Share This Episode
Connect with Skip Heitzig Skip Heitzig Logo

The Art of Going to Church-Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2021 2:00 am

The Art of Going to Church-Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 710 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

October 9, 2021 2:00 am

If you're reading this, chances are you've come to church! But why are you here? What is your intention? Don't get me wrong, we're glad you're here today in this place of worship. But for a moment, think about your motivation and your experience--why you've come and what you'll do while you're here and even afterwards. There really is a right way and a wrong way to come to church. Let's consider the words of Solomon--the ancient Preacher.

This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.




This week's DevoMail:

Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey
The Christian Car Guy
Robby Dilmore
Beacon Baptist
Gregory N. Barkman
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
What's Right What's Left
Pastor Ernie Sanders

Going to the ritual going to the motions, going to the ceremony but living a double standard worshiping idols not treating their fellow neighbors with respect whole litany of things that says Solomon is foolish, foolish to think you can just bring a lamb to God that said, there God, here's my sacrifice. It's foolish to think well I came to church and said a few prayers. Foolish to think I just gotta write a check.

It's foolish to try to cover up with the ceremony or ritual reality that speaks of something different little Bill Gates once said, just in terms of allocation of time, resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning. Well, sure bill we can all probably get more done by not going to church but would we be doing anything better. People are plenty of reasons not to go to church but what about reasons for us to keep go. Can you come up with any of those. What you go to church will take some time to examine that on today's broadcast that directly Skip weekend edition. But first, here's what we have for you this the beating heart of Bible prophecy is the land of Israel and the Middle East.

Joel Rosenberg has his finger on the pulse of the world shaking changes happening right now and he unveils them in his new nonfiction book enemies and allies inside inside is made is US enemies and allies from multiple New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg takes you on an unforgettable journey inside the turbulent Middle East behind closed doors to hear from the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the charge. Enemies and allies includes exclusive never before published quotes insight and analysis from the authors conversations with some of the world's most controversial leaders your hardcover copy enemies and allies. Our thanks for your generous gift of $35 or more today to give call book of Ecclesiastes chapter 5. So open your Bibles.

Isaac begins with the reason he started attending church the end of every crusade.

Dr. Billy Graham looks into the camera and says after he is prayed with people to receive Christ. He always says. And be sure that you go to church next Sunday and I remember hearing that when I receive Christ. After listening to one of his messages and that's what put me in search of a local fellowship. It's because of that admonition. I became a churchgoer of people can go to church for different reasons. You can have good reasons are not so good reasons for that reason would be because you love God and you want to worship him corporately and you want to honor him with all of your substance that's a good reason, but not everybody attends church for that reason some people attend church, out of fear, and not the fear of the Lord.

I mean, they're afraid it's a superstition that people grow up.

Well, sort of like well I mean why would God ever let me into heaven if I can at least go to church while I'm on earth and that's a superstition that drives people to attend other people do it out of duty.

They have an obligation they feel American citizen. I'm a parent it's my obligation to go to church.

Others can go to church out of romance. That's like you know there's a lot of cute single people, especially in a large church is a bigger pond of fish from. And yet some people may go to church out of insomnia. They can't sleep, but they know Lisa becomes a church that tall blonde preacher always puts me to sleep never fail, then we all know people who always seem to have an excuse to never come to church under any circumstances, I'm too busy and too busy to this going on so there was 1 Church Who Pl. an announcement in the bulletin as if to anticipate that the announcement read to make it possible for everyone to attend church next Sunday were going to have a special no excuse Sunday clots will be placed in the foyer for those who say Sunday is my only day to sleep in.

Miriam will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV too late on Saturday night we will have steel helmets for those who say the roof would cave fiber came to church, blankets will be provided for those who think the church is to cold fans.

For those who think the church is too hot will have hearing aids for those who say the pastor speaks too softly and earplugs for those say he preaches too loudly.

Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present there will be 100 TV dinners for those who cannot go to church and cook dinner on the same day one section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to see God in nature, and finally the sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the church without them. Ecclesiastes chapter 5 Solomon speaks to us. We might think it strange to turn to an Old Testament book for a New Testament subject, especially the church.

But the book does begin by saying the words of the preacher, Solomon was the preacher the word for preacher in Greek.

Ecclesiastes sounds very similar to the very word for church right at classy packet is the same word in its root, but here the idea in the Old Testament Ecclesiastes in Hebrew cohead.

