We live in an age where the would-be worshiper is seeking something to fulfill their personal needs. In many ways, God has become the vendor of our spiritual well-being and believers have convinced themselves that they are consumers of spirituality and faith. Therefore, our church buildings must be comfortable for us, or we will abandon them. Our children must be cared for or we will consider a church body derelict in its duty to pacify our children so we can feel more comfortable and fulfilled. Our ministers must preach what keeps us from feeling negatively about ourselves in any way or that minister will be seen as bigoted, mean, or worthy of the title of Pharisee or False Teacher. When our personal needs and comforts are not being fulfilled, when “I” do not feel happy, pleased, or at the very least considered as important in some way, then how can it be possible that church is at all representing God and his abundant love for all of mankind?
Can you imagine walking into a church where there were no symbols of faith to be readily noticed save many Bibles and hymnals laying around (and maybe the hastily scribbled note pad here and there)? Seriously, why are there not crosses hanging everywhere, or at least in the main assembly area so everyone can know this is a place of the Lord? Can you imagine walking into a church where there is not even a little coffee to drink? What about the fact the assembly is so early in the morning? I mean, yes, I get up at 6 AM to go to work every other day, make my own coffee and get to work on time but this is Sunday! My day off! If I have to be at the assembly as early as 8 or 9 AM isn’t the least they can do is percolate some coffee so I can have a cup and wake up enough to listen to the Bible class or the sermon? Maybe it is not my day off, and I bother myself to go to services before work, so should that not get some consideration (maybe with a bagel)? Can you imagine a church body without day care for the kids (or maybe grandma)? I mean, I raise my kids every day, except weekdays of course, when they are at the day care center (I work extra hours of overtime so I can afford the best day care for them). After all, I spend evenings and Saturdays with them for some real family quality time, except for the time I need for myself, you know, “me time” so I don’t go absolutely insane! Isn’t the least the local church can do is provide me a little time not to have to make my baby/toddler sit quietly, mind, and maybe color in a Bible coloring book or something? Can you imagine having to listen to a Bible lesson or sermon where things like social drinking, promiscuity, homosexuality, divorce, and likewise are always warned against as sin that can condemn a soul for all eternity if not altered and/or repented of? Is it asking too much for ministers to be more open-minded about what people need personally and be more like Oprah or at least Dr. Phil? Why does everything I want to enjoy and do to please myself have to be regarded in such negative ways just because God demanded them as sin or unacceptable pursuits in the Bible?
Coffee and crosses. If the modern religious world would honestly boil down their definition of what faith and worship is all about, this may very well be the conclusion that would be essentially reached. What does it mean to us? To you? To me? It means we have come so far in our misunderstandings about God and what it means to be his child in this world that we have prostituted ourselves, pimped out our faith, and spoiled ourselves to the point that we have lost what it means to assemble together, worship God together, and build up one another in the truth. We have sold our lives for silver and gold; things most unworthy for the hope that lies within us. When we read of worship in the New Testament, it is never regarded as time for pomp and circumstance, coffee cups and symbolic décor. It is a solemn assembly, where we raise our voices to God in unity, in prayer, in song, and in teaching. It is a place where God is exalted, glorified, worshiped, and where the self is denied, humbled, and thankful for all the Lord has provided, not what more it can get out of him.
This is the church of the Lord. A place where you can come and sit after being greeted with courtesy and kindness (Acts 10:34-35). There is no loud music blasting, no moving lights, no tremendous organ or piano music to tickle the ears. It is the church like the one you read of in the Bible. When music is heard, it is music sung by the members with open hearts, minds, and mouths, just as it is to be (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).There is no chaotic feel to the place at all. There is no diversion, but there is focus and order (1 Corinthians 14:33). There are good men to lead the congregation in prayer, song, and sound Bible teaching. During the worship, the Lord Jesus is memorialized in the way he demanded (Matthew 26:26-29) and in the way his disciples memorialized him since the first century (Acts 20:7), by partaking together of the emblems of the Lord’s Supper. Also, a collection is taken in the same way first century Christians practiced (1 Corinthians 16:1-3) and for the purposes, and only the purposes, they designated: furtherance of the kingdom by evangelism and the relief of needy saints. This is because the Lord’s church specializes in being the church, the one place on the earth where a wholly-spiritual mission is the ultimate goal (1st Timothy 3:15). The Lord’s church is not in the entertainment business, the psychology business, or the welfare business, it is in the soul-saving business!
This is the church of the Lord. A place where the only book that matters is the good book, the Holy Bible, The Scriptures, The Word of God! There is a special emphasis placed on the New Testament in the Lord’s church because it is the covenant the Lord himself died for and sealed with his precious blood for the modern era. You will notice the people of the Lord’s church reading their Bibles as the lessons and sermons are being taught. This too is due to the excellent practices of those dedicated Bible students, followers of God in the first century (Acts 17:11).No one in the Lord’s church accepts something taught from the Bible as true just because someone says so and no one in the Lord’s church will fault any for doing so. Instead, they will be comforted and thankful that there are still those serious about knowing God’s Word! It is also a place where salvation is seen for the way it is revealed in the Bible. The people of the Lord’s church understand what saves the soul and what does not. Therefore, they do not exclude or minimize ANY of the Bible teaching on salvation, but see salvation as the tapestry of truth weaved by the Holy Spirit. Ask any member of the Lord’s church, and that member will tell you what saves is confession (1 John 4:2), Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), Hope (Romans 8:24), Jesus and his blood (Matthew 1:21; Romans 5:9), Works of obedience to God (James 2:24), Repentance (Acts 11:18), The Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), God (2 Timothy 1:8-9), The Gospel (Romans 1:16), Belief (Acts 16:31), and Baptism (1 Peter 3:21). Isn’t that interesting? We have heard many times that baptism is not necessary to salvation, but belief alone is. We have also heard that faith is all that is necessary to be saved. Is the Bible true or are they who are bold to omit some or all it says regarding salvation? The people of the Lord’s church believe the Bible in its entirety, not in its partiality!
The church of the Lord is a universe-wide organization. It is composed of all believers, live or dead, and many of those live believers congregate together throughout the world to strengthen, edify, love, and support one another in the most holy faith. Please do all you can to find them, to be a part of them. If you are part of the crosses and coffee crowd, you are missing out on the true glory to be had in the richness of faith and worship you can experience among the church of the Lord. Don’t wait any longer. Break free of the intoxication of entertainment and social based religion. Come to the Lord to serve and worship him as he deserves and leave what you want and desire behind to be fully invested in his providence, grace, love and salvation. There is an assembly of the church of the Lord near you. Seek it out and be blessed. Accept no more compromises, no more substitutes, and no more shallow alternatives. Come one and all!