Did you know that people come to Church for different reasons? Some people come because it eases their conscience, a little religion is good for them. Some people come because they are looking for some business contacts. Some people come because they are looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend. Some come because it’s a friendly social environment and it’s easy to come and go and stay under the radar. Some people come because of a dynamic preacher, a gifted band, or fun activities for their kids. Church to them is kind of like a food buffet, take what you want and pass on the vegetables. Have it your way.
While only Jesus can truly see the heart and motives, I have a question for you. Have you come to worship?
There is an old Gospel song I remember singing many years ago when I attended an urban church that met at a hotel. The music was upbeat, full of emotion, expressive, and dripping with joy. It was called, “I don’t know what you come to do.” It was kind of a call and response song.
The chorus said, “I don’t know what you come to do, but I came to praise the Lord.” The verse declared, “I come to clap my hands, I come to do my dance, I come to lift his name, I come to give him praise, Come on and shout for joy, Making a joyful noise, Been so good to me!”
Have I come to worship? Worship, traditionally is at the beginning of the service. Do I make an effort to go to bed early to get up in time to be in the service ready to sing with the Church family? Am I listening to the announcements with excitement and anticipation and grateful joy to what Jesus is doing and what He has opened for us to be apart of? As I hear the word am I attentive with holy respect and awe as I respond with loving obedience to what I hear? That is worship, 1 Samuel 15:22.
Have we really come to worship as we gather each week? I have noticed that when I purpose to worship, it seems others worship. When others worship, it’s almost as if a holy virus spreads across the hearts of God’s people. It is contagious, it is beautiful, and it is a blessing.
The Spirit of God moves in very simple ways. He is not summoned by emotional or mystical aids. When His people gather, and sing, and worship, and obey, He is in the midst.
Oh, we know that “worship” is more than a song, it’s a lifestyle, Romans 12:1. But if we have not come to worship at all, we probably shouldn’t come, or stay home until the heart is humbled and made right, so that when we come, we say, “I’ve come to praise the Lord!” I don’t know what you’ve come to do, but I came to praise the Lord! Psalm 150!
The “sinner’s prayer” probably evolved, in some form or another, in the early days of the Protestant Reformation movement, as a misguided reaction against the Roman Catholic dogma of justification by means of meritorious works. For example, Jacobus Faber (c. 1450-1536), who has been called “the father of the French reformation” (though he never formally left the Catholic Church), wrote a commentary on the epistles of Paul in 1512. (This was five years before Luther’s break with the Roman Church in Germany.) In this volume Faber argued that justification is obtained through faith without works (see McClintock & Strong 1969, p. 441).
Later, rebelling against the “merit works” system of Romanism, Luther would contend that salvation is on the basis of “faith alone.” Many are debating the significance, validity and propriety of the Sinner's Prayer! What's the world coming to when we can't even count on Evangelicals to unswervingly defend the faith once delivered to the saints? The Sinner's Prayer has recently been suspect in influential evangelical circles.
The Sinner's Prayer rose from the mist of evangelical revivalism, and is in many ways a work of genius, as brilliant as the simple formulations of Martin Luther (Sola fide! Sola Scriptura!). It comes in many flavors, but it generally contains two elements: repentance for sin and trust in Christ's redemptive work at the Cross for forgiveness. The prayer assumes absolute dependence on God's grace (we do not "cooperate" with grace); trust in Christ's lordship ("accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior"); and union with Christ (as in, "inviting Christ into my heart"). Some versions are theologically better than others, and there are often more felicitous ways to express its truths. But if we recognize that the Sinner's Prayer is not systematic theology but a heartfelt expression of faith in Christ, we would not argue.Read more...