At the beginning of Deuteronomy chapter 12 God commands His people through His servant Moses to destroy the places of worship where the nations whom they will dispossess have worshiped their false gods. He commands them to break down the images of the false gods and forbids them to worship those gods.
1 “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2 You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things. 5 But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. Deuteronomy 12:1-5
Throughout the Holy Scriptures God commands His people to separate from unbelievers. Of course, there is that well-known passage out of 2 Corinthians 6 where Paul, the servant of God, exhorts his beloved Corinthians, and quotes Old Testament passages, urging them to not be joined to unbelievers.
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with and unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do no touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
The visible church is rife with unbelievers in the pews and the pulpit who promote man centered belief systems that rely upon the carefully crafted theology of the church’s heretical doctors rather than the glorious Word of God, the Bible. With loud cries and boisterous demonstrations of emotion laden performance they purport to love and worship the Lord God Almighty. However, they are using the ways of the world rather than the works of the Word in their false worship and so disobey God. If God exalts His Word above His name then how can any worship Him in Spirit and in truth if they neglect the teaching of the Bible? The Psalmist sets forth worship that is worthy of the great dignity and grandeur of our glorious God. This worship is centered upon the Word of God and humble experiential knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
1 I will praise you with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You. 2 I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name. For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name. 3 In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul. 4 All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, when they hear the words of Your mouth. 5 Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, For great is the glory of the Lord. 6 Though the Lord is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies. And Your right hand will save me. 8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. Psalm 138:1-8
In the remainder of Deuteronomy chapter 12 God tells His beloved Israel that He will give them the place where they are to worship Him and offer Him their holy sacrifices. They must obey His voice and not follow the dictates of their own hearts, inclined towards evil, but worship in the place He chooses following His commandments, statutes and regulations.
6 “There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 And there you shall eat before the Lord God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. 8 You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—9 for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 12:6-9
Just as God commanded the Israelites regarding their worship of Him in the Promised Land, God calls His beloved children to follow His Word and His Spirit as we follow Christ and fellowship with Him in worship, prayer and study of His Holy Scriptures. We must not follow the dictates of our own hearts or be beguiled by alluring and attractive enticements deviously designed by the devil to lead us into spiritual malnourishment and harmful abuse. We must throw off the crafty works of deception and obediently follow Christ in humble reliance upon Him and His truth which is only found in the Holy Bible. This is the way of blessing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Any worship not centered wholly in the Scriptures is worship designed by the god of this world; it feeds the flesh and ends in wickedness. This warning concludes Deuteronomy chapter twelve.
28 “Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. 29 When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it or take away from it.” Deuteronomy 12:28-32
Many false ways have emerged from the world and been subsumed by the church to its destruction. From the false teaching of Rick Warren with purpose driven heresies, to Jim Wallis with his socialism disguised as Christian compassion, to Rob Bell with his empty mystical spirituality, to Bethel Church with its hysterical illusory aberrations, to Hillsong’s spreading ecumenical cancer, and Sarah Young with her fake Jesus calling the perpetually dead, the church has been infected with the ways of the world. These and many more false teachers have taken away from and added to the Holy Scriptures placing their word above God, and making His exalted Word subservient to them. And so the church is no longer recognizable as the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. This is what Jesus says to the false church:
34 “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.” Luke 11:34-35
This is a hard saying: The church is full of darkness and we must forsake it. We must follow our Lord Jesus Christ and obey His Word because He loves us and we love Him. We cannot correct this aberration, but must warns others with pitiful pleadings and exhortations to forsake the world’s ways and follow Jesus Christ Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, may we follow You and Your ways, and so do what is good and right in the sight of our God. Amen!