"...you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead."
I have some very close family who attend a local church. Each Sunday, they are egar to get to services and see what is going to happen. Will it be the children acting out a bible story on stage? Will that soloist get to sing again? Will they show another Christian comedian video?
They tell me how many people come to services, and what the plans are for the seemingly endless number of group activities. There have actually been services filled with so many plays, group reports, and such that there was no time for the sermon!
Some people will ask, what's wrong with that? Hey, at least they went to church, that's more than a lot of people. Well that much is true, but that's not the issue. The problem lies with the motives behind these exercises.
Many who attend worship services appear to be doing good things. They will pray, sing songs of praise, support their church financially, and study from God's word. And, to be clear, I'm not against group activities and occasional potlucks. The problem occurs when the latter things become the primary reason people go to services.
This seemed to be the problem with the church in Sardis back in the first century. Apparently, to the casual observer, and even to many within the congregation, all was well with them. They met regularly, gave thanks, took communion, and had bible study. Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ told them that they were "dead" and needed to "wake up" or perish! Why would He say that?
Reading now from (Revelation 3: 2-3), we find these words of our Savior to them:
"Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come as a theif, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."
The Lord has always been clear, He does not want "lip service." He asks us to worship Him first, in Spirit and truth; with psalms, hyms and spiritual song. We pary, encourage, preach and teach His word. After that, if people want to have activities and fellowship meals, that's fine!
A church can devote all kinds of time to membership activities and various good works. However, if the social aspect or personal adoration is the first concern...if the "showmanship" takes president over the "sincerity of worship" to the Lord, they have missed the mark, no matter how good the intensions!
God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins. When believers really take that thought to heart with a pure, unadulterated appreciation, they will want to please the Father in any way He wants! And He wants this to be the foremost reason we gather in public worship.
"Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come as a theif, and you will not know at what time I will come to you." Amen! I wish more people would understand what is happening around them. I pray for our country and for the saved and unsaved, every day. I would like to see a great revival of the heart in all believers, and I pray it will happen soon. Thank you for your blogs, they are always a blessing to me.