Let is one who gathers or one who congregates the idea is that he is gathering congregating different ideas and philosophies and looking at them through his life experiences and here in chapter 5 he is been looking at people who are coming to the temple that he built in Jerusalem. They're coming for public worship in chapter 5 verses one through seven are a list of do's and don'ts for those who would attend public worship. I've given this message, the title, the art of going to church to tell you why am calling it that I remember reading something that I memorized years ago. Goes like this getting married is easy staying married is more difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime would be considered among the fine arts and I think that's true with church going to church is easy okay staying a church is more difficult.

Staying faithfully committed to church over a lifetime would be considered among the fine arts, so the art of going to church and in Solomon's own words.

He gives us three concerns are three things we should watch when it comes to attending public worship. First of all we should watch our approach to God. We should watch our affirmations of God and we should watch our attitude toward God.

The first one.

Our approach to God is mentioned in the first few verses that and he seems to allude that there are three possible approaches in public worship ceremonial approaches. The first one verse one walk prudently when you go to the house of God and draw near to hear rather than to get the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. If you know anything about the Old Testament system of worship. You know that it involve the sacrifice you come to the temple you bring an animal for sacrifice. It's what God intended. It's what God prescribed a sacrifice here Solomon calls the sacrifice that some were bringing a sacrifice of fools. Why would he call it that is why, because he noticed that there were people who were keeping the ceremonial law while breaking the moral law, there were going to the ritual going to the motions, going to the ceremony but living a double standard worshiping idols not treating their fellow neighbors with respect to whole litany of things that says Solomon is foolish.

It's foolish to think you can just bring a lamb to God and that's it. God hears my sacrifice. It's foolish to think well I came to church and said a few prayers. It's foolish to think I just gotta write a check.

It's foolish to try to cover up with a ceremony or ritual reality that speaks of something different, perhaps the best example that I can think of is the first king of Israel. Saul. Saul tried to cover up a life of disobedience with the ritual of sacrifice is the sacrifice of fools. He came back from the battle and he disobeyed God. God said get rid of everything, even the animals and he brings back the best of the animals for himself, but is what he says. I brought the best animals back to sacrifice to the Lord and the prophet said to him, listen to obey is better than sacrifice, and that he is better than the fat of rams. It's amazing to me that the very God, who said bring lambs bring turtle does make sacrifices and wrote about them in detail through his emissaries in the Levitical law that very God in Isaiah chapter 1 says this I am sick of your sacrifices, says the Lord don't bring me any more burnt offerings.

I don't want the fat of your rams or other animals. Why would God say that he came up with the idea because once again they were keeping ceremonial law, but breaking the moral law in their own personal lives separate the two. There is a belief system and it's given the theological name sacerdotal is him if he ever remember the word if you want to remember you will impress your friends. At least sacerdotal is him is the giving of sacraments by ordained clergy that dispense grace, the belief system that an ordained clergy will go to a ritual of giving sacraments. Thus, their words dispensing race. So many will hide behind that and I'll say like been baptized while living immorally like been confirmed while living immorally. Well, I've gone through communion while living immorally to cover up and God never separates what is brought i.e. the sacrifice with the person bringing we see this in the very first sacrifice with cane enable those two brothers who brought the sacrifice of the Lord and God, receive one.

I did receive the other cane got very, very angry. And God said to Cain Kenny, why are you so angry. If you did well or if you lived right would you not be accepted. See, I'm not accepting you because you're not living right. So that is the ceremonial approach is the second way to approach God and that is the superficial approach verse two. Do not be rash with your mouth. Do not let your heart out or anything hastily before God. God is in heaven. You are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity in a fools voice is known by his many words. This is the approach of words using the mouth, speech and notice in verse two he speaks about rash speech that's hurrying that's rushing to the prayer list just to get it done get through with it, get it over with. Hurry up with church get it over with rash verse three as much speech filling your prayers with flowery words that that never impress God, but they might impress other people around you. Recall that Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6 and when you pray, do not be like that.

He then who think that they will be heard by their many words.

That's exactly what the false prophets of bail in the Old Testament were trying to do. Member the contest with Elijah on Mount Carmel and the Bible says they cried out to bail from morning until noon. That's a long prayer meeting and they were repeating and repeating and repeating their words and Elijah comes in and says just a few words but they're so heartfelt and they were to the right, God, and his prayers were answered. I heard about one famous Rabbi Brown the New Testament era, whose prayer was recorded, and it had 19 adjectives before God was even mentioned some like holy, righteous, magnificent splendor is omnipotent, omnipresent God. 19 adjectives before God is even mentioned thinking that if I just add more flowery words that that's what God requires is a little boy in church and everybody was praying and he had his head bowed and he was praying and loud enough for the pastor to hear him. Here's his prayer. Tokyo Tokyo Tokyo Tokyo Tokyo Tokyo pastor. Afterwards, excuse me, I'm glad you're praying. First of all, but why Tokyo he said look preacher, I just came from school and took my geography test. I'm asking God that he will make Tokyo the capital of France. He got the answer on the test but but if I just say it long enough maybe. Gotta get it done that some folks I think when you get them around church. It's like a switch goes off the God talk turns on hallelujah thank you Jesus.

