What glorifies God the most?
Let us consider together what witnesses to the world, the most, that “Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord“
Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He prayed this: Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one … I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth … “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn. 17:11, 14-17, 20-21, emphasis mine throughout). Let me ask you, what sets a Christian apart from the World? Well, among other things, it is “WHO” they worship. The World worships its own gods, those made in their own image. But our God is the LORD of lords and King of kings. We worship the only One truly worthy of worship. Also, why is it so important that Christians are “One”? Because we are the “Body-of-Christ” on earth, representing heaven on earth, and when we are one, we reflect Christ to the world through our love for one another and through our worship. And a “body” is one unit, it is not divided. So, it is through our worship of God in fellowship with one another, or in our oneness, that not only moves heaven and earth but also defeats the powers of darkness over this land.
Therefore, let me ask you another question: What two things would Satan (the god of this world) love to put a stop to? He would love to block our oneness (our unity/love for one another in Christ) and our worship (exalting the NAME “Lord Jesus Christ” which rules heaven and earth and which brings down strongholds of evil in the land). Because when we stand united, lifting up the name of the Lord, we please the Lord … and He hears us! Plus, it is a picture of what the Angels do around the throne twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, singing: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” … “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:8, 11). From the beginning, God created within humanity the need to worship. We cannot help but worship something or someone. So, if we are not exalting the LORD, we will exalt someone or something else.
I want you to consider these songs of praise from the Psalms for a minute and notice the profound sense of security Israel felt knowing the LORD was their God:
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling ... “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Ps. 46:1-3, 10).
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore" (Ps. 121).
"Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts," (Ps. 95:1-8).
Did your spirit rejoice within you as you read these? Can you, with the psalmist say, “AMEN!”? But beyond agreeing with these words have you actually experienced them and known them as your own personal testimony before the Lord? Consider this testimony from King David:
“The LORD is MY ROCK and MY FORTRESS and MY DELIVERER,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
MY SHIELD, and the horn of MY SALVATION,
my stronghold and my refuge,
MY SAVIOR; you save me from violence.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies” (2 Sam. 22:2-4).
Is the LORD your refuge, shelter, power, safety, protection, deliverer, and salvation from the “Enemy”? Also, are you familiar with Psalm 91? I am convinced that king David made that Psalm “his own” knowing that “those who dwell in the Shelter of the Most High will abide under the shadow of the Almighty!”
Now it is time to share with you the purpose of this post:
Let me ask: Do you believe Satan has an agenda to hinder our praise and to keep us from gathering to worship our God in an atmosphere where we have opportunities to love on one another with prayer, hugs, encouragement, and where we can be refocused on the Word of Truth and reminded that God is in control, you know, that place called “Church” (the Body-of-Christ)?
Why don’t the churches in hostile communist countries just stop gathering, instead of going underground to meet and worship God? I’m guessing they feel it is essential.
When you have made these songs or Psalms part of your own experience, and from the core of your own being, being part of your own walk with the Lord, then you will understand why our oneness in worship is ESSENTIAL!
Satan would love for God’s church, the Body-of-Christ, to believe that gathering for worship, the Word, prayer and encouragement, is something that is non-essential … when there is a local or global threat. However, throughout the Old Testament, New Testament, and church history, when there has been a threat, the Body-of-Christ gathered to pray, confess their sins, worship the Lord, and seek refuge in Him.
So why did the Church not respond in that same manner when 2020 came??
Let me ask you: Have you ever experienced the pain of being misunderstood or of rejection by your friends, family, or your own church family, for taking a stand for Jesus?
There was a Pastor who went to prison in Canada, for continuing to gather during 2020-2021, named James Coates. Not only was he persecuted by the world for gathering but he was also persecuted by some of his own church members. Though it is true that he was not the only pastor persecuted by some of his own church members, other pastors dealt with the same persecution from their members in Canada, America, and elsewhere. But why? Allow me to observe something here: Satan has always tried to silence our worship, prayers, and the Word of Truth from being “voiced” throughout the ages. So, what better way to do this than to literally “cover our voices.” It’s like singing praises to heaven while placing your hand over your mouth. Now, I need you to know this is NOT a post about personal health concerns, or about being truly sick with something and staying home, or about forcing anyone to gather if they choose not to. But this IS a post about what glorifies God most. And God is most glorified when we worship Him in oneness. More specifically, as Jesus said, God is most glorified when we worship the Father “in spirit and in truth.” And since God is most glorified in this way, then why did we question it? In other words, Pastors, and Elders, should have known better than to “close out” the option for those who desired to gather for worship, to love one another, and then to watch God move in response to our worship … unless of course, most churches in this generation were no longer worshiping in spirit and in truth, but with lip service only??
Anyway, Pastor James Coates co-authored a book after he got out of prison titled “God vs. Government.” The question is addressed in the book asking, “When is it appropriate to disobey the government”? He deals with this issue seriously and thoughtfully. He acknowledges we are to obey our leaders … except when it impedes the glory of God! Throughout history pastors and churches have had to make difficult decisions in order to maintain the Lord’s exalted place of authority over the heavens and the earth, over kings and rulers, and over the powers of darkness.
But really, what are the consequences for the Body-of-Christ when it divides and discontinues lifting up the name of the Lord with one voice? It becomes vulnerable to spiritual attack through isolation, worldly distractions and temptations, spiritual lethargy, and sometimes … some never return.
I desire that we seriously re-think, prayerfully, whether it is worth the cost that comes with closing churches and choosing to stay apart from one another as Chrisitan’s even, or especially, during a global crisis … even a health crisis. On the other hand, the blessings which came to those who recognized the threat, weighed it, brought it before the Lord, and chose to honor the name of Jesus Christ above the name of “Ceasar” (political powers) despite the pushback and persecution which came with it, were given, by the Holy Spirit, more insight, light, revelation, understanding, and glory. And this way of blessing follows naturally the way Jesus spoke regarding those who were given truth, obeyed that truth, then were rewarded with more truth. It’s just the way God blessed those who stood on the Word of Truth during that time. However, if a pastor or board of elders did not know what the right thing to do was, during 2020-2021, but simply did what they believed was the right thing, it will not be held against them, because the Lord is gracious and merciful towards us!
Let me (finally) end this very long post with this: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:23-25).
It glorifies God the most when we worship Him as one, and this witnesses to the world that Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord of all.