FIVE KINDS OF WORSHIP DISPLEASING TO GOD By Curtis Pugh


FIVE KINDS OF WORSHIP
DISPLEASING TO GOD
By Curtis Pugh

Published in the Berea Baptist Banner September 5, 1990.

II Kings 17:22-34 & 41
(Please read the above mentioned Scripture.) Worship
is either wonderful or wearying, depending on the
spiritual condition of the participant! Going to the meeting
place of the Church and hearing the Word of God is
a joyful experience if you are in fellowship with God.
Only one rightly related to the Lord Jesus Christ can
really worship while others can only observe what to
them is a dry ritual which wearies body and spirit. Spiritual
dryness and coldness is a personal matter: the Bible
is not dry; worship is not dry; it is you who are dry! The
problem in our lives today is not that God and His truth
is dry: we are dry! Most professing Christians, I fear,
know little about real worship for there is too much
emphasis on other things in the average ‘church.’
The Scripture under consideration has for its setting
the time at the close of the Divided Kingdom. In the
north had been the ten tribes known as Israel or Samaria
while the southern two tribes were identified usually as
Judah. This chapter, (17:6-12,20), records for us the con-quest
of the ten northern tribes by the king of Assyria
who took most of the people away captive. The reason
God allowed this was the idolatry of the ten tribes. Think
of it, God had destroyed the Canaanite peoples because
of their great wickedness and worship of false gods only
to have a part of the chosen people, Israel, worship in
the same way. The Scripture says of them, “For they
served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto
them, Ye shall not do this thing.” and “And the
LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted
them, and delivered them into the hand of spoil-ers,
until he had cast them out of his sight” (vs. 12
& 20).
Oh how fearful a thing it is for the children of God to
participate in the idolatrous worship of the world! Dare
we think that God is any less displeased with us today
than he was with Israel if we engage in false worship? I
believe the answer is obvious—He is as displeased over
our idolatry as that of ancient Israel. How dare any pro-fessing
Christian remain in religious Babylon with all
its pagan ceremonies, observances, forms and rituals!
The great cry is “Come out of her my people” and
that most surely includes not only the Harlot but her
Protestant Daughters as well. Knowing what the Bible
teaches, how dare a believer remain in an institution
which promotes infant “baptism” or other fatal errors?
Just because we are Baptists do we think we can bring
innovations into the meeting house and not suffer the
consequences? Do we know better than God what to
teach and how to conduct worship? Oh how we need to
walk carefully and fearfully before our God and con-sider
carefully our attitudes and actions in light of His
very Words!
Verse 24 of this chapter tells us that the king of Assyria
moved Gentiles from five different places into the land
formerly occupied by the ten tribes. Perhaps, by set-tling
people places in the land of Samaria, the king
thought to not only continue the productivity of the land
for tax purposes, but by having diverse peoples living
there to avoid any unified spirit of nationality and there-fore
circumvent any rebellion. At any rate, these people
did not fear the LORD “therefore the LORD sent
lions among them, which slew some of them” (v.
25). These people began to suffer the direct Divine con-sequences
of their sins. The solution to the marauding
lions, according to human wisdom, stated in verses 26,
27, was to send one of the captive Jewish priests back to
Samaria to teach the people “proper” worship, for evi-dently,
the “God of the land” was displeased with the
people there. Let us learn from this not to look to hu-man
wisdom and the advice of well meaning but un-saved
individuals when dealing with a problem which
has spiritual causes.
We have in this chapter, then, five kinds of worship
which was not pleasing to God in that day, nor is it now
acceptable to God. He did not then accept it, nor will
He now!
