December 1, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship
Word On Worship – December 1, 2013 Download / Print
Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord on account of Midian, that the Lord sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel,’It was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery. I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land, and I said to you, I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me.”
There are two very important forces that affect faith in our culture; pluralism and privatization. Pluralism is the process by which our culture accepts a wide diversity of beliefs and practices as having equal merit. Considering the free society in which we live, this tolerance of other views is necessary for the functioning of the nation. In terms of religion, our nation is made up of many faiths, and our system of government allows people to believe and practice their faith as they see fit, provided they are not a danger to themselves or others.
It is necessary in a democracy to accept the reality that many faiths can coexist and be embraced in our nation, but this does not mean that all these faiths are equally true and valid. According to the Bible, and particularly the Lord Jesus Christ, Christianity alone is true faith, and faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins is the only way to heaven. People have the freedom to believe and worship however they wish, but only Jesus Christ saves, and only the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God.
Privatization not only embraces pluralism, it seeks to promote it. Our culture wants to believe all religions are of equal value and all of them will eventually get you to heaven. So pluralism says you can believe whatever you want, but privatization insists that you must not hold your belief as exclusively true. And so in the culture the only unpardonable sin is to attempt to impose your belief on someone else. Privatization insists we keep our faith – whatever that may be – to ourselves. This is the opposition we as Christians see in society towards evangelism.
Our text exposes these modern beliefs as false. The Israelites did not have the freedom to worship whatever they wanted. They were commanded to believe in the God who saved them from Egypt and had given them the land of Canaan. God told them through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” The Great Commission demands we share our faith with others who are lost apart from trusting in Jesus Christ for their salvation. Gideon must tear down his father’s idols and publicly worship the God of Israel. Our text challenges us to confront the pluralism and privatization of religion in our lives. There should be no such thing as “secret Christians” for those who follow Jesus Christ.