and some even within Fundamentalism–all of which instruct us to verbally rebuke Satan and to even bind him. People listening to these messages from such people will feel empowered, emboldened and even led to do so in Jesus’ name. To be honest, it is a topic that not many in the Fundamentalist world address, due to the particular controversies attached to the topic and I believe due to a general hesitancy towards addressing the demonic subject matter it entails. 

   Those who preach and teach rebuking and binding the devil do so for several reasons: First, it sounds like a great sermon for victorious Christian living. Who does not want Satan to be rebuked and bound? I do, and I would be hard pressed to find any true believer in Christ who would not love to see Satan bound and rebuked. Second, the message sells. There are far more controversial topics for people to speak on; topics that would pick up a great deal of heat and rejection. Binding Satan is a topic that anyone can speak on with a one hundred percent approval rating. 

Third, they use several Scriptures to defend the practice of verbally rebuking and binding Satan. 

   This article will deal with each “proof text” often used for rebuking and binding Satan,  address the systematic theological problems that follow such teaching and also provide clear Scriptural teaching on how to deal with Satan. 

   First, we will examine the proof texts that are used to justify rebuking and binding Satan. The classic text from which folks draw this idea is found in Matthew 16 just after Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. Christ then gives a great proclamation to Peter: 

Matthew 16:18-19 – “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

As Fundamentalists, we are most familiar with misapplication of this passage by the Roman Catholic Church as proof for Papal authority (which we categorically reject as heretical), but here we can see another great misapplication of truth when someone says this passage gives them authority to bind Satan. The first problem here is that Jesus is speaking to the Apostle Peter. He is not speaking to us. The second problem is that the binding and loosing here is a Jewish teaching concerning teaching authority. Jesus is telling Peter He is giving him apostolic authority (and as Paul will later explain, when the Scriptures were completed, the need for apostolic authority and gifts ceased.) Jesus was not giving Peter a literal ability to bind and release people or things to heaven or hell–as the Roman Catholic Church teaches. So to argue for binding of Satan from this passage is both poor hermeneutics and heretical. 

   Another passage used is found in Matthew 18 where Jesus is addressing church discipline and unrepentant brethren. Because this verse contains the words “bind, bound, loose and loosed”, many jump on it as proof for binding Satan. 

Matthew 18:17-19 “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

The first problem with this passage being a proof text for binding the devil is that it is not talking about binding Satan, but church discipline and reconciliation between brethren. Therefore, applying it to binding Satan is poor hermeneutics at best. The second issue is that the binding and loosing here does not in any way have to do with binding or loosing Satan. The words used here are referring to the fact that once someone is forgiven and restored in human terms, they are loosed and God looses them in His eyes as well. This whole passage has absolutely nothing to do with binding Satan. 

   Another passage used in the one in Mark 3 where the scribes accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan. They were essentially saying, “because you work for Satan, you have the power to command demons”. Jesus refutes their absurd claim by showing it to be impossible and non doctrinal. However, the word “bind” appears here and many again jump on this passage as proof to bind Satan. 

Mark 3:22-28 – “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:”

Jesus demonstrated in this passage that He has power over the demons because He has power over their master, Satan. Jesus has the power to bind Satan. Nowhere in this passage does it say we have that power or are to exercise that power.

   We can however find an example of someone trying to bind a demon outside of the authority and direction of Christ. They thought they could simply bring up Christ’s authority and command demons. They found out however, that demons know when someone has the power of Christ or not. 

Acts 19:13-16 – “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

These sons of Sceva, thought they were endowed with the same Apostolic power of Paul and could simply put Jesus’ name in their rebuke and experience divine results. The message here is manifold, but one takeaway is that simply adding Jesus’ name to a Satanic rebuke does not mean anything. 

   So how do we as New Testament, post-apostolic believers deal with Satan and demonic forces? Well, we need to consider a few facts based on the clear teaching of Scripture. First, Satan will one day be bound, but is not right now. Even a child can figure out today that Satan is far from bound. If people are truly binding him, someone is letting him out–frequently. If someone could truly bind Satan, we would live in a very different world. No one has ever bound Satan outside of Jesus Christ and His command. Scripture does clearly teach though that one day Satan will be physically and eventually permanently bound–and it will not be by some would be apostle. 

Revelation 20:1-3 – “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”

Revelation 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Second, Satan is powerful and we are no match for him outside of God’s divine protection. The idea that we can go head to head with Satan is a fool’s errand. Jesus told Peter, the apostle, that if it were not for His intervention, Satan would destroy Peter.

