A Substitute for God
Today is Sunday, March 21, 2004.
God has laid this message on my heart. I have had this message in my mind a good while, but today I feel very impressed of God to make this into a message. May God be the one who is lifted up and this message be His words and not mine. Glory to His precious, Holy Name.
I truly think this is the most deadly and horrible crime of all ages. This is not a crime against a body; human flesh. This is a crime against your soul– you hope for eternal life.
What makes this such a deadly, horrible, hidden crime is it appears to be the very thing one needs in order to be with God; to be worshipping God and to be headed toward eternal life. When in truth it is the very thing which will keep you from true worship, a true relationship with God and to end up with eternal life.
Now to lay a background for this message: Lets go back to Cain in the Garden of Eden. He brought an offering to God. He appeared to be ‘worshipping’. He knew God requires a sacrifice. So he made the same mistake Adam had made before him, he brought an animal sacrifice to God. Now I know everyone thinks just the opposite. But let’s let the Word of God show who offered the ‘acceptable’ sacrifice to God.
Isa 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 1:11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 1:12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
Now God is calling these people Sodom and Gomorrah. So Sodom and Gomorrah are not just an ancient city; they are anyone who falls into this category. Today if you accept this ‘substitute for God’ you are Sodom. Revelation calls the city where Jesus was crucified a spiritual Sodom. Now that is where you belong, if you are guilty of this .
See that they were offering a multitude of sacrifices to God, but He says he delights not in them. What purpose are they? Then He asks them “who required this of you?” Now this shows that God himself did not require these animal sacrifices. So where did they come from? From Adam and Cain. Does God ever accept the blood of animals for sins? No. Only the Blood of Jesus has ever cleansed any sin away. Everything else is a substitute and God will never accept it.
Isa 1:13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 1:14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
Now here is a strong indictment by God against the OT type worship. He calls their oblations vain = not acceptable to him. He called their solemn meetings iniquity. Their sabbaths, their calling of ‘assemblies’ (your church meetings)– He called an ABOMINATION. He said my soul HATES your appointed feasts (having church at a certain time). When you ‘set’ a time to ‘assemble’, to get together and ‘feasts’ on ‘worship’, when you set a place for this, God said it is iniquity and he HATES it. So who told you to do this? God said this is a trouble to me and it wearies him.
Isa 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Now in the above Scripture God tells them how to do well, how to make themselves clean. Unless you do this, he will not hear your many prayers or see your raised up hands in fake worship. Now raising hands is true worship when you are doing the right thing to God. But to do it in their manner was a substitute. Their hands were full of blood. Of what? Many animal sacrifices. When you live under law, you go back to this same blood of animals, so you are guilty of all those slain animals as well as those who killed them.
Now look at what he told them to do. Learn to do well– seek judgment (so how bout all those telling us not to have any judgment?) Help the fatherless and widows. Now where is this upheld?
Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The perfect law of liberty is grace. So first you must leave law and come into pure grace. In doing this, you will leave off all idols. This cuts out all holidays, for they are all idols. There is no grace to those who keep idols. Then you must do the work called for under this perfect law of liberty. What is that? Bridle your tongue. Visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. This means to supply their needs, (not go see them). Then keep yourself unspotted from the world.
If you love the world and the THINGS of the world, the love of the Father is not in you. Now this is the Word of God, not my word. People, everyone needs to get very serious about this matter of eternal life.
Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
Now here it said if ye be willing and OBEDIENT, you will eat the good of the land, meaning the revelation of God’s Word and His land.
Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (God never placed anyone under law; they chose this.)
10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
Heb 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (See here that God never at any time had pleasure in any animal sacrifices. IT never took away any sin. It never was of God.)
Heb 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
So Jesus came to do the will of God. So then animal sacrifices were never the will of God. He never told Cain and Adam to do that. When it said God never had pleasure in these animal sacrifices and he wouldest not, this means He never at any time set this up or accepted it. He never accepted Cain’s offering. So His worship was in vain. He placed a substitute there instead of true worship. So then what is true worship? What is an acceptable offering to God?
(There are many more Scriptures proving God never accepted animal sacrifices or their blood or law as a means of serving and worshipping God, but I have given enough so will not do any more.)
Ro 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Now this tells us what sacrifice is acceptable to God — = presenting our body as a LIVING sacrifice, our body being holy. This is the only acceptable sacrifice to God. This has always been the only acceptable Sacrifice to God. So this is the sacrifice Abel offered to God. See that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected Cain’s. So Abel offered his body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. God did not change his mind about what was acceptable from the OT to the NT. He never changes these kinds of things. What He loved then, He loves now and visa/versa.
