Our topic this week, "Worship the Creator", is a very important one because it is at the core of the Great Controversy and Satan's accusations against God that He is unjust, unmerciful and that the universe He created is only worshipping Him out of fear and/or expected rewards.
This, of course, is the exact opposite of who God really is which is clearly brought out in the Scriptures. As we study this together, we need to be able to answer the key question, "What is our motive for worshipping the Creator?"
When we attempt to describe God, many thoughts come to mind as we mortal humans look at an infinite Creator which could include: He is eternal, totally unselfish, with a character that reflects His infinite love, mercy, patience, justice, longsuffering and forgiveness.
However, more fundamental than all of this is what we are clearly told in 1 John 4:8-16 that "God is love"!
"He that loveth not knoweth not God for In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in Him."
The complete everlasting gospel is encompassed in these verses. The words "God is love" are not just describing an attribute of His character but it is a complete description of who He is. God's love is the complete opposite of human love which is conditional, changeable and self-seeking which is all that our sinful nature is capable of on our own. In contrast, let us look briefly at God's infinite love for us. His love is:
Our God has done everything for us, given everything He has to us, and sacrificed everything for us, not because we deserved it or earned it in any way but because He truly is love as we saw above: infinite, unconditional, changeless, and self-emptying! He is not only our Creator but our Re-Creator.
Now, when we look closely at those familiar verses in John 3: 16-17, we may see a little more of the depth of the sacrifice that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have made on behalf of the entire human race:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
Let's now look at some Ellen White quotes that also bring God's love clearly into focus for us:
Now as we go to scripture and look at 1 John 4:19, we see that: "We love Him, because He first loved us." This takes us back to our original question, what should our motive be for worshipping our Creator and Re-Creator?
When we begin to see and understand more of God's infinite self- sacrificing love for you and for me and the entire human race, as exemplified by the birth, life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, then hearts and lives are changed and we want nothing more than to love and worship the God who has given everything for our redemption so we can be with Him for eternity.
Further, as we by faith (the faith of Jesus) learn from God's word that Christ, as the second Adam, took us, the entire human race, into Himself at the incarnation and that we were all in Him at the cross when He died the second death and won the victory over sin releasing us from the condemnation of sin, we can only stand in awe and wonder as the First Angel in Rev. 14:7 exclaims "Fear God and give glory to Him". This is what it means to fear God, not a fear of His justice or punishment (See Tuesday's lesson.)
When we truly see and believe that God is love, that He is a seeking Saviour that draws all men to Him then human fear does not drive us but fades away. In 1 John 4: 18 we see that "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
Similarly, in Desire of Ages (pg. 480), we also clearly see God's love, not fear, as our motivation: "It is not the fear of punishment or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour's matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary's cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice and follow Him."
In fact, we have Christ's own promise to us in John 15: 4, "Abide(remain) in me, and I in you." What a beautiful promise! Christ has already corporately put the entire human race into Himself and when by faith we choose to remain in Him, he promises that through the Holy Spirit , He will remain in us. His faith, His power, His victory over sin, are all a gift to us, embodied in the free gift of salvation given to all. We must choose to believe by faith that it is ours and accept or reject His free gift. With our sinful human natures, it is still a moment by moment surrender as our High Priest cleanses us from sin in the heavenly sanctuary. But always remember that the free gift of salvation is exactly that, a gift, not an offer. He has already won the victory! It is a personal gift to each of us, with our name on it, to be believed and accepted. It will not be re-wrapped with someone else's name on it should we reject it, but will remain unopened forever, always a remembrance to God of those who spurned His love and sacrifice for them.
This is, indeed, the everlasting gospel of Rev. 14: 6 that we are to share to the world. This is the same everlasting gospel that Christ returned to share with his disciples from scripture prior to Pentecost. And when they fully understood His wonderful message of infinite love and sacrifice and the victory He had won over sin, they were changed from frightened men cowering in an upper room, to fearless warriors for Christ relying totally on His strength and power through the Holy Spirit in their lives.
This is also why God's remnant church was given a most precious message in 1888 so that we also might see and understand the full everlasting gospel that He wants us to share with the world. As Ellen White says in TM pgs. 91-92:
"The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, his merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that he may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that"
This is the message God has sent to His last day church as a remedy for its Laodicean condition to deal with our lukewarmness and lack of need. It is indeed, the everlasting gospel that will bring unity to our church and take us through the end times as a people that will follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
May we all be worthy stewards of this wonderful gospel message for the world with the same burning desire the apostles had after Pentecost. He wants to take us home!
Blessings, John and Monica