Are We Worshiping or Just Attending Worship

 

††††††††††† Have you ever said I canít participate in that activity or I canít do that today because I HAVE TO go to church?If weíll be honest with ourselves, there have probably been times and instances when attendance at the worship of God wasnít our favorite thing to do.

A couple of weeks ago Darwin touched briefly on a thought that has been running through my mind recently; one of those impertinent ideas that those of us who teach or preach have from time to time. When we come to is the hour appointed by our elders for the study of Godís Word and worship to God what is the real reason weíre here? Are we here to worship God, or are we just attending church?

Jesus made the following charge to those scribes and Pharisees who came to Capernaum to find fault with him:

 

Matthew 15:8 ďTHIS PEOPLE DRAWETH NIGH UNTO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONOURETH ME WITH THEIR LIPS; BUT their HEART IS FAR FROM ME.Ē

 

The people that Jesus was speaking to were not the only people who had this problem:

 

Isaiah 59:13 ďWHEREFORE THE LORD SAID, FORASMUCH AS THIS PEOPLE DRAW NEAR me WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND WITH THEIR LIPS DO HONOUR ME, BUT HAVE REMOVED THEIR HEART FAR FROM ME, AND THEIR FEAR TOWARD ME IS TAUGHT BY THE PRECEPT OF MEN:Ē

 

This attitude is probably as much of a problem today and it was then.

Now granted; Jesusí condemnation of these people and Godís condemnation of Judah was because they had left the things taught by the prophets to their fathers and were teaching and binding upon their hearers the traditions and precepts of men. However, isnít that the same kind of attitude that would allow us to just attend church rather than come to worship God? Jesus also said that:

 

ďGod is A SPIRIT: AND THEY THAT WORSHIP HIM MUST WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.Ē John 4:24

 

To complete the actions of worship are important. But to complete the actions of worship without the proper attitude can bring Godís condemnation just as quick as refusing to worship him at all.

Sometimes those who are just attending church will stick out like a sore thumb. In fact, it is readily apparent that they are not participating. A gospel preacher has the privilege of seeing every face in the auditorium. When he preaches he may notice individuals carrying on a conversation with a neighbor. Perhaps a baby is being passed back and forth. Perhaps another, who is old enough that they should know better, is being allowed to distract its parents and everyone else in the neighboring pews. Some people nap.When the invitation is presented and everyone is asked to stand and sing to encourage a soul to respond to the message preached there are some who look around and do everything but open their mouths in praise to God.How many souls are lost because when they were at the moment of responding to Godís invitation but were distracted by someone around them who wasnít worshiping and that moment was lost never to be recovered.

There are some people that consider worship as having very little meaning.I have heard people say that they just donít get a lot out of the worship service, or the Bible Study period.Sometimes that is due to circumstances beyond our immediate control.But, at the same time, could it be an attitude problem that we havenít recognized?Most often, what we get out of something is directly related to what we put into it.How much of ourselves are we putting into the worship of God?Are we like David?

 

Psalms 122:1 ďI WAS GLAD WHEN THEY SAID UNTO ME, LET US GO INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.Ē

 

Some things we can do to prevent having this problem:

 

1.) When leaving the house for worship, pray for the church, the elders, deacons, preacher, and every member who will be worshipping with you.

2.) When you approach the church building leave distracting thoughts behind.

3.) During Bible Study, participate; during worship lift your voice in praise to God, bow your head and pray with whoever is leading prayer.

4.) Consider the words of the sermon, take in the very depth of their meaning and apply them to your soul.

5.) When observing the Lordís Supper, discern the Lordís body and remember the sacrifice that He made for you.

6.) When giving, do so liberally, thanking God for his blessings.

7.) At the close of the worship hour, speak to everyone you know, and greet those you do not know.Treat Godís people like the family they are.

8.) When you leave the building, be convicted, be planning and working at how you will do better tomorrow than you have done today or in days past.

 

There may be those present who are not children of God, if soÖThere also may be those who are children of God but who havenít been faithful, who need to be strengthened, who need prayers or encouragement.