The third instance is found in Acts chapter 5. The era of grace had just begun. The Holy Spirit was given to dwell in the hearts of those who repented, accepted and obeyed Jesus and lead them in His Way! With the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, all the sacrificial rituals and ceremonies prescribed by God in the old covenant, which were just a type and shadow pointing to Jesus, were forever abolished. The hour of worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth, as Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:23 had finally arrived. But God’s Word remained unchanged! Any worship not done in spirit and in truth –not according to His Word – would be out rightly rejected!
Offering is an essential part of worship. The believers in the new covenant are now worshipping the Lord with the offerings of whatever they are willingly sell and share. In Acts 5, we find a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, bringing such an offering to the Lord. When the offering was brought and kept at the feet of the apostles, Peter admonished in verse 3, “why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost…?” (Emphasis added). Very next moment in verse 5, Ananias fell dead. When Sapphira told the same lie which her husband had told earlier, Peter said, “How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord…” (V.9)(Emphasis added). Sapphira also fell dead. Their offering was founded on lies and they agreed to tempt the Spirit of the Lord with lies. The result was devastating – they lost their lives and souls perhaps!
Lesson: In the present era of grace, any worship or offering founded on lies – which originate from the devil – would be rejected out rightly. The worship should be in truth, according to truth – His Word – and nothing else!
Is our God really so particular about how we worship Him? In fact, did He say anything about worshipping Him in His Word? Yes indeed. God expressly instructed His people how not to and how to worship and serve Him. Let’s read a passage from Deuteronomy 12.
“When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods, even so will I do likewise? Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Deut.12:29-32 (Emphasis added).
God forbade His people strictly not to learn the methods of the heathen and worship Him in like manner. “When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.” Deut.18:9 (Emphasis added)
Sadly, those who say that our God is unchanging and quote Heb 13:8 to claim God’s promises for health, wealth and prosperity, somehow fail to realise that He is really unchanging even with regard to all of His instructions on how not to and how to worship Him. The result is the present form of worship offered to God with all the forbidden practices of the heathens, handed down in the form of traditions, founded on lies, brought into the church and taught as commandments of God, be it about the day of worship, the festivals to be observed or about so many false doctrines preached and believed in the church today which are not taught in the Word of God.
As the earth is spinning fast to its millennium rest, the events around the world are pointing to a sure Armageddon – the final battle over worship – between the true living God and the devil. The final battle will be between two groups only, the true worshippers – those who worship the true living God in spirit and in truth, according to His Word – and the false worshippers – those who worship the false god according to the false religious systems of the devil.
The book of Revelation has revealed all about this final battle and the final result – the victory of those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.
‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus’ (Rev 14:12)
‘Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city’ (Rev 22:14)
May the true, righteous and living God help us to realise the truth about the true worship and help us to worship Him in spirit and in truth!