Now, a statement circulating online says that putting illustrations of the on the Internet or sharing them with brothers and sisters is worshiping idols, not worshiping God. Does it conform to the truth? How can we tell the difference between worshiping God and worshiping idols?
The Lord Jesus said, “when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him” (John 4:23). Based on these words from the Lord Jesus, many thoughtful, savvy people will acknowledge such a fact: To judge whether or not one truly worships God depends not fully on his outward behavior, but on whether he truly believes in God and thirsts for the truth, and whether he is an honest man who shows a true representation of himself before God. That is to say, a man who appears devout on the outside is not necessarily a true worshiper of God, while a true worshiper of God focuses on worshiping God in spirit and in truth, not outward practices. So, my brothers and sisters and I all believe illustrations of the Lord Jesus are merely a symbol and metaphor which represents God is with us. We are not worshiping idols by using these pictures. What does worshiping idols truly refer to? It means to regard the illustrations or the as God, and prostrate and kneel before them. That is truly worshiping idols. Let us put forward some examples. Some people must pray with a Bible in front of them, and some always take a Bible with them wherever they go and even hold it as they sleep. Still, there are some believers who must pray with their faces to a portrait of the Lord Jesus, and some others who make long prayers laying their hands on the Bible. These people all believe what they do is worshiping God. Yet, in fact, they have been unable to feel the presence of the Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit long ago. Some preachers in the churches cannot communicate any true knowledge of God, or reveal the real road for the believers to practice the truth and follow . Those who listen to the messages in a muddled way don’t know to actively search for the footsteps of the work of the Holy Spirit and only hold to various religious rituals, even though they cannot obtain the supply of life. Is this type of belief really worshiping God? If one cannot gain the work of the Holy Spirit and worships the illustrations and the Bible as God, then the object of his worship is actually empty air or a vague God in his notions and imagination, and in essence he is worshiping idols. By contrast, some people who have a picture of the Lord Jesus hanging in their homes are very pious as they pray to Him, and in their prayers, they often speak from their hearts, give thought to the Lord’s love, and are moved to tears. They normally focus on practicing and experiencing the Lord’s words, frequently receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit and reap knowledge about the reality of the truth. This is the result reached through the work of the Holy Spirit. For such people, who can say they are worshiping idols?
Second of all, some people do not honor God as great as they , but blindly believe in and worship their pastors and elders. They believe and obey whatever their pastors and elders say, and never rely on God’s words to discern whether their words are in accordance with the truth and whether their deeds are after God’s heart. With regard to receiving the Lord’s , many people are especially obedient to their pastors and elders. If their pastors and elders condemn and oppose something, they will follow them without discernment. When the pastors and elders claim that the Lord has not returned or define the way in which He shall come, they put blind faith in it, rather than discern it according to God’s words or seek a way of practice that is after God’s heart in God’s words. In their eyes, belief in God means to listen to the pastors and elders in all things. They worship and have blind faith in man so much that they even obey man as God. This is truly worshiping idols, and the men they worship are precisely their idols.
The Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). As we believe in God, we should have a place for God in our hearts, often exalt and testify to God, seek truth in all things, submit to God’s word and put it into practice. This is following the will of God, and through this we can certainly obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. In this way, no matter how many illustrations of the Lord Jesus we place in our homes and churches, or on the websites, it is completely right, because it is for the sake of spreading the and bearing testimony to God, and it is regarded as a positive thing commended by God, which is beyond doubt. Conversely, those who believe in God in name only and worship status and power in reality, blindly believe in and follow the pastors and elders and treat man as God, hold to letters and doctrines as the truth—such people cannot possibly have the work of the Holy Spirit. No matter how many religious ceremonies they follow, God will not like them, but instead detest and reject them, for they never take exalting and bearing witness to God as their duty, or consider implementing and experiencing God’s words as important. These people are the chaff and false believers without life. Their faith is genuinely worshiping idols.