I recently read a church-sign that said, “Beat the Easter rush, worship now.”
When it comes to the “Easter” rush, my advice to any congregation is, if you have one and it can be done, take advantage of it!
I know, I have seen people attending worship services on Easter who didn’t want to be there anymore than the average person enjoys going to the dentist; but mixed in with the people who care little about worshiping God (it’s the, “Let’s make mom, dad, or someone else happy by going to church this weekend.” mentality) it is very possible there will be an individual at the worship service genuinely seeking God with a Berean-like mentality (Acts 17:11) … and we need to let them know that God can be found (Acts 17:27).
Most people feel as if they are doing something good by worshiping on “Easter”, and yes many of them have much to learn; but that is why we need to take advantage of the opportunity and encourage them to keep doing good in hopes that the desire to please God on one day becomes something that looks to fulfill the righteousness of God every day (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 1:16-17).
“Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” (John 4:20-24 NKJV)
He has been attending for a while and we have a study set up in his and his wife’s home for later this week. He’s a young man, with a small child. He once came straight from work to a mid-week study in his work clothes—bright orange with reflective stripes—because he had forgotten a change of clothes, but didn’t want to miss the meeting.
This afternoon he called to ask if he could bring a friend, about his age, who also has a small child, who is separating from his wife and very troubled.
Here’s a person outside of Christ, who recognizes that he himself is far from God, bringing another in a similar situation.
If a non-Christian can do this, why can’t a Christian?
One of my elders spoke up with an interesting take on Matthew 6:33 last night.
The verse says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
The comment on the verse, or something very very similar to it, was, “The problem is that people think that God should make them number one on his list instead of us making him number one on our list.”
The comment is true indeed. Often times, perhaps even in our own mirror, it’s not very hard to see people who think that God should “drop everything” for them without the individual having any interest in picking up a single cross for Christ (Matthew 10:37-38).
Seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness is truly a mighty call from the highest points of Heaven that still finds its way into the deepest valleys of the Earth. It’s a call that urges us as followers to find ways to put God and his ways first in our life. It’s a call for priority. And that means it’s a call that distinguishes the difference between what we believe God owes us and what we owe God.
Before I finish my thought I want quickly point out that it is God indeed who has taken the first step in every way that’s needed to secure a right relationship with him (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:19). But to say that no reaction from our side of the relationship is needed misses the point of a relationship…especially when it comes to the Lord and disciple variety (Luke 6:46-49).
Some in the religious world are under the impression that God is fine with the spirit minus the law, but the law minus the spirit is unquestionably wrong when it comes to people who desire to please our creator in multiple venues of life.
I say the above math is bad.
If the law minus the spirit leads to the wrong answer, (and I believe it does because God’s law teaches this very thing) then the math necessitates that both constants must be present to get the right answer. Therefore if the law minus the spirit is incorrect, then the spirit minus the law results in the same answer.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath-water when it comes to what God is looking for in us!
God is looking for people who look for him, and these people are made up of individuals who look to live a life in accordance to his will. This has always been the case, and it will always be the case. Hence, one would do well to earnestly seek God in worship, in life and in doctrine, all the while seeking to do these things in accordance to the letter that calls our spirit to seek him to begin with (John 6:44-45).
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” (Matthew 23:23)