April 2, 2014
Romans 14:5, 6
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t go to church. I really don’t get much out of it.” My question is, “How much are you putting into it?” In other words, how much preparation are you doing so that going to church will be a meaningful experience?
First, let’s define what we mean by church. It is not the building in which we meet. It is the people who meet there! The Greek word for church is ekklesia, meaning “a calling out, i.e. a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation.” Church is translated in the New Testament as “assembly, church.” (Strong’s Dictionary Of The Greek Testament). Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are the called-out ones, called out of the world – according to John 17:14 through 16 – but still in the world, to be a witness to unbelievers that Jesus Christ is “…the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6). And to testify to what Jesus said in John 5:24:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who
sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed
from death into life.
Thus, we are “…just strangers visiting down here…” (Hebrews 11:13 – The Living Bible), not really belonging to this old sinful world!
But back to the idea of church: Generally, it is thought that – when gathering especially on a Sunday morning – it is to be a time to worship the Lord. How much preparation are you putting into worship so that when you gather with other Christians on Sunday morning you are getting the most out of it?
The scripture for today’s subject is Romans 14:5 and 6:
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day
alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the
day, observes it unto the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the
Lord he does not observe it….and gives God thanks.
Either way one thinks about the day when Christians gather for worship – whether it is a more special day than the other six of the week or not – is a matter of personal conviction. But Paul does not condemn at all those who think every day is special! And every day is special! As the psalmist said in Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” He was not just referring to Sunday – or the Saturday sabbath for the Jew. Every day is “…the day which the LORD has made…!” Every day is a day to “…rejoice and be glad in it…!”
So are you Preparing for Worship every day? In looking forward to Sunday – or whatever day you gather for worship – do you start preparing for the next Sunday morning on Sunday afternoon?
How does one go about such preparation? Here is how I do it, and it is nothing out of the ordinary:
• I read my Bible every day. Whether I feel like it or not – whether I seem to get a lot out of my reading for that day or not – I set aside time to read the Word of God. You see, according to Colossians 3:10, “…the new man [the new nature given you by the Holy Spirit when you ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and life] …is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” What kind of knowledge renews that new nature? It is the knowledge gleaned when you read and study the Word of God! God uses that knowledge to feed and grow the new nature into being more and more Christlike! So reading your Bible will help prepare you for Worship.
• I pray every day – again, whether I feel like it or not! Prayer is communication with God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe! It is telling Him what is on your heart and mind, and listening to Him as He gives answers and directions. Just as good communication draws two people closer together, so prayer will draw you closer to the Lord. By the way, I pray for my pastor Ken and my church, Olive Branch Baptist – the people and the ministries in which they are engaged. And I pray also for all the pastors and churches of which I am aware – that God will prepare hearts for proper worship so He can pour out His Holy Spirit in revival!
• I go about every day the business to which God has called me – such as keeping up with these blogs three times a week, being a witness to unbelievers, an encouragement to other Christians, trying generally to please my Father.
When Sunday morning comes around, I am ready to go to church and enter into worship with the other congregants for the glory of God! Are you?