|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Part ten of a series. Read part nine.
We come now to the climatic point of Scripture's declarations of the deity of Christ.
Of all the declarations of His deity in Scripture, one stands at the pinnacle: The Bible declares that only God is to be worshipped, and it declares that Jesus is to be worshipped. Under this heading let us examine vital truths from the pages of the Word:
No mere man - no mere human being - is to be worshipped.
Satan is not to be worshipped.
Angels are not to be worshipped.
No false god is to be worshipped.
Only the one true and living God is to be worshipped, and Jesus said that He is to be worshipped just as God the Father is to be worshipped.
No Mere Man Is To Be Worshipped
First of all, the Bible teaches us that no mere man is to be worshipped. We find this principle in action in Acts chapter ten, beginning at verse 25. Peter had been directed by the Lord to go to the house of Cornelius and preach the Gospel to Cornelius and those who were gathered in his house with him. And in verse 25 we read that, "As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself am also a man." In other words, do not bow down before me. Do not worship me. I am not to be worshipped. I'm here to tell you about the One who is to be worshipped.
I do not think it is an accident that God gave use this example by using Peter - the man that the Vatican claims was the first Roman Catholic Pope. Through the centuries, and to this very day, Roman Catholics bow before their pope and kiss his ring as though he were a deity. In fact the papal title "Vicar of Christ" literally means "the vice-Christ" or "the one in place of Christ." But Peter made no such claim for himself. He told Cornelius, "Get up, I myself am also a man." Do not worship me. Do not bow down before me. Let me tell you, Cornelius, about the One who is worthy of all worship, the Lord Jesus Christ.
But contrary to the example of Peter himself, the false religion of Roman Catholicism calls the Pope of Rome, "the Vicar of Christ." That phrase is from the Latin, and it means, literally, "the vice-Christ" or "the substitute Christ." The Bible gives us a corresponding Greek term that means exactly the same thing. That term is Antichrist. The Bible uses this title for the one who opposes Jesus Christ, who sets himself up as the vice-Christ, the substitute Christ - or, as the Church of Rome puts it, "the one true representative of Christ on earth."
Second Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that Antichrist, the "man of sin", "opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself [setting himself forth, and declaring] that he is God." We find the term Antichrist, or vice-Christ, or substitute Christ, or supplanter of Christ, in three New Testament passages, all in the epistles of John. Let me call your attention to one of them, First John chapter two, beginning at verse 18:
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
John says that Antichrist denies that Jesus alone is the Christ. The Greek word for "deny" means that Antichrist acts in a way that is totally unlike the One he claims to be and claims to represent. Thus it is with the Pope of Rome. Jesus Christ offers true salvation by grace alone, through faith alone. The Pope of Rome offers a false salvation based on a false grace that is no grace at all, dispensed at the whim of the church. The false salvation offered by the Pope of Rome requires faith not in Christ, but in the false, man-made teachings of that false church. The Roman papacy is Antichrist.
The true representative of Christ on earth is not the Pope of Rome, but God the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 15:26, "But when the Comforter [the Holy Spirit] is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of Me" - that is, he shall tell the truth about Me. And in John 16:13, Jesus said, that "when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
You do not need the Pope of Rome or the Roman Catholic Church to tell you what to think, or how to interpret the Bible. You do not need the false "Vicar of Christ." You need the true Representative of Christ, God the Holy Spirit, living within you, and illuminating His written Word for you.
No man is to be worshipped. No preacher. No public figure. No church leader. And certainly not the Pope of Rome.
Satan Is Not To Be Worshipped
Secondly, Satan is not to be worshipped. Satan wants to be worshipped, and there are growing numbers of Satan-worshippers today. I read an article recently in which someone who is in a position to know said that people would be surprised if they knew how many Satan-worshippers there are in Hollywood. Considering the trash, the filth, and the unmitigated evil that come out of Hollywood, I do not think that is surprising at all.
And, of course, the Bible tells us that Satan tried to gain the worship of Jesus Himself while He was on earth. In Matthew chapter four, beginning at verse eight, we read this: "Again, the Devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "
Just as man is not to be worshipped, Satan is not to be worshipped.