I. WORSHIP THAT IS ONLY CUSTOMARY.
Verse 28 tells of the sending of the Jewish priest to
instruct the people. Notice that their worship was just
the customary thing to do. They had no real conviction
about how or what to worship. Their concern was not
for the honor and glory of JEHOVAH, but only that
the ravaging lions be kept under control. Not only was
this “worship” centered in Bethel (v. 28), one location
of the sinful worship of the golden calves, but this wor-ship
was taught by man as opposed to being wrought
by the Spirit of God. There is a vast difference between
what is done by the Holy Ghost within ONE OF God’s
elect and what is merely taught to men by men. (As
evidence, do we not see all about us “churches” built by
some man, on man’s doctrines, filled with an ever chang-ing
crowd of superficial “worshippers” who, having no
depth, will neither receive nor stand without compro-mise
for the unadulterated truth of the Word of God?)
Isaiah 29:13 condemns mere outward worship, ending.Five Kinds of Worship Displeasing to God by Curtis Pugh – Page 2
with, “. . .and their fear toward me is taught by the
precept of men.” Worship “taught by the precept
of men” is the blind leading the blind and both end up
in the ditch.
Today there is a great deal of worship that is only
customary. Many “worship” only because it is the proper
thing to do and not because of any genuine heart knowl-edge
of the One worshipped. Some folk have “Grandma
Religion” and attend a certain church just because “our
family has always been Methodist” (or Catholic, Bap-tist,
or whatever). It seems apparent that many who
embrace the modern “prosperity doctrine” and look for
healing from every physical ailment are merely mod-ern
counterparts to those ancients who sought escape
from the lions for they, like these ancient ones, gener-ally
believe that IF they meet certain outward condi-tions
they can expect “something good” to happen to
them each day. (At least that is what the prophesiers of
“smooth things” tell them.) Surely such as these are
merely taught by men rather than by the Spirit of the
Living God.
Is there not also a modern counterpart seen in those
who think by their precise methodology and “plans of
salvation” to lead men down the “Romans Road” to a
salvation based on the works of man rather than the
provision of God? Do we not have those today whose
religion is “taught by the precept of men” rather
than wrought within the heart by the Holy Ghost upon
hearing the Word of God?
II. WORSHIP THAT IS CURSED OF GOD.
The next thing that is seen is that these people now
relocated in Samaria continued the worship of the idols
of their homelands (II Kings 17:29). The Scriptures ev-erywhere
condemn and curse this kind of worship of
false gods, but here it is, taking place right in the Holy
Land.
While we, as modern, intelligent people of the en-lightened
western world would never bow to gods of
wood, stone or metal, may I remind us that there are
metal gods and there are mental gods. One is just as
wicked as the other. An example is “. . .covetousness
which is idolatry” (Col. 3:15). Worship can take place
in the hidden shrine of the heart as well as in a hidden
grove or a secret high place.
One of the saddest commentaries on the sorry con-dition
of God’s people is seen in verse 29. Here we learn
that these recent Gentile immigrants placed their own
idols in the vacant “. . .houses of the high places
which the Samaritans had made.” The ten tribes—
God’s own chosen people—had taken their idols away
with them into captivity, leaving behind empty pagan
temples and shrines in the groves and high places where
they had formerly engaged in heathenish practices!
What a sorry testimony it is when God’s people are the
teachers and promoters of idolatry! What a terrible thing
it is when the unsaved learn sin from saints!
I wonder, if after the Lord returns for His own, those
idolatrous religionists of Rome and her harlot daugh-ters
will move into our Baptist meeting houses, finding
them quite suited to their worship of the queen of heaven
and discovering in them suitable items for use in their
pagan ceremonies? Surely as the Lord’s churches we
would keep our meeting houses suitable for worship “in
spirit and in truth” and not possess the things delight-ful
to those given over to heathen celebrations nor luxu-riate
in rich splendor in our buildings so titillating to the
carnal man as does the Harlot and her Protestant Daugh-ters.
III. WORSHIP THAT IS CARNAL.
The word ‘carnal’ means fleshly and refers to the to-tally
depraved nature of the unregenerate man and aptly
describes the third kind of worship set forth in this chap-ter
which involved the most gross immorality promoted
under the guise of religion. In verses 30, 31 we have
mentioned specific idols set up in Samaria. The name
Succothbenoth has to do with the booths associated with
Babylonian female deities. These booths also housed
the pagan prostitutes, later known as “vestal virgins”.
Often in these pagan rituals, not only were these pro-fessional
harlots available, but all women who would
worship these detestable deities had to sell themselves
once as worship to their god or goddess. Thus religion
was used, as it often is today, to justify ungodliness and
immorality. Is it any wonder, then, that the word “reli-gion”
is only used once in our Bibles in speaking of
something good and acceptable to God?
Nergal is also mentioned. He is known in various
countries and at differing times by several names such
as Mars, Apollos, Horus, etc., and is none other than
Nimrod of Genesis 10:8-10, the husband of Semiramis,
founder of that form of idolatry come down to us as
“MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE
MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:5). Nergal is both the hus-band
of the “Eastern Madonna” and the supernaturally
born child in her arms. (The worship of the mother and
child did not originate with the Catholic worship of
“Mary and Baby Jesus,” but began in ancient Babylon
and is in reality the worship of Nimrod and Semiramis!)
Also worshipped was Ashima, later in Greece known
as Pan, the god of music. Many Bible students believe
that the Devil, Lucifer, was in charge of the music in
Heaven (Ezek. 28:13). He certainly makes use of music
in the seduction of people today, especially the young.
Even some churches have gone off after the god of mu-sic,
not realizing that music ought not be an end in it-self,
but a means toward honoring God, rather than the
tickling of the flesh.
Nibhaz and Tartak, the next idols mentioned, are dif-ficult
to trace, but we do know that the former was rep-resented
as a dog-headed man while Tartak, the prince
of darkness, was visualized as an ass. I suppose one les-son
we could learn from these two is that some people
will worship most anything, even dogs and donkeys!.Five Kinds of Worship Displeasing to God by Curtis Pugh – Page 3
Adrammelech and Anammelech were the male and
female powers of the sun and are none other than the
“Molech” of other Scriptures. This god was worshipped
by throwing babies into the outstretched arms of a
scorching hot brass idol. (The Old Testament speaks of
this worship as causing one’s children to “pass through
the fire,” see II Kings 16:3; 21:6; 23:10; II Chr. 33:6;
Jer. 32:35; Ezek. 20:26,31).
These types of worship are very much present in our
day, even in so-called Christian churches and religious
broadcasting. Sex is used to sell religion when glamor-ous
men and women are set forth as religious examples.
The world knows nothing of the “modest apparel” and
shamefacedness and sobriety as enjoined in Scripture
and most church folk—both men and women—are only
a little behind the world in daring styles. Recently one
“gospel singer” spoke of being “saved and sexy.” At least
one woman, speaking of certain TV “evangelists,” say
they “like the way he sweats.” Hollywood methods pro-duce
hollow converts. Romanism, with its horde of
“saints” follows in the footsteps of those who worshipped
Nergal and the god of music is worshipped everywhere
about us. Friends, religion without God is a terrible thing!
While we would never tolerate the abuse of children
being thrown into the searing arms of a heated metal
statue, we provide as a tax supported service the dis-memberment
of the unborn and salve our consciences
by saying they are only “fetuses.” If, just if, such a “fe-tus”
succeeds in being born, he or she is then all too
often sacrificed upon the altar of public school educa-tion.
God help us!
IV. WORSHIP THAT IS CONTEMPTIBLE
BOTH TO GOD AND THINKING PEOPLE.
Verse 32 sets forth “worship” that is contemptible in
the eyes of both men and God. When men that are
crooks and scoundrels are set up as religious leaders,
whether preachers, deacons, “evangelists” or whatever,
the world has nothing but contempt for such “Chris-tianity.”
When men seek the pastorate or missionary
work as if it were just a profession like any other, surely
we are contemptible in God’s eyes. Religious organiza-tions
are filled with uncalled and unqualified men. Even
some Baptists no longer believe that God calls and God
equips men for the ministry—they are doing it via. de-nominational
machinery according to denominational
requirements. Those who reject conventions, associa-tions
and denominational hierarchy construct strange
things called “boards” which have neither authority,
commission or accountability to a (local) Church, and
which operate on the field, I am told, just like a conven-tion—
without the label, of course. (Please understand, I
am NOT against preachers being educated. I sincerely
thank God for the few years of college I experienced.
Surely all will agree that much harm has been done by
ignorant preaching, but we must beware lest we think
colleges and seminaries can equip preachers for the
ministry. We had better remember that God was calling
and equipping Baptist ministers for His work long be-fore
we had any recognized and accredited schools!)
May God grant that Baptist efforts be done according
to the Bible, else they too shall be contemptible in His
sight!
V. WORSHIP THAT IS CURIOUS.
Read carefully verses 33,34 & 41, please. Notice that
here we have a new, strange and unacceptable worship!
The “fear of God” coupled with idolatry ceases to be
either the true worship of God or the old idolatry, but
becomes another new false religion! As Bible-believing
Baptists, we know that God will not accept that which
He has not ordained. How then can we expect to please
God with our inventions and innovations?
Satan has two methods which he uses to destroy the
testimonies of churches and individual Christians. They
are murder and mixture. If he cannot succeed by stir-ring
up persecution against the Lord’s people, he will
devastate them by compromise and mixture so that they
are powerless. This was the case with Balaam and was
the ruin of even wise Solomon!
Examples of this are all about us: Roman Catholi-cism
is a mixture of Christian doctrine, Jewish ritual and
Pagan idolatry and is therefore neither Christian, Jew-ish
or old Paganism, but a new idolatry: Anglicanism
has been said to have a Romish liturgy, a Calvanistic
prayer book and an Arminian clergy and likewise is
neither. I am not a crusader against holidays, but I must
mention that “Christmas” or “Christ Mass” (or as one
brother calls it “Baal Mass”) is not the worship of Christ
nor the observance of His birth, but is the ancient cel-ebration
of Nimrod and Semeramis—the “Eastern Ma-donna
and Child.” Neither is “Easter” the celebration
of the resurrection of Christ. That event is memorial-ized
every Lord’s Day! “Easter” comes from “Ishtar”
another name for the ancient many-breasted Babylonian
fertility goddess “Ashtaroth”—hence the fertility symbols
of eggs and bunny rabbits. Can we think to mix pagan-ism
and Christianity and still possess Christianity? Surely
we must agree that to countenance fatal heresy is to
become a traitor to God and His truth.
As Christians and Churches of the Lord Jesus Christ,
we ought to stand for the truth and teach the truth to
our children. We can instill love, respect and confidence
in them only by telling them the truth! Surely our chil-dren
ought to know that they can go to their Christian
parents, their pastors and Church leaders, and always
be told the truth, regardless of what the world and reli-gionists
tell them.
Just as truth plus error ceases to be truth, so Christ
plus anything ceases to be Christianity and becomes
something new and curious and not acceptable to God!
Anything depended on besides or in addition to Christ
and Him alone is not Christianity. If you think to attain
to acceptance with God by anything done by the flesh,
you lack understanding of both your sinful condition
and God’s grace. Grace plus works ceases to be grace!.Five Kinds of Worship Displeasing to God by Curtis Pugh – Page 4
Read Romans 11:6.
VI. WORSHIP THAT IS CHRISTIAN AND
THEREFORE CHRIST HONORING.
The descendants of these very people in II Kings
chapter 17 were alive during the earthly ministry of Jesus
Christ. They are the “Samaritans” of the 4 Gospels and
were a racial mixture descended from the transplanted
Gentiles and the poorer Jewish population which had
been left behind. While proud Judaism objected to both
their mixed religion and their ‘racial impurity,’ the Son
of God was not ashamed to be associated with them,
using the story of the “Good Samaritan” as a rebuke to
the Jewish religious aristocracy of His day and even
bringing salvation to the Samaritan town of Sychar via
the woman at the well.
To this Samaritan woman Jesus said, “Woman, be-lieve
me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither
in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the
Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know
what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But
the hour cometh, and now is, when the true wor-shippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in
truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must
worship him in spirit and in truth” ( John 4:21-24).
From this statement we learn that two things are re-quired
if worship is to be acceptable to God. First, it
must be “in spirit” for God is a spirit and is not wor-shipped
with men’s hands as though He needed any-thing.
Real worship is possible only to the regenerate
from whom the Holy Spirit reaches out in recognition
to Christ as the Holy One. Just as the Holy Ghost in the
“fetus” (God have mercy on us!) John the Baptist, while
yet in the womb of his mother Elisabeth, leaped at the
recognition of that “holy thing” who was Jesus Christ
yet in the womb of His mother Mary (Luke 1:41); so the
Holy Spirit in the child of God rejoices in adoration and
admiration of the Son of God. “Deep calleth unto
deep. . .” (Psa. 42:7). True worship, then, involves the
quickened spirit in response to God Himself.
The second requirement in worship, according to our
Lord, is “in truth.” Can we think to worship the God
who IS truth with our concocted lies or inattention to
the truth? (Here perishes all man made rituals, holidays,
ceremonies, doctrines, religious organizations and sham
churches.) I fear all of us lack an understanding of the
holiness of God in that we think our way might be as
acceptable as His way! This matter of truth must be
known in the head and also felt in the heart for “out of
the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
The foregoing two necessities for acceptable worship
point to the fact of man’s total inability to please God.
Only those who are born again ones have a desire for
genuine worship and only they CAN worhsip. They,
like the Psalmist cry, “As the hart panteth after the
water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God. . .”
(Psa. 42:1,2). This, then, is not a cry for the blessings,
gifts or provisions which God can and does give, but for
God Himself! Most modern preaching has to do with
the benefits to be gotten from God. True worship in-volves
the believer’s heart cry after God Himself.
Once again, lost friend, you are brought up short to
the fact that you are in the hands of Almighty God who
can and will do with you as He pleases! Do you not see
that in and of your own sinful self you can do nothing to
please God? Apart from the salvation He has provided,
there is no hope for you. All your righteousnesses are as
filthy rags. Oh that you might see yourself as chiefest of
sinners! Oh that the Holy Ghost might convince you of
your sinfulness and lostness!
To any who do see themselves hopeless and sinful,
may I say that you are in a good place, for our God
delights in saving sinners—in fact sinners are the only
kind of people He saves, for Jesus said: “. . .I am not
come to call the righteous, but sinners to repen-tance”
(Matt. 9:13). Seek the Lord! Call upon Him while
He is near! Look to the Lamb of God!
There are three elements involved in true worship
which can be briefly stated in this way and every true
Christian who ever worships experiences these things.
(1) Prostration: whether or not you physically prostrate
yourself (fall flat on your face) before God, you must
see your own unworthiness, your extreme sinfulness,
your total depravity, your total inability to come nigh
God in your own strength and self righteousness. As
long as you think you are able to please God in any way
in the flesh, you cannot. (2) Exaltation: whether or not
you know the words, you must recognize Christ as Sov-ereign,
Supreme, Preeminent, JEHOVAH, THE “I
AM,” “high and lifted up.” As self and all that in me is
falls prostrate, so Christ and all that He is must be ex-alted,
elevated, praised and given first place. (3) Adora-tion
and Admiration: the result of seeing ourselves as
we are and seeing Christ as He is is heartfelt praise and
admiration toward the Triune God for all that He is. His
person, known from His attributes, is praised and blessed
reverently and in awe. This springs from the heart of a
child of God upon consideration of Him and of Christ
and cannot be worked up by emotional methods, though
such worship will certainly thrill the heart of the wor-shiper
as he contemplates the Almighty.
Christian, let us seek to “. . .worship the Father in
spirit and in truth.” Only then will our worship be
acceptable in His sight.

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