Worship in a Hostile Environment
Daniel Chapter 6
Introduction: Everything isn't always set up for easy worship.
I. The Arena of Worship is Inclusive in a Hostile Environment.
A. Infiltrates all areas of life
In the fall of 2000 election campaign, Lieberman told Democratic activists he's ``not asking anybody to vote for me because of my religion.''
"Hopefully, on Election Day that will be an irrelevant factor as I think it is today for most Americans. And Al Gore and I offer ourselves to America as the team that's best for America on the merits,'' he said.
---Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS)
B. Informs all actions of life
Everything but a Conscience
What is going on in North America today? Is it the blind ambition of the “Baby Boomer” generation bent on upward mobility at any cost? Brux Austin, the editor of Texas Business, has written that the only sign we seem to be looking to for direction is the dollar sign: “We have no built-in beliefs, no ethical boundaries. Cheat on your taxes, just don’t get caught. Cheat on your wife, just don’t get AIDS.” Our high-tech society, he writes, has given us everything—“everything but a conscience.”
George Munzing, a minister, tells of a time he went to counsel a family about their son’s drug use. The father was distraught as he described the impact of drugs upon his relationship with his son. He said, “The thing that bothers me most about his being into drugs is the fact that drugs have made him a liar.” Moments later the phone rang and his wife went to answer. She came back into the room with the message that the call was for the father. He told her, “Tell him I am not at home.” Munzing then commented that drugs had not made the boy a liar; the father had.
See: Prov 16:13; Jer 5:1
II. The Activity of Worship is Exclusive in a Hostile Environment.
A. Setting God apart
No pluralism. You can not worship God with other God's, but God alone must be set apart for worship.
*Muhammad Ali writes: “My mother was a Baptist. She believed Jesus was the Son of God, and I don’t believe that. But even though my mother had a religion different from me, I believe that on Judgment Day my mother will be in heaven. There are Jewish people who lead good lives; and when they die, I believe they’re going to heaven. If you’re a good Muslim, if you’re a good Christian, if you’re a good Jew; it doesn’t matter what religion you are, if you’re a good person you’ll receive God’s blessing.”
The truth is that Christianity by definition is an exclusive religion. The belief that there is one God and only one way to God stands at the center of the Chirstian gospel. Nowhere does the New Testament teach that there is any other way to God but through a personal commitment to Jesus as the Messiah.
--- Mark Wingfield, Ali’s Appeal for Tolerance is Intolerant, Western Recorder, April, 3, 1997, 5.
B. Setting ourselves apart
Three Dollars Worth of God
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Wilbur Rees, “$3.00 Worth of God,” When I Relax I Feel
Guilty by Tim Hansel(Elgin, IL: David C. Cook Publishing
Co, 1979), p49 as quoted in Improving Your Serve by Charles R Swindol, p29
The mother of the family was celebrating a birthday and the rest of the family was treating her to a party. When the time for the presentation of the gifts arrived, she was instructed to sit in her favorite living room chair. One by one, the father and the two older children came in from the kitchen bearing their gifts on a tray, solemnly presenting them to her as to royalty. The smallest girl, really too little to have had much of a role in the gift selection, had been left out of these joyous plans. But watching the process, she rose to the occasion. For when the others thought the party was over, she appeared from the kitchen bearing an empty tray. Approaching her mother she placed the tray on the floor, stepped upon it herself, and with a childish wiggle of joy said, “Mommy, I give you ME!” Charles Krieg, St. Joseph’s Seminary, Princeton, NJ.+
III. The Attack of Worship is Deceptive in a Hostile Environment.
A. Setting up false authority
Idolatry? Or Obedience?
A story is told in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography of a clergyman ordered to read the proclamation issued by Charles I, bidding the people to return to sports on Sunday. To the congregation’s amazement and horror, he did read the royal edict in church, which many clergy had refused to do. But he followed it with the words: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy;” and added, “Brethren, I have laid before you the commandment of your king and the commandment of your God. I leave it to you to judge which of the two ought rather to be observed.”—W. J. Isbell
B. Setting up false security
Here They Do Both
My cousin-in-law told me that his ancestors had to leave England for stealing sheep. They went to Holland, but had to leave for practicing their religion. So they came to America, where they could steal sheep and practice their religion simultaneously! --Sarah M. Watson
Security is not always the path of least resistance. Our security does not rest on chaging circumstances, but in an unchanging God.
In a hostile environment, To survive as a child of God, we must let the arena of worship cover and saturate every part of our lives. We must reserve our Worship to the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, and revealing Himself through Christ. Not tollerating another to set up residence in our hearts. Be on the lookout for those who would try to set the authority to any other, or would ask us to seek security in any other.