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November 21, 2011

When the Preacher Refuses to Enter the Tabernacle

The most important aspect of attending a church service is the worship in the Spirit of God. This is an important focus because God is a Spirit. Each member brings different baggage to the worship service. Some members bring demons they have been fighting all week to the house of God. Unfortunately, some of them carry back with them, the same baggage and demons they bring with them. The worship service has to take each member to a place where they are all able to drop the loads they bring to worship, and put on the outfit of Christ. If the pastor or the worship leader is unable to take the people to the realm of the Holy Spirit, it is as if the members are taken to the location of the tabernacle and they are unable to enter the sanctuary of God. This is critically one of the major aspects of worship that is failing in many churches today. Once the members are taken to the realm of eternal Spirit, their human spirits with the help of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can easily connect to the realm of the Spirit of God. At that point is when we enter God’s rest through Jesus and the real spiritual worship will take place. The place of worship is not necessarily a place of prayer, even though it can be. The place of worship is a place of adoration of the beauty and Holiness of God. It is a place where we enter into his rest leaving a remarkable spiritual experience in the souls of those led to such supernatural encounter with God. Most people stay in churches for three reasons; either the church satisfies their physical needs, entertain their flesh, or lead them to the presence of God. People sometimes leave churches when they are unable to be taken to the presence of God. They claim they are not being spiritually fed because they are hungry to experience the presence of God. If a pastor allows his own personal emotions and challenges to dominate his life, he cannot effectively lead the people into a spiritual worship before God. The critical job of a pastor during service is not preaching or reading the Bible, even though those are important, but to be able to guide the entire congregation to enter the realm of the Holy of the Holiest in the presence of God. This is not an easy task. The pastor has to be spiritually strong to successfully achieve this every Sunday.

When the pastor fails to take the members into the presence of God, it is as if the entire congregation is led to the site of the tabernacle and they all stay on the outside with the door shut. The worship of God is therefore reduced to a theatrical demonstration of the gospel message of Christ with jumping up and down, and knocking over pews in an emotionalized service devoid of true spirituality. Consequently, when all the hollering stops and the pews are put back together again, people will respond, "I enjoyed the service today." The worship of God has been reduced to an entertainment of special effects in the physical to distract people from experiencing an intimate moment with God. People therefore get confused and cannot differentiate between a hyper emotionalized service, and an intimate experience with God. Unfortunately, some members are satisfied with the emotionalized service because they are yet to experience an intimate moment with God. They therefore confused emotionalized service packed with Holy-dancing with a true Holy Spirit experience. The object of a spiritual worship is not to entertain but to inspire. Although we can make a joyful noise to enter into the sanctuary, or the tabernacle, the real experience with God is done in a moment of great quietness before God when we connect with the divinity of his Spirit through Christ.

From an illustration point, we sometimes get carried away or get lost in our journey to our destination. There was a book written by a Nigerian author called "The Forest of God." There were hunters who were going on a journey in the thick jungle. They got to a point where they were instructed to seal their ears, so they would not hear the seductive music of the devil. When they passed through the town and to the other side, they realized they had lost some of their men who did not seal their ears properly, and were seduced by the lustful music of the devil. They became distracted and they turned away from their intended direction and followed the devil. Although it was a fictional story we read when we were in high school, but it illustrated the journey through life and how some people can easily be distracted and got lost in transit without getting to their destination. Many will therefore die still pregnant with a vision! That was exactly what happened to many of the children of Israel in the wilderness. And so many people who claimed to be following Christ became distracted by the deceptiveness of the riches and fame of this world and they go off track from serving the Lord. They then come back with another gospel message that was never preached in the Bible that Jesus wants to make us rich in material possessions. Jesus never preached such a gospel. It is a lie! Jesus did not come so we can be rich in material possession. Solomon was the richest man on earth before Jesus came to the scene. Jesus came so we could be rich in the wealth of heaven. That was what he preached when he told the rich young man to exchange his material possessions for the riches of heaven. Jesus gave him the best deal in an exchange rate. However, the rich young man could not comprehend, let alone appreciate the values of the riches of heaven. We see similar situations today when some preachers are stuck with the relentless need for material possessions of this world while they make mockery of the teachings of Christ. Their prosperity gospel is to explain and justify the reason why they got off track in the first place and unable to leave the material things of the world because of the deceitfulness of riches.

Similarly, when God created a woman, he did something he did not do with man. He placed the secret temple of his procreation in the womb of a woman. On the outside of that temple, he placed some jewelry that will attract a man’s attention. That jewelry will attract a man to want to come inside. The same thing happens in other animal kingdoms where the female has special physical features that attract the male for mating. In man, God made the process of getting to the temple of procreation very pleasant, leading to continuous mating and the population increase. That was why God said to us to be fruitful and multiply. Before he gets inside, he has to develop a passionate relationship with the heart of the woman carrying the chamber. Today, we call this a romantic encounter. In the absence of that intimate relationship, he is not allowed to come inside the chamber. The woman makes the final decision regarding who is allowed to enter the chamber. A man who wants to get inside quickly learns the deceptive game of false passion by luring the woman to his love nest. However, man gets stuck with the pleasantness of the journey, and ignores the reality of the destination for the purpose of procreation. So a man comes inside, if she allows him, do his business, and after the fun is over, he walks away. Then, the woman is left broken hearted because she has to deal with the consequences of their physical intimacy. Cheap physical intimacy was not the way God ordained a relationship between a man and a woman. Such intimate activity between a man and a woman is meant for married couples and not just for kids playing with body parts without the intention of taking responsibilities for the consequences of such actions. In the end, men settled for the chambers of which another man had broken the entrance. The previous man or men came inside, fed like a hungry wolf, tore up the place, and walked away leaving a pile of garbage behind. All it takes is one mistake, and the door way is damaged. Sadly many people get married today and settled for somebody else’s leftovers and the trash bags left behind. Sometimes an unlucky woman may be left with a pile of garbage of which consequences she may never be able to get rid of. Some killer diseases do not have cures. We rather settle for the thrills of the journey than the essence of getting to the chamber of procreation.

At other times, the journey to our destination may not be pleasant. Despite, people still get stuck with the distractions of the journey. The consequence of such distractions may be very deadly. Many of the children of Israel died in the wilderness because they wanted to go back to Egypt rather than follow the direction God placed before them to the promise land. At times, you can take a person out of a ghetto, but you cannot take the ghetto out of a person. The children of Israel were placed in the wilderness on the way to a better life, but Egypt was still in them. That was why they kept thinking about going back to Egypt each time they faced any challenge in the wilderness as Moses led them. Can you make a wife out of a prostitute? Can you make a husband out of a drug dealer? Only with God’s divine intervention!

The critical point of this message is the process of worshipping God is to enter into his presence and not be distracted by other challenges we face along the journey.

The pastor refuses to lead the congregation into the tabernacle because he has to deal not only with his own sins but also with other challenges he faces. That baggage makes it difficult for him to lead the entire congregation into a spiritual worship before God. The key to a true worship in God is therefore preparation. If you are a pastor and not in a position to lead people into a spiritual worship, let another minister, or deacon or worship leader, lead the congregation before the Lord. The entire congregation is cheated when you lead them as far as the door of the tabernacle and unable to get inside because you are dealing with your own emotional issues. Anybody leading people into a spiritual worship MUST be very strong in the Spirit walk. An ordinary person who does not understand the realm of the Spirit of God cannot lead people before the presence of God. During service there are spiritual distractions the leader has to deal with. For example, some people will bring demons hanging around them into the sanctuary. If the lead worshipper does not know how to break those demons off of them, they become distractions preventing people from entering the presence of God. There is no bigger obstacle from entering the presence of God than people who just get through sexual intimacy. Coming into the sanctuary without taking a shower, using a Psalm for soul and body purification, and waiting for a couple of hours, is like rubbing the face of God in the sewer. That was why God instructed Moses to bring the children of Israel to him, tell them to first wash their clothes and also to tell them, "Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives" (Exodus 19:14-15).

The Lord said to Moses, "Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the Lord and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord speak out against them" (Exodus 19:21-22).

Coming into the presence of God is not just a joking business or a plaything. It is a very serious exercise of faith, walk in the Spirit of God, an intimate relationship with Christ, and a process of soul and body purification. Today, we enter into the presence of God, not through Moses, but through Jesus in the Spirit. Jesus carries us into the presence of God with the Holy Spirit as the vehicle. Praise God Almighty!

By Yinka Vidal, author, Closer Walk With Jesus