From The Pee Dee Baptist Association-Featured this week is Rev. James Smith, pastor of East Dillon Baptist Church, Dillon.
The War on Worship
Text: Job 1:1-12
The book of Job may be one of the least-read books in the Bible, but the story of Job is probably better known than any other in the Bible. Job is a man who is well-known for his personal pain and loss, but there is more to Job’s story than suffering. In fact, the book of Job is less a story of tragedy than one of triumph!
The book of Job has much to say to a generation living in a day that is marked by “name it and claim it” theology and the all-too-frequent preaching of a prosperity gospel. Suffering is a reality we will never escape. In fact, we Christians are told to expect it and to embrace it as a means of deeper fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is not important that we be able to understand and explain why people suffer, but it is essential that we come to understand through suffering who God is and how we should respond to Him. Job never understood why he suffered but, at the end of his troubles, he deeply, personally knew who God was. That knowledge caused him to worship Holy God!
The war on worship is what I want to look at in this passage before us. As we deal with this thought, there are a few things I want us to deal with.
Let’s look first of all at THE ADVERSARY OF OUR WORSHIP. Take time and read verses 6, 9-11. As we come to worship we do have an enemy, and that enemy is Satan. There are some things that we should be aware of concerning Satan. Satan has three modes of operation. First there is the mode that Satan assumes. Although God said in verse 8 that Job was upright in his attitudes and upright in his actions, Satan makes a statement that shows he assumes that Job was serving God for the wrong reasons.
Satan is not omniscient- he doesn’t know everything. He doesn’t know the hearts and motives of men as God does. But Satan is a liar and, in his lying and the assumptions he will make, will cause you to think that he knows your motives. You may say, “Well, what’s the real danger in that truth? If Satan only assumes and really doesn’t know what’s in my heart, how can he hurt be with that?” The frightening reality is- he may only assume but his assumption can cause us to be filled with that same devilish attribute. All of us need to reflect on the way we draw conclusions about other people’s motives and actions. Any time we find ourselves criticizing someone’s motives, we need to realize that we are in an area where we do not belong. We are in an area that belongs only to God!
So we see that Satan assumes, but also Satan allures. Here in our text you will not find Satan using this attribute, but the Word of God clearly teaches us that Satan is a tempter. Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5 teach and show this truth.
Nelson’s Bible Dictionary says: “Temptation” is “an enticement, allurement, or invitation to sin, with the implied promise of greater good to be derived from following such disobedience.” What Satan does is to look for weaknesses in our commitment to Christ, and in those weak areas he tempts us to disobey God! This is why we are told in passages such as 1 Corinthians 11:28 and 2 Corinthians 13:5 that we are to “examine” ourselves, to make sure that we are the Christians we say we are.
God’s Word teaches us that Satan assumes, that Satan allures, but it teaches us that Satan accuses. When Satan cannot attempt us or allure us, he will accuse us. There are times when he cannot tempt us because our commitments are pure and complete to Christ, but he can always accuse us! Revelation 12:10 says that Satan is “the accuser of our brethren.” Satan accuses us before God, as seen here in Job 1, and he accuses us in our own hearts as well.
Before God, Satan accuses us of being less than we ought to be and of being hypocritical and deceitful. In our own hearts Satan accuses us by raising doubts and confusion in our minds about God, God’s Word, and other truths relating to God. Playing the role of accuser is the path he chose to fight against worship here in our study of Job. If there is anything that we might learn in looking at the privilege of worship it is that our worship has an adversary.
As we continue to think on the subject of the war on worship, we need also to deal with THE ASSAULT ON OUR WORSHIP. As we come to worship how will this alluring one, this assuming one, this accusing one- how will he assault our worship? He will do so on two fronts.
First, Satan will assault our worship on an earthly front. Satan will attempt to defeat us in worship. He will assault our faith in the existence of God! He will cause us to question: Why worship? Does God even exist? I’ve never seen Him nor have I ever touched Him so does God exist?
In response to that assault let me ask you this: Do you believe in the splitting of an atom which will result in the explosion of an atom bomb? Your answer will rightly be “yes!” Why do you? Have you ever seen an atom? Have you ever touched an atom that you know of? Sure, you believe in the atom and just as the atom is real, so is Almighty God!
Also, Satan will attempt to divert us from worship. He will give you 100 reasons why you cannot or should not attend the worship services regularly and faithfully. But still God’s Word says: “Forsaking not the assembly of yourselves together as the manner of some is.” And, Satan will attempt to disillusion us to worship. How many times have I heard, “Well, the services just aren’t spiritual, that’s why I don’t go.” My friends listen to me. Your worship can only be as spiritual as you allow it to be!
Satan does assault our worship on an earthly front, but also Satan will assault our worship on a heavenly front. Take time to look at verse 6-11 of our text of study and listen closely to verse 9. Satan’s assault here is a two-headed arrow.
One, Satan accuses us of only worshipping God because of His blessings. Do you know what terrifies me most about this assault? Knowing this assault takes place in heaven against us, it means we must ask the question, “Why do we worship God?” Do we love and worship God because of what He give us or do we love and worship God because of Who He is? These questions must be asked and answered honestly.
I listen to our testimonies and too often hear “I want to thank the Lord for doing this or that, for blessing me with this or that.” Not often do we hear, “I want to thank the Lord for just being God.” If Satan has an ounce of right to accuse us justly before God of our worship being for blessing only, we are in much trouble!
Second, Satan accuses God of only being able to inspire mercenary love. Look again at verses 9-11.
Here Satan really shows his contempt and hate for Holy God. Satan says the only way Holy God can get anyone to love Him is by buying them with blessings. What arrogance!
If anything should cause us to see the devilment in the devil it should be this.
Let me bring us to a closing thought. Look with me at THE AFFIRMATION OF OUR WORSHIP. How can we show Satan to be the liar he is? How can we truly show Holy God, our Father and Redeemer, that our worship is real and pure? Take time right now to read slowly and thoughtfully verses 13-21 of Job 1. These verses give us the answer!