Praise the Lord that can also just be shallow enough to cover up something else. John Bunyan who wrote Pilgrim's progress said in prayer. It's better to have a heart without words than to have words without heart. The third approach is the sincere approach is the right one back to verse one and notice the opening command walk prudently when you go to the house of God walk prudently. If you have an old kindred Jimmy version it says keep thy foot. Keep thy foot. We would say watch your step, or walk carefully when you go to the house of God.

The idea is to come prepared by the question. Don't answered aloud just in your heart how do you prepare for coming to church. Besides doing her hair up and I'm not fit, cologne, perfume, whatever. How else do you prepare how you prepare inwardly and may I just suggest that just the basic when you open your eye in the morning, you're on your bad your eyes open Sunday morning before your feet up and hit the ground is the Lord, I commit this debut I commit this week to you.

I pray that you would speak to me through your word. I pray that you would deal with me through your word. I want to hear from you and why is it so important to be careful or to walk prudently or to be prepared. Verse one it says draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. We should be prepared because God wants to speak to us.

That's why got something to say to us, that's why if you were to go to the White House or to Congress or to the United Nations and bring a request. I guarantee you would you would just come you come prepared, you think about what you say you think about the attitude, the truth and the brain. You would think about your proper behavior in that setting. So why not be prepared before God when we gather the new living translation renders verse one of chapter 5 as you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. You don't get any clearer than that. I member somebody once told me, Skip God gave you two ears and one mouth followed that ratio. In other words, we should be listening twice as much as we are talking and you know that you can worship with your ears. I don't mean that you have to make your ears got it like this like you're praising the Lord like little hands lifted up when I say worship with your ears talking about Lord, I am going to listen to what you have to say to me that is my worship to you worship with your ears. So why are you attending church is out of obligation and ritual. Is there a deeper passion to keep you coming back will talk more about how to make the latter instead of the formal when we resume this teaching next. But for now let's get a few thoughts from Skip and Lenny today about how we should view the picture when you really loving this series and in today. We were challenged to evaluate our personal approach God or motivation for going to church and I think that's a good question. Why do you go to church now and a lot of us might say I you now I want a nice cushy peeler. You know to call me with some necessary man are very rarely do we look at it for what we can give to church that we had the body of Christ where his hands, his feet his fingers and so when we go to church.

We have this opportunity to give, not just receive and so how can we cultivate a sincere approach to God and have the right motive when we go to church. You know him just thinking as you are talking. If we were to go to the White House or the United Nations were to make some kind of an appearance in such a place like that we would go prepare with and think about what would aware what to say were going to be with wheat we would come with some preparation so it just makes sense that if you're going to come and meet with God in a place for all God's people meet together ongoing address come to one place to cheat you want have a little bit of thought before you get to see her saying pray before you go to church. I'm saying prepare and and part of it is is to pray, you know, Samuel said, speak, Lord, your servant is listening. So he was in prayer, inviting God very intentionally to speak to him with the intent that he was going to hear what God said and go do what he said. I think if we were to come to church with that attitude speak, Lord. I'm listening I'm listening that I might obey. That's the idea that Hebrew text. Boy, I think church would be a whole lot different. Also, you mentioned giving you know we have been given a gift. A spiritual gift, some kind of capability that only we have that only we can use to meet somebody else's name. If we don't find a way to exercise the get them were really not being part of the church were being a spectator watching church like to watch a movie is only when we connect with others and give the gift that is been given to us by the Lord as believers doesn't really satisfy. I remember when you teaching talking about the Taylor family and that you know on if he has a taters are agitators are procrastinators that we really should be participators and really be involved. So when you come to church, make sure that you're bringing something to the table and the best part is you bring it and God multiplies it and your life is blessed as a result of it.

You can't out give God with your time, your talents here personality all that you have an and when you bring that to church.

Then he just brings in a bumper crop. The harvest that's glorious well thanks for joining us today. Skip and lamia. You can also ask is for a copy of today's message. The art of going to church. It's available for just four dollars for shipping when you call us at 1-800-922-1888 horror you know you can make a lasting impact in this world for Christ.

One way is by supporting this ministry, as we share the good news of Jesus to the world. Just come back next time we talk more about the art of going to church and how we can all perfect right here and connect with weekend edition presentation of connection you and ever-changing time

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime