The Worship God Hates
The worship God hates is anything the world calls worship. What other religions are doing in their churches—or doing to their gods—we shouldn’t be doing anymore. “You must not worship (God) in their way,” [Deu.12.32].
Worship services with prelude, opening and closing prayers, scripture reading and things like these are common in many religions, especially that one which promotes pagan Christianity. In fact, Sundays-only worships (worship to them is only on Sundays) are a long held practice by worldly religions. Many of them take pride in their expertise on the keyboards, drums, electric guitars, worship teams, and praise and worship programs. Well, don't get too excited about them because these are nothing new to pagan Christianity. They’re all doing these things, too—in their solemn and lively worships.
Do you know that worship programs you plan and pray for are really “self-imposed worship” [Col.2.23]? They seem to be endowed with wisdom and humility (a false one, though) but are really powerless to radically transform people to live the radical life of Jesus. Paul says worship like that is worldly. It is self-imposed because you plan and decide what should happen. It’s all man’s effort...with some prayers. It's man imposing everything that should happen.
It's something like this:
PROGRAM PLANNERS: "Okay, God here's what we plan to do for you. We'd like to make them happen. Approve them."
GOD: "Your wish is my command."
Well, of course it doesn't sound as rude as that. It sounds something gentler like this: "God, our heavenly Father, we ask your blessings upon our worship program. Your will be done in everything. May you bless the presider, the one opening and closing in prayer, the worship songs..." and etc., etc.
You make it gentle and solemn like that to take away guilt and feel good about it all. But you had it all made.
Uniquely Spontaneous and God-Triggered
A great worship in the bible was during the Pentecost in Acts. Nothing there was planned and prayed for. They didn’t decide or expect what would happen, or what the succession of worship events should be. They didn't decide the dramatic descent of the Holy Spirit in their midst.
"Okay, after opening prayer and scripture reading, we'll have the power of the Holy Spirit. We'll speak in tongues." It was nothing like that.
I personally heard some seminary pastors teach that the apostles in Pentecost really studied different languages beforehand, prior to their meeting in the upper room. Thus, they said, they were able to speak in tongues. So, in their minds, it was something like this:
Some months before the Pentecost.
APOSTLES: "Okay, enroll in a language school and take up these languages (foreign languages were enumerated). Then on Pentecost, these are the languages we will be using for speaking in tongues."
In truth, the apostles just did their genuine life prayer, soaking in God's presence, desiring nothing but Jesus. No plans or programs. And then things just began to happen—by the finger of God. It was something the world had not yet seen till then. Nobody else was doing it before that event. It was a unique worship form. It was straight from God--no human effort.
How Different is Your Worship?
So, what makes your worship different from what pagans today have? The absence of images and idols?
Well, surprise! A lot of these pagan churches are gradually throwing out their idolatry, not because they’re finally seeing the light, but because they want to be competitive with non-idolatrous churches. And actually, many “Christian” churches are guilty today of spiritual idolatry. No visible carved or painted images or idols, but the vile idolatry is in their hearts, which is worse in God’s eyes.
If you do what they’re also doing, you’re doing the worship God hates. You should be doing something different. And I don’t mean you should come up with new gimmicks in worship. I mean, you should be updated in the present move of God. In His Kingdom, there’s always something fresh and new in worship. You see God’s mercies never come to an end, they come new every morning—because great is His faithfulness.
Angels worshiping in heaven always see new facets of God’s glory each time they look at Him. God always has something new to manifest. Angels and the 24 elders bow down in awe eternally because new glories never fail to fascinate them. Not one glory is the same with the one previously revealed.
It used to be that only Christian churches were able to have choir special numbers during worship. They had the monopoly of playing modern Gospel music in church and singing popular hymns. The pagan Christian church could not do that. It was limited to old, old archaic and operatic church singing. They were limited to playing organs.
