Since we study the further revelation given to Paul about Christ we are often accused of worshiping the messenger more than the Lord. They say, “You worship Paul!”
There is nothing further from the truth, as the only way to appropriately worship and glorify God is to follow the instructions sent by his messengers.
We do not worship Paul: Paul is not God, but we find our instructions from the Lord through this apostle sent specifically to the Gentiles and the church called the Body of Christ (Rom 11:13).
The Prophets Not Worshipped
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,” – Hebrews 1:1
In time past God sent spokesmen to give bold appeals to the nation Israel. It behooved Isrel to follow the instructions of God’s messengers. Yet, it was forbidden to worship any of them according to the first commandment (Exo 34:14). Obedience to the prophets was not worship of the prophets.
Israel worshiped God by obeying the God sent messengers. They were not to worship the messenger, but were to respect their office as prophets of the God of Israel.
John the Baptist Not Worshipped
John the baptist was sent by God as his messenger to prepare the way of the Lord. This popular prophet was called “great in the sight of the Lord” (Luke 1:15). Jesus said there is not a greater prophet than John (Luke 7:28).
Despite his powerful message and magnified position as God’s messenger, John went on record as confessing that he was not the Christ.
“And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.” – John 1:20
His office was magnified, but he was still only God’s messenger and should not be worshipped. To worship God, Israel should have submitted to John’s message of water baptism unto repentance:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” – Matt 3:11
Today, some denominations continue to magnify his office, despite the further messages from God.
Peter Denies Worship
Jesus said, “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” – Luke 7:28
Peter and the God’s chosen twelve apostles were to deliver the gospel of the kingdom to Israel. Peter’s message was greater than John’s. He was given heavenly power through the Holy Ghost, and for this some thought to worship him.
“And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.” – Acts 10:25
With all his power and commandments directly from the Lord, Peter was still only God’s messenger and should not be worshipped.
“But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” – Acts 10:26
It was Peter’s office and message that was greater than John’s. To worship God at that time meant to follow Peter’s message of the Messiah and the kingdom.
Paul Denies Worship
Further still is God’s message revealed to the apostle Paul. To Paul was revealed the mystery of Christ kept secret since the foundation of the world.
Paul was sent with a new message to a new audience with a new destiny based upon the dispensation of God’s grace to all men.
As a result some thought to worship Paul, but he denies their worship.
“And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker… Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:” – Acts 14:12-15
As God’s messenger, Paul is not to be worshipped, but in the present dispensation we worship God by obeying the message given through Paul by the Lord Jesus.
Paul’s message was the revelation of the mystery of Jesus Christ. It was “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” By studying Paul’s message we are emphasizing the Lord Jesus Christ and his work on the cross in this dispensation.
It does not deny God any due worship to magnify the office of one messenger over other messengers as further instructions from God.
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” – Rom 11:13
We do not worship the messengers, but God’s messengers tell us how we are to appropriately worship God. Today, we worship God through Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Rom 16:25-27).