“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments,~Exodus 20:2-6.
Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,“~Acts 4:10-12.
God is quite serious about being the only One we worship. I’ve been following Jesus for a long time. I can say with great confidence there’s an idol in Christian circles we find acceptable to worship, it’s His church, the people He uses, and the gifts of the Spirit.
The church in the context I’m using it is the corporate body of believers.
I’ve been in services where people walked out if they didn’t have their favorite pastor preaching, their favorite worship leader leading, or they left a church to follow a mega pastor.
I’ve gone to conferences where people have refused prayer from the people around them to seek out the big name person with a healing ministry to pray for them.
I’ve seen people worship their “church” or the people God is using in their “church.” Instead of cultivating their own relationship with God, they sought out what they believed to be more “spiritual” people to feed them continually.
I’ve seen people shake their fists at God if He didn’t perform the miracle they wanted or needed.
I’ve seen all over social media where big name churches have boasted about their members, conferences, and the well known pastors they have coming through their church.
I’ve seen the fans and groupies of major worship artists. They exalt the bands, groups, and individuals to a god like status.
I’ve heard people say you should never criticize the church because she’s Christ’s Bride. Almost like Bridezilla at times, the Bride becomes the focus-she can do no wrong, she must have her way, she’s exalted above the Groom. Some love “church-worship gatherings” more than God. The weekend service or church attendance is the only time they meet with God.
Certain churches or pastors have had their bad behavior excused not by grace, but under the lie that the church is not to be held accountable for their wrongdoing. Example pastors molesting children and it’s hidden from the public.
I can say with earnest conviction and Biblical backing, there’s no place in scripture where God exalts anyone above Him. Christ raises us up to sit in heavenly places with Him, not above Him. God loves people. He loves to give good gifts. He loves His Bride. He never longs for anything or anyone to be exalted above Him. We (humans) were not created to be worshipped. We cannot save anyone. Without God, we can do nothing (John 15:5). There’s only one who is infallible, Christ alone.
Your pastor, priest, rabbi, worship leader, or spiritual leader is human. Meaning they were created not the Creator.
The desire to be worshipped and worshipped above God is what caused Lucifer to be cast out of heaven.
When we worship the created or the gifts of God, we are idolaters. It’s a harsh but true word.
There’s no pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelist, apostle, singer, worship leader, Christian celebrity, healer, etcetera…who can save anyone. Nor are people all powerful. We get into trouble when we make ourselves or others demigods.
Those who worship idols have no place in God’s Kingdom.
You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world,~Ephesians 5:5.
We are also not to worship the gifts. It’s great that God enables us to participate in His Kingdom building. We are not to exalt the gifts. See how Jesus instructs the disciples.
…don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven,~Luke 10:20.
Paul also gives us insight on proper view of the gifts.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love,~1 Cor 13:1-7.
Jesus provides even more insight about the gifts.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’~Matthew 7:21-23.
The gifts are not an indication of right standing with God. Nor are they to be worshipped. Many will be deceived by the antichrist because he will be able to perform miracles, signs, and wonders. Read Revelations.
This does not mean we do not honor God’s people, love them, or say thanks for the gifts of God. It does mean we don’t ever elevate anyone or anything above Him. God alone is worthy.
Father, please forgive us for worshipping anyone or anything other than You! Please purify our hearts and help us to place You first in all things. Thank You for all You are. In Jesus powerful name, amen.