Luke 22:31-32 – “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

If the apostle Peter was no match for Satan, how can we be so stupid as to think we can head off into battle to challenge him in single combat? People who think they can try this are headed for disaster. As if Peter is not enough of an example, consider the following two passages: 

Jude 1:9 –Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”

Zechariah 3:1-2 “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”

   Jude 1:9 is one of only two places in Scripture where the word “rebuke” is used in relation to Satan. The archangel Michael, the most powerful angel in Heaven, did not dare to rebuke Satan. He chose to let the LORD do the rebuking. This is profound and we should take heed to Michael’s example. Let God do the rebuking. We can ask the LORD to rebuke Satan, but nowhere in Scripture do we find permission to engage Satan and converse with him. 

  Zechariah 3:1-2 is the only other passage in Scripture involving Satan being rebuked. The amazing fact in this passage is that the one doing the rebuking is the LORD, YHVH. It is fascinating to me that when Yahweh Himself rebuked Satan, He said, “the LORD rebuke thee”. Even if we quote the words of God Himself, we still end up not rebuking Satan ourselves and laying the rebuke in the hands of God!

   Third, we are commanded to resist Satan and not to give him opportunities to harm us. James 4:7 and Ephesians 4:27 both teach us that we can and should resist Satan’s attempts to wreak havoc in our spiritual and physical lives. 

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Ephesians 4:27 – “Neither give place to the devil.”

Surprising to some is the fact that neither of these verses say anything about engaging with or rebuking Satan. James 4:7 teaches us to submit to God and resist Satan. This instruction teaches a quiet submission to God and quiet rejection of Satan. Nowhere does this verse even remotely imply conversing or directly engaging Satan. Like James 4:7, Ephesians 4:27 teaches us nothing of rebuking Satan, but only that we should not let him have advantage over us. Submitting to God and resisting Satan included putting Scripture up as our defense. Jesus did that on the three occasions Satan tempted Him and we are to follow His example. 

Finally, we must remember that it is God who keeps us from falling to Satan’s attacks and He has given us everything we need in Scripture and prayer to stand against Satanic attack.

II Thessalonians 3:3 – “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.”

I Peter 5:8-10 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

In conclusion, while we are to resist Satan and cling to the resources and One who will shield is from being wounded by Satanic darts, we do not find any Scriptural basis for challenging Satan one on one and trying to rebuke, much less bind him. He will be bound and vanquished, but not by any mere mortal. Even the archangel knows that only God can do this. Resist Satan by being submitted to God, by prayer, by the Word and the heavenly armor given to us by the Almighty Creator—who alone can vanquish the enemy of our souls.

What Should Worship Look Like? Part III

CORE SCRIPTURE #6: II CORINTHIANS 6:17-18

How We Present Ourselves Matters

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – II Corinthians 6:17-18

   We have already disproved with multiple passages of Scripture the error which says, “I can worship God how I want and He will accept me.” Paul echoed this truth in II Corinthians 6:17-18. God told the New Testament church–which is under the covenant of grace–that unless they sanctified themselves and united with Christ in the new identity of our salvation, He would not accept worldly saints. This does not mean God will disown or revoke someone’s salvation if they live an unseparated life. It means He will not be pleased and will not bless them as obedient children. God made it plain that His children will live godly, separated lives. Disobedient or immature children may exhibit worldly behavior, but obedient and mature ones will become less like the world and more like Christ. Consider the words of Paul to the Romans: 

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”              – Romans 12:2

Sanctification is not a new idea. It was something God made great effort to instill in His people Israel as an example to us in the church. Consider these passages where God placed great emphasis on their appearance and clothing being set apart and distinct: 

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.”                      – Deuteronomy 22:5

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I [am] the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:28 

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes…” – Exodus 19:10

“And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them.” – Exodus 19:22

“And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” – Exodus 28:41

“And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office.” – Exodus 29:44

“And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.” – Exodus 30:29

“And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” – Exodus 40:13

God wanted His people to be distinct and identified as a special people not like those around them. We have already established the fact that even the world recognizes what people in Church look like versus  people going to a secular event. Of course some reading this are already thinking, “But these verses applied in the Old Testament to the Levites and priests.” Well, we do not get off the hook that easily, because according to the New Covenant, all believers are priests. Consider the words of Peter: 

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” – I Peter 2:5

“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 marvelous light;” – I Peter 2:9

Now consider these New Testament passages that continue the command of God for us to be separated and holy in how we live.  

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” – I Timothy 2:9-10

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – I Peter 3:3-4

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – I Corinthians 6:19-20

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.” – I Corinthians 3:17

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”              – I Corinthians 10:31

It is the plan and will of Christ that His bride, the church, be sanctified “set apart” from the world and sanctified as holy people–just like the people of Israel were set apart from all the pagan nations. Consider these verses:

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” – John 17:17

“And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” – John 17:19

“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word…”                      – Ephesians 5:26

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.                              – I Thessalonians 5:23

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” – Hebrews 13:12

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”                   – I Peter 3:15

Facts To Consider:

God does not accept worldly and unsanctified people as obedient, mature children. 

We are commanded to be set apart and distinct from the world in every area of life. 


ADDITIONAL ERRONEOUS ARGUMENTS TO ADDRESS

God Does Not Care How I Dress For Church

   At some point people will normally throw up the argument, “In James, it tells us not to be partial to well dressed people and that God is not either. Therefore how I dress at church is irrelevant.” They are referring to James 2:1-3. 

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:” – James 2:1-3

The common faulty interpretation of this passage is that God is not interested in whether or not we dress nice for worship. The problem is James is not talking about dressing nice for worship. He is making the case for being impartial towards people who come to church–whether they are dirt poor or quite wealthy. The context of the passage makes this clear. This passage has been hijacked by those who want to dress down for church. The case holds no water. 

Externals Do Not Matter; God Sees The Heart

   The classic passage twisted by those who want to dress down is I Samuel 16:7 where Samuel is reviewing the sons of Jesse in preparation for anointing the king to replace Saul. What God tells Samuel in this verse has been twisted so many times by unbelievers and believers alike that it may be one of the most twisted verses in Scripture. Nevertheless, it does not say what many want it to say. Let us examine it: 

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” – I Samuel 16:7

The topic of God’s words to Samuel was moral character and had nothing to do with clothing. Samuel was looking for a king, tall and handsome like Saul. The LORD told Samuel in essence, “I know you can see the outward, but I can also see the heart.” It is not that the outward is not important, but God looks on both the external and the internal. God pointed out here that while man can see the outward, God also sees the heart. If our conclusion here is that the external does not matter, we are fools. The entirety of Scripture tells us that our outward presentation and testimony sends a message for everyone to see and judge by. The outward is important, but God sees beyond into the heart. If someone tells me that God is not concerned with the externals, then I know they have never read Leviticus, the much of the Old Testament and much of the New Testament. 

We Are Not To Judge; Only God Can Judge Me

   It always amazes me how some folks who know virtually nothing of Scripture, yet they can quote passages that suit their preferences. The most famous it seems is the one where Jesus turned water in wine at Cana. Of course, deeper study of the topic of wine in Scripture shows that Jesus did not make alcoholic wine and it was impossible for that to be what happened. Anyhow, folks sure know their Bible when it comes to taking obscure verses out of context and without cross examining other passages that show the full meaning of what is being taught. Such is the case with the next verse:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” – Matthew 7:1-2 

This verse is not saying it is wrong to make judgments concerning what people are doing. Jesus is saying that if you are quick to judge or use superficial judgment, others will judge them with the same rash judgment.  Jesus commanded us to make Biblical judgments based on fruit and based on comparing people and things to the written Word of God. Consider these verses: 

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”        – Matthew 7:16

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7:20

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” – Hebrews 5:14

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – Matthew 7:24

We cannot and are commanded not to make judgments in the place of God. We cannot judge people’s hearts and motives. Only God can see these things. But we can judge the fruit people bear. Paul tells us that some people bear such evil fruit that we are to name them and mark them as people to avoid, even cast out of the church. Consider these verses: 

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” – Romans 16:17-18 

On several occasions Paul made public judgment about individuals by name. That would hardly fly in the “no judge” culture of today. Yet, Paul was not wrong to make judgments based on folks’ actions, choices and fruit. To say that we are never to judge is to err severely and to ignore the vast amount of Scripture that teaches God’s people to use discernment concerning whether people are obeying the Scriptures or living in clear violation of God’s Word. The emphasis in Scripture is not that we judge people as much as we should judge their fruits. 

Is Not Worship A Cultural Issue? 

   Many say that worship dress is simply a matter of local culture and therefore it matters not how I dress for church because as long as God sees my heart, the externals are simply cultural. Well, we have already established that externals do matter to God. So we must establish whether or not worship dress is a cultural issue. The answer is yes and no. Does worship attire change from culture to culture? Yes. Obviously worship dress in the Philippines and Westminster Abbey will look different. Does the principle of dressing up for church change? No. The person in the poor village with one set of clothes wears that same set to church. Why? Because he wants to dress down? No. Because he has nothing better to wear and he is honoring God with the best he has to offer, like Abel. But someone who deliberately dresses down is doing the very same thing Cain did by not offering their best. The same application was true in the Old Testament, the life of Jesus and today. 

   I readily grant that many people have never been taught and some simply do not know what the Scriptures teach concerning worship, giving our best and such, but I also submit that the vast majority of Christians who have been saved many years and still insist on dressing down are doing so because they simply like to dress that way and have a lesser view of God’s holiness which affects their attitude towards worship and dress. 

    In Western countries, it is a historical fact that people have dressed up for church more so than everyday events. This fact has already been established earlier in this article: even unsaved people know it is morally proper and culturally expected for people to look sharp at church because it is special and done out of respect for God. Today there is an overwhelming lack of respect for God–even within the church. That really is the key problem with worship, music and dress. The reverence and respect for God is shamefully lacking. 

What About David Dancing Before The LORD? 

Many point to the account of David dancing before the LORD as license to dance and flail about in church as something God commands and expects. This is a grave error and goes against everything the Scripture teaches concerning corporate worship. First of all, what David was doing was nothing even remotely close to the sensual and wild dancing of today. Examine the passage: 

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.” – II Samuel 6:14

The Hebrew word for dancing in this passage means to whirl in a circle, much like a child at play.  It was an innocent, joyful celebration at the return of God’s Ark of the Covenant. Of course some like to say, well David was naked when he did it or he exposed his nakedness. Three factors prove this false. First, David was in a public event where the priests and Levites were ceremonially carrying the Ark and recently God had struck dead someone for improperly handling the Ark. David would have insane to be underdressed at this event and God would have seriously reprimanded or even caused judgement to fall on him. Second, the parallel passage in the Chronicles tells us that David had this linen ephod over his other clothes. So even more so the nakedness argument is shredded. Michael accused him of uncovering himself, but that accusation was in regards to the fact that David lept and swirled for joy so enthusiastically that his ephod flew up and revealed his regular clothing and it made him look like a silly child at play and Michael was embarrassed. God judged Michael by not giving her children in return for her criticism of David’s joy. So David did nothing wrong here. Third, the passage in Chronicles 15:27 makes it plain that David was outside in a sort of parade when he danced for joy. He was not in the Tabernacle, Temple, Synagogue or Church. To say that David’s dance of joy is license for modern styles (wordly styles) of dancing and swaying in church is ludicrous and embarrassingly poor hermeneutics.  

 

Facts To Consider:

Man can only see the outward, and therefore it does matter. 

God does care about externals. 

How we look sends a message to others. 

Others are commanded to judge our actions and fruit. 

You do not have a license to do what you want without others making righteous judgment. 

We cannot judge others motives and heart, but we can judge their fruit. 

Even unsaved people recognize their should be reverence and respect for God.

Modern Christianity is shamefully lacking in reverence and respect for God. 

David’s dancing was not immodest in any way. 

David’s dancing resembled a child skipping for joy and was nothing like modern dancing. 

David’s dancing was not in a worship service and in no way sets a pattern for worship services. 


CORE SCRIPTURE #7: JOHN 4:23-24

We Must Worship In The Spirit And In The Truth of Scripture

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:23-24

   Everyone loves to quote this passage as justification to do whatever they want in church and blame it on the Spirit within them. They say, God wants us to worship Him in the Spirit. The problem is they leave out the last three words of the passage: “and in truth”. The truth is the Scriptures and ALL they teach concerning worship. If people adhered to ALL the Scriptures taught on worship, the controversies of modern worship would immediately disappear, because there is no controversy in Scripture. Everything is black and white ink on the pages of God’s Word. 

   We are called to be different. That is inconvenient to many,  but does not change the fact. Consider the words of Peter: 

“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;” – I Peter 2:9

We are called to live in the light of God’s holiness and His Word. When Christians insist on worshipping like the world, using music like the world and looking like the world, there is no light in that, only darkness. There is no salt in that, only a worthless testimony. There is no value to a Christian’s life unless it is light and salt in this dark, corrupt world. Our worship is determined by our view of God’s holiness. 

   Choosing to live as salt and light will draw heat not only from the world, but from Christians who are living in disobedience. There is no way to avoid being persecuted if you live a godly life. Consider the words of Paul to Timothy: 

“Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” – II Timothy  3:11-13 

The simple, yet profound choice you must make regarding worship is the same choice Joshua put forth to Israel. Your choice will be based on your view of God’s holiness, your reverence for God and your love for Him as the One who is “High and lifted up”, the One at whose name the Seraphim cry “Holy, Holy, Holy”. 

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15

THE END


Copyright – 2020 – Voice In The Wilderness Ministries – Rev. Kenneth D. Willis