Zec 8:15 So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: 8:17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.
Here in OT Scripture and times we find that God required truth and peace and do not imagine evil against a neighbour. So even then, righteous had nothing to do with animal sacrifices.
Now let one more Prophet tell us how God required even OT People to serve him and to come before him:
Mic 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? 6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Now in the above Scripture, the OT people asked God How should they come before Him, for he had rebuked them for their doings. They ask how shall I bow before you? Shall I come before you with burnt offerings, of animals? Then they asked God will you be pleased with thousands of animal sacrifices? See they were confused for they also thought this was the way God required. It had been handed down to them from their fathers. So they thought this was a command from God. But when God told them he was displeased with this, they were confused. For they were indeed offering thousands of blood sacrifices to God and he did not accept any of them!
So then they ask Well then HOW are we to come before you? Should I give my firstborn child for my transgression? Would sacrificing my firstborn, the fruit of my body get rid of my sin? They were looking around them at the way the heathen worship their gods and asking God is this what you want? That is what the church today does, (and it is forbidden by God) to look at how the heathen worship and try to do the same to God. That is what all your holidays are. Heathen worship. It is an abomination to God.
But now back to what God told them: Mic 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Now here is what God DID REQUIRE. He never required animal sacrifices.)
Now that is what God had required of them from the days of Adam to the end of time– to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Do not become lifted up in pride as Adam and Cain did. So this tells you what Adam and Cain offered to God– a proud heart, animal sacrifices and no love for his neighbor. It was a substitute for the true way of worship. God never accepted it from either man. But Abel did offer an acceptable sacrifice to God. So Abel had offered his body a living sacrifice and loved his neighbor. True holiness is called ‘fat’ in the Word. Now that is what led false teachers to think Abel offered an animal. He had the fat. He was eating the ‘good’ of the land. He was obedient to God’s true requirements. He gave all that he had to God. He held nothing back.
So then what is the animal sacrifice? A substitute for the blood of Jesus. It is NOT a substitute which God required. It was a substitute men instituted to keep from having to walk humbly with God, love His Son, love his neighbor, be able to worship as the heathen, with all their parties and merry making and decorations and gift giving, and to hold back 90% of their goods for themselves. They went to law, a substitute for Grace.
Daniel had the true worship. He knelt on his knees three times a day in his own home and prayed. God said this man was beloved of God. Abraham had the true worship. He believed all that God said. He was willing to do whatever God told him to do. He was seeking that Holy city whose builder and maker is God.
Now what is true worship? What is a true ‘house’ of God?
Mt 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
Jesus said My house is a house of prayer. But someone made it a den of thieves. Thieves? In His house? Someone was falsely taking money form His people = stealing. (Tithing, maybe?) He also healed in this house. Then is it reasonable to assume that when the ‘houses’ today do not heal in them, they are false? Or if they take your money falsely, are they false?
Or if they do not make it a place of prayer, then are they still consider his house? No. Think on this. When you go to your place of ‘assemble’ how much true prayer goes on there? One minute? Who does the praying? One person or the entire group? For how long? Two minutes? How much healing goes on there? Is it truly his house? Or is it a substitute?
Lu 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Jesus prayed all night. Where are we? Are we truly a house of God or a substitute?
Ac 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Now here we find the disciples continued with one accord in prayer. Does your house of God do this today? Does the entire body of members pray together? If not, are you truly worshipping?
Ac 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Now here is where the true ministers must be; continually in prayer and ministry. Where are these ministers today? Is it true worship? Do You truly worship?
Ac 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 10:31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
Now here was a man who had no connection with the places of assembly. Yet he was fasting and praying in his own house. His prayer was heard and the alms deed he did was in remembrance to God. Thus he was given the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. He was a true worshipper even before being filled. It brought him the Holy Ghost.
This is the true kind of worship. This was no substitute. Check this out against your life and your ‘church’. Is it true worship?
Ac 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Now here a minister of God was in prison. But the church prayed without ceasing for him. A mighty deliverance occurred as a result. Now do these ‘churches’ of today resort to this kind of prayer intervention for their members who have a need? Are you a praying church? Do you pray at home? Do you truly worship. Is just attending a service, singing a few songs true worship? Do you have a real, live relationship with God? Or is it just a ‘get-together’ with friends and others of the same kind of thinking?
Ac 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
Here Paul met with some women who had a place by a river where they met regularly to pray. He sat and spoke with them, teaching them. ‘Wont’ means something which is habitually done. They did this regularly. This is true worship = having a regular prayer life; getting with others to PRAY. Prayer is true worship. How much of it is done where you have your ‘solemn’ assemblies? Is it true worship or a substitute?