But after a long while, the pagan Christian church was able to copy them. They were also able to sing Gospel and praise and worship songs in their church. Soon, they also made use of praise and worship. They learned to dance like Pentecostals. Today, they also have worship teams and leaders singing the same songs that Christian churches sing. They’ve caught up with their competition. What’s worse is that, Christian churches have maintained the status quo. Whatever you find in Christian churches, pagan Christian churches sometimes have it better.
One night my wife and I were doing our brisk walk when we passed by a pagan Christian church. Its worship team was practicing and they really sounded like the worship teams of evangelical churches. They even prayed like evangelicals.
Jesus, the Highest Worship
All the symbolism of perfect animal sacrifice in the Old Testament points to the Christ, and Christ is the perfection of worship to God. In Revelation, John wept because no one was found in heaven or on earth worthy enough in God’s eyes to open the scrolls and break the seals—no one except the Lamb that was slain—Jesus Christ. Jesus is the highest worship and in fact the only worship worthy in God’s eyes. In these last days, Jesus Christ is the last move of God, the only worship acceptable.
Jesus then sends us out like sheep among wolves. He sends us as sacrificial lambs to do the highest worship—living in wolf territory where we get crucified (insulted, mocked, and belittled) for his Name, and there live the very LIFE and manifest the very character of Jesus.
The highest worship that delights the heart of the Father is manifesting Jesus Christ 100 percent in our bodies, in our lives—not in air conditioned church offices or cozy and posh church sanctuaries where we “worship” him with every convenience, comfort, and the latest technology available—but right where wolves live and reign in the natural, those who tear limbs and flesh if they see you giving up everything for Jesus and living the very life of the Lamb that was slain.
Worship that Pagans Cannot Copy
The Jesus worship is something fakes cannot imitate. This worship is a life, not just a program. Programs are easy to copy. A life needs the right DNA. To live the Jesus worship, you have to give up everything—your material things, wealth, work, business, denomination, man’s church, family, reputation, decency, honor, recognition, titles, degrees, achievements, properties, and even your very life.
You empty yourself and take the form of a slave—God’s slave—with no privileges or rights, whatsoever. You become a nobody, a faceless household servant. Then you begin living the life of Jesus. Jesus starts really manifesting in you. You start getting the Jesus DNA for genuine worship cheered in heaven. You start becoming a real son or daughter.
Fakes would not be able to copy that. Who would dare give up and trash his church denomination and denominational titles, degrees, achievements, and position, for instance? Who’d dare quit his job (especially if he has a family) and let God tell him what job he should do? Who’d dare give up his or her money and bank account and lay them all at the apostles’ feet?
Thus, Dr. Rev. Nicodemus could not figure it out. He couldn’t see, “How can this be?” Jesus told him to be born again. That meant living his life all over again, trashing everything and starting from zero. It meant giving up all his trophies, his titles, degrees, position, and achievements as a Pharisee. He couldn’t imagine such extreme and radical emptying of self. But emptying serves to set you free, free as the wind that blows wherever it wills. You hear it coming but cannot predict or anticipate or order where it goes. So is one born of the spirit.
Worship is Not a Sunday Service
Worship is a life, but religious men confine it into a day and further reduce it into a program. True worship goes on and increases in glory as you breathe. God told Joshua to meditate the Word day and night, while Paul insisted that prayer should be unceasing. Psalms declare that worship to God is daily. Moreover, our true spiritual worship is presenting our bodies—our daily lives—as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God.
In the church God gave me to handle, we don’t have worship “services” on Sundays. We live lives on Sundays, and each day after. We worship in wolf territory, not in air-conditioned church buildings. We get more grace to see that only Jesus has the Father’s seal of approval [Jn. 6.27]. Only Jesus can please God. Only God in us can please God.
More by this Author
Great things are for the great. However, God's delight is in simple folks who have hearts like little children whose only talents are marvel at his work and heavily rely on him.
God shows you something in Scripture so crystal clear, and it’s so powerful. He tells you it’s yours in due time, so you wait in expectation. Then it never happens. Instead, you see other people have it, and...
I began understanding the plan of God in the latter part of 1998. I had already been pastoring a big church then, starting as an associate pastor in 1983, and then being the senior pastor later. But everything was...