I wrote this a few weeks ago as I sat in a huge church waiting for the conference we were attending to begin….the conference was a HUGE blessing, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it and learned from it. But I was forced to stop and think, to stop and consider, the different views people have of what the worship of God means.
I sit here and look around in wonder. Wonder at the difference in worship, yearning after God to think His thoughts after Him, and how those differences are displayed.
When did worshiping Christ become so casual? When did coming into Christ’s house — His sanctuary — become so ordinary?
Where in the Bible are we encouraged — is the example set — to approach His throne so casually? Aren’t we taught to come before Him in fear and trembling? With repentance? Thanksgiving? Even if it’s not a Sunday, shouldn’t we reverence His name? Come into His house with a pure heart and motives? Shouldn’t we be humble in the house of our sinless Saviour?
When did the clothing that we wear before the Lord become so casual? So skimpy? So immodest? Would we wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt if we were invited to the presidents home? To a kings palace? So why would we wear that to the place where we worship the King of Kings? We should desire to come before our Lord with a pure heart and mind — and we should have a desire for others to do the same. So why is it okay in our Saviours presence to dress immodestly? Is it fair to our brothers in Christ that we — their sisters in the Lord — should force their attention off of the Word of God being expounded to us? Should the pure man — young or old — really have to be distracted by us? Should they have to struggle to keep a pure mind and thoughts and heart before the Lord? Do we not consider their sisters, brothers, wives, and mothers? The fact that we are also being a distraction to them? The probability that we are distracting them from a whole hearted devotion to Christ as they wonder if their brother, husband, father is able to withstand the temptation that we are presenting?
I look at the stage, the flashing lights, the huge drum set. I listen to the sound system, the acoustics, the songs sung and wonder where our Biblical authority is to turn the church into an entertainment center. I wonder where in Christ Jesus ministry He ever met people where they were. When did He ever reply to the Pharisees with, “Well, you feel it’s a sin to work on the Sabbath so I won’t heal this man?” When did He ever compromise the truth so He wouldn’t be considered offensive? Respond to the Pharisees questions with the answers they wanted to hear? So why is it okay for us to try to appease people? To accept immoral lifestyles into the church? Play rock’n’roll music because people like it? Have lights flashing, smoke going — and all for the entertainment factor? All we are trying to do is draw people in, accept them all, and keep them from feeling different. Is this the way our Saviour did it? Is this the way He discipled people? Did He respond to the rich young man by calling him back telling him how sorry He was for suggesting that he sell all he had, and accept him anyway? Aren’t we supposed to be following our Lords example? Why do we, as a church, respond in this manner?
Why do we think we need a huge building? Hundreds, if not thousands, of people attending? Why do we think we should segregate everyone? Guys over here, girls over there, parents that way, young people somewhere else, babies in the nursery, toddlers in that classroom, elderly people in there…..why can’t we all worship our dear Saviour together? Who is going to teach the children to be attentive to God’s Word if he parents don’t? How is the congregation going to be encouraged by the older people’s trials? How are the young people going to be taught to study the Word of God on their own?
We need to re-evaluate our priorities in the church. Is the goal to draw people in so we have the highest church attendance for the year? Or is it to glorify God? Is the ultimate thing we will be known for to the world around us going to be the big building? All the different children’s and youth programs? The so called “worship” service, complete with flashing lights, a disco ball, a great sound system, and smoke? Or will we be known as a praying people? A people who impacted our culture for Christ? A church who loves the Lord and does His will? Which should have the higher priority in our life? Which would Christ find more acceptable? Having the bigger buildings, the most people, the best worship service, isn’t what makes a church a Christian church. It isn’t what signifies the amount of devotion we have to our Christ. It doesn’t measure our radical heart-abandonment to the Lord. People aren’t going to judge us based on the church we attend. We might impress people if we attend a church with four buildings, with a regular attendance of 700 or more people. But they are going to judge us based on the fruit of Christ they see in our lives. We need to live our everyday life so that people can wonder what we have that they don’t. So that people can interact with us and know there is something different about us. We need to remember Who we are representing — and we need to be careful not to lie to the world about Who our Saviour is.