Angels Are Not To Be Worshipped
Thirdly, angels are not to be worshipped. This was a problem in the Colossian church. People were being told that they needed to worship angels. We have a similar kind of false teaching in the New Age movement today - that people should worship angels and other spirit beings, that I believe are in fact the demons of Satan. But this was a problem way back in the Colossian church as well. Paul said to them, in Colossians chapter two beginning at verse eighteen, "Let no one cheat you of your reward" - the reward that awaits you because of Christ - by "taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God."
At the end of the book of Revelation, in chapter 19, the Apostle John was simply overwhelmed by the visions he had seen. The angel who was showing him these things said to him, in verse 9, "These are the true sayings of God." And John said, "I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, 'See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' "
No man is to be worshipped, Satan is not to be worshipped, and no angel is to be worshipped.
No False God Is To Be Worshipped
This brings us to point number four: No false god is to be worshipped. This was the great sin of Israel throughout the Old Testament - the sin of idolatry. From the time they were in Egypt, and even while they were in the wilderness for forty years, and even after they entered the Promised Land, they never put away the false gods of the pagans. They were continually going off into the worship of false gods, and continually going off into the terrible worship practices of the pagans, including gross immorality and the human sacrifice of their own children. It was for these sins that Israel and Judah went into captivity.
And then in the New Testament, we find the pagan Greeks mistaking Christ's apostles for their false gods, and trying to worship them. We read in Acts chapter fourteen, beginning at verse eight, that Paul performed the miracle of healing a man who had been born a cripple, healing him so that he could stand up straight on his feet. And then we read, beginning in verse ten, that
the man leaped and walked. Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!" And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them [that is, Jesus Christ]."
The first of the Ten Commandments is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." And the second is, "Thou shalt not make any image and worship it." Do not worship a false god. Do not commit idolatry. Today, the Buddhists and Hindus and many other religions all worship their idols. But in Western culture, people are idolaters as well. They worship a preacher. They make an idol of a church building. They make an idol of their denominational affiliation. Or they make an idol of a sports figure, a politician, a talk show host, or someone in entertainment. Some people make idols of their children or grandchildren. No man is to be worshipped. Some people make an idol of a job, or an idol of education. Some people make an idol of money. Some people make an idol of a car, or a house, or a boat, or other material things. No man, and no thing, is to be set up as a false god.
Of All Who Have Worn Human Flesh, Only Jesus Christ Is to Be Worshipped
This brings us to our final point: Jesus Christ is to be worshipped. Only God is to be worshipped, not any man, and Jesus declared that He is to be worshipped, just as God the Father is to be worshipped. Of all who have worn human flesh, only Jesus Christ is to be worshiped:
We have Jesus' own words in John 5:23 - "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." The Greek word for "honor" in this verse is a word for worship. It means, "to revere, and to venerate." That is why we sing the great hymn, "All glory, laud and honor, to Thee, Redeemer, King!" True Christians worship and honor the true Christ here on earth today.
In the book of Revelation, we have the visions of the heavenly scenes, both present and future, where Jesus Christ is worshipped. Revelation 4:9-11 - "Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 'You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.' "
And then we have the great vision of the throne-room of Heaven, in Revelation 5:8-14 - "Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.' Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!' And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: 'Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!' Then the four living creatures said, 'Amen!' And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever."
Are You Truly Worshipping the True Christ?
I hope this study of the great declarations found throughout the pages of Scripture has given you a deeper appreciation for the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that this study has also helped to equip you to answer those who deny that Jesus Christ is God, and to answer those who would ask you, "How do you know that Jesus Christ is God?"
In light of the things we have covered in this part of our series, let me ask you some final questions: Are you a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin and from condemnation to Hell? Are you trusting in Him alone, in what He has done, for your eternal salvation? If you are trusting in Him today, are you worshipping Him as He should be worshipped? Worship the one true living God alone, and be careful to guard yourself from slipping into the false worship of anything or anyone else.
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