You Call This A Church?

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John 20:19-31

Gordon Dahl once observed, “Our problem is that we worship our work, work at our play, and play at our worship.” A Christian who says he worships God every Sunday morning on the golf course is really worshiping golf on God’s course. A little boy is learning about symbols in his church’s worship service. “Dad, what does it mean when those men pass those plates?” The Dad said, “The people are giving gifts to God.” Then the boy asked, “What does it mean when they have those trays stacked up there – and people go up and kneel?” The Dad answered, “They are guests at the Lord’s table.” Then the boy asked, “What does it mean when the minister lays his watch on the pulpit?” Since the minister was fairly long-winded, the Dad answered, “It means absolutely nothing, Son, absolutely nothing!”

Worship is connecting to God. The late Archbishop Temple, when he was primate of England, once told this story. One morning, in a house where he was a guest, he heard from the kitchen a voice singing lustily, “Nearer, My God to Thee.” He thought this was great that she would be singing hymns and he spoke of it to his host. The host replied, “Oh, yes. That’s the hymn she boils the eggs to — three verses for soft boil and five for hard.” He thought she was expressing her faith. All she was doing was timing her eggs.

A woman entered a Haagen-Dasz store on the Kansas City Plaza for an ice-cream cone. After making her selection, she turned and found herself face to face with Paul Newman, in town filming a movie. He smiled and said hello. Newman’s blue eyes caused her knees to shake. She managed to pay for her cone, then left the shop, heart pounding. When she gained her composure, she realized she didn’t have her snack. She started back into the store to get it and met Newman at the door. “Are you looking for your ice cream?” he asked. She nodded, unable to speak. “You put it in your purse with your change.” When was the last time the presence of God quickened our pulse?

We hear a lot of people talking about worshiping God out under the trees or on the river bank. We may commune with God, but that is not worship. We may read our Bibles, but that is not worship. We may talk to God in prayer, which is valuable, but that is not worship. Worship only happens among the assembled people of God. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrew 10:25) Even Jesus pointed out the power and importance when He said, For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt 18:20) There are five elements to Christian worship. The first four of these elements came from our Jewish roots and were carried over into the first century Church.

The Reading of Scripture. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17) Prayer.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
Preaching and Teaching. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14) Praise, “thank you”. Offering. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Mal 3:9)Response. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. (Acts 16:14) Baptism. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15) Hymns. When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14:26) Lord’s Supper. On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. (Acts 20:7)

Worship is the act of paying honor, reverence and homage to God. It is as natural to worship as it is to live. The feeling and expression of high adoration, reverence, trust, love, loyalty, and dependence upon a higher power is a necessity to people. In primitive times the form of worship that Enoch introduced was still maintained, for Enoch “walked with God” (Gen 5:24). Noah was righteous before Him, expressing his gratitude by presenting burnt offerings (8:20-21).

On the Lord’s day we worship. We worship by the Holy Spirit and its attributes are spirituality, simplicity, purity, and reverent decorum. It is a holy moment in our lives. Regular churchgoers live longer than non churchgoers, a new study shows. Researchers studied 21,000 adults for nine years, examining their religious behaviors and other factors. Demography Magazine, the Washington Times said: People who attend church regularly could live up to fourteen years longer than those who don’t, the study showed. “Those who never attend church exhibit fifty percent higher risks of mortality over the follow-up period than those who attend most frequently,” researcher Robert Hummer said. “Those who attend weekly or less than once a week display about a twenty percent higher risk of mortality than those who attend more than once a week.” The study, partially funded by the National Science Foundation, also showed ailments common among those who don’t attend church. “[They] are about four times as likely to die from respiratory disease, diabetes, or infectious disease,” Hummer said.

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