1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
Here Paul gives instructions that the first thing should be supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men. Is this the pattern in your place of assembly? Is it the pattern of your life? Is true prayer held in your ‘church’? If not, how is it true worship?
I have been in many churches where one person mumbles, barely audibly, a one minute prayer? It is very evident that it is not real prayer, but only a set form, hastily done, in order to get on with the program. Be honest people, you know this is the norm. You know this is true. The entire congregation just sits and listens; they are not worshipping. In most churches no one ever lifts their hands in worship; they do not praise the Lord; they do not pray for the sick; they do not exercise the gifts of the Spirit; no one ever receives the Baptism of the Holy Ghost; they never really pray. They will mumble another half-minute ‘prayer’ over their offering-taking-up. (guess this is supposed to get them more money.) Then they will have another half-minute mumble to dismiss with. It is a dry, dead, lifeless form. It is not true worship. [2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.]
Is it true worship? No. It is a fake substitute for worship. God is not in any of it. He is not in their thoughts. The preacher just ‘prepares’ a little outlined sermon. Is it true revelation from God’s Word? No. It is mostly ‘bible stories’. The true meanings of the deep things of God are not sought out and taught. And the pitiful thing is this is how they want it. No one seems to really care. They are not here for true worship.
2Ch 2:5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods. 2:6 But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?
People use Solomon’s temple to justify their expensive, fancy church buildings. But was this ever truly of God? Did God require this? NO. He told David he had not required this. Look what Solomon said, he built this house only to burn sacrifice before God. But we proved at the beginning of this message that God never at any time had pleasure in these things. He did not require them. So is this true worship? No. It is a substitute.
Ac 7:47 But Solomon built him an house. 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 7:49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 7:50 Hath not my hand made all these things? 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Here we find that God dwells not in temples made with hands. How did they miss God? They always resist the Holy Ghost. Same as their fathers. So they are not in true worship. Temple attending is a fake substitute for true worship. Receiving the Holy Ghost is true worship. Is it in your temple gathering? Examine yourselves — are you in the true FAITH?
Now for another witness of this: Ac 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Can your hands give something to God? Is it worship? Is He in your temple? Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, that is if the Holy Ghost is dwelling in you. If not, you are practicing a substitute worship. If you think your gathering together in your man-made temples is worship, as you sit and watch their program, and sing a few songs, is your heart really in true worship and adoration of the true and living God? If so, why do you resist the Holy Ghost as your fathers did?
It is a substitute for true worship. And there is a conspiracy against the Word of God in all these temples of man. The ministers do not encourage the members to diligently study the Word and seek for the revelation of it. If you question them on anything, you become an outcast. You will be set aside. You will be sneered at. They keep you babies so you will be under their dominion.
Most preachers just study other men’s works such as commentaries, sermon outlines, church literature and other such material. Very few actually study the Scriptures to find the true meanings. They just set up a thirty minute sermonet. It must be done in a certain way. It must follow an outline. It must have a topic and a few illustrations and then a closing line. It is foolishness. It keeps you in ignorance of the truth and keeps you babies and not in true worship. You must study yourself to be approved to God. Studying the Word diligently is one way of true worship. The Father seeks for us to worship the true way = is Spirit and in Truth. Jesus said this is the true worship — not going to church.
Do you study? Even preachers mostly study other men’s works or listen so some other minister they think is God’s man for the hour. Where is such a thing in the Word? It does not exist. Most ministers just go by their churches doctrine. They dare not deviate from it. The men of older times admit in history books that they just sat down with others and ‘surmised’ among themselves to try and ‘figure’ out things. They had no true revelation. Yet others just follow their doctrines as if it were the very word handed down from heaven. It is not true worship. True worship must be in TRUTH.
The members mostly do not study the Word. Their ministers do not really study the Word. They get their messages from some sermon book sent to them by their headquarters leaders. I have actually heard preachers admit that they went to the Bible Bookstore and looked at sermon book to get something to preach. They copy from one to another.
I have heard them admit on radio and other places that they just read ‘about’ the Bible and did not read the Bible itself. What a shame! People I know have been going to church fifty years or more and still know nothing of the true revelation of the Word of God. Is this true worship? NO. Church members spend much more time watching TV and movies and such things than they spend studying the Word of God. Most care nothing for studying the Word. Oh, they will just glory in some man-made little ‘devotion’ or silly made up story. But devotions are only connected with idol worship.
So examine yourself. Are you in the true Faith? Are you in true worship? Or do you just have a dead form, a substitute for worship?
By: Jo Smith