Psalms 95:6-7 ESV
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.”
What or Who is the Church?
A lot of people in America have this mistaken idea of worship of God as a time of singing praise and worship songs, particularly in something called a “worship service” in institutional church gatherings. But I will get back to that in a bit. First off I want to say that the institutional church is of man, not of God, for it is incorporated under the state, so it is a business, and it is a state church. And most of these are being marketed to the world just like any business and its products are being marketed to the world.
But the true church, the body of Christ, is not a business. It is not a corporation under the state. It is not of a particular church denomination. And it is not a building called “church.” It is the people of God all over the world who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. We are the church. And Jesus is our head. And the Scriptures are our guide for daily living. And we are being led by the Spirit of God, not by the marketing schemes of men in how to grow “churches” (businesses).
Now I am not saying that God has not ever blessed a congregation of people inside an institutional church gathering, or that all the people who attend these institutional churches are not of God. I am just saying that these institutional churches incorporated under the state are not the true church, the body of Christ. And the buildings are not the church. And church denominations are not the church. We the people of God are the church regardless of where we gather together or how often we meet together.
And I do believe that there are congregations of Christians who are following the Lord Jesus with their lives even if they are under the state. And God is blessing them and their ministry because their lives are surrendered to the Lord and they are still holding firm to the truths of the gospel, and they have not compromised with the world. But it appears the vast majority of institutional churches and church denominations in America have gone the way of the world and they are marketing their gatherings to the world.
And so they are making compromises with the world in order to win the world to their gatherings. And so they have altered the whole meaning of “church” to be more like social clubs or civic centers or places of good clean fun and entertainment with all sorts of activities. And they are following after business models on how to grow their churches (businesses), so they are patterning their gatherings after the desires of the world, and so they have also altered the gospel to make it more acceptable to the world.
What is Worship?
And in the process, they have also altered the whole meaning of worship of God and so many have reduced it to a song service only. So, when they say they lead people in worship, what are they leading them to do? To sing? Yes! But often it is more of a stirring of human emotions or a false sense of worship of God by giving the impression that going through the motions of singing worship songs means that one is actually worshiping God. Now I am not saying that these people are not worshiping God, but what is worship?
We read in Romans 12:1-2 that we are to present our bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable and pleasing to God, which is our spiritual worship of God. And we are not to be conformed to this world, but we are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds that we might discern the will of God. So this is true worship. If our lives are not surrendered to Jesus Christ, and if we are not walking in holiness and in righteousness, living lives which are pleasing to God, we are not worshiping God.
So, just singing songs of praise and worship to God in a song service does not mean you are worshiping God or that the song leader is literally leading you to worship God. For if the song leader is leading you to worship God, he or she is going to lead you to surrender your lives over to Jesus Christ to be wholly his, to no longer walk in sin, but now to live holy lives pleasing to God in walks of obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant). Is your song leader leading you to do that? Not many are, if any are.
And the church is not something you go to and that you attract the world to. We the people of God are the church, and we gather together in various places at various times. But if you want to invite someone to church that means you are sharing with them the gospel of our salvation which says that we are to deny self and die with Christ in death to sin, not just once but daily, and we are to then walk in obedience to his commands, following him wherever he leads us (Luke 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14).
For the only way any of us can be part of the true church is through dying with Christ to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. For this Jesus died on that cross. And once we have done that we are now members of the one and only church, the body of Christ, and we need no other membership. And that church is universal but she does meet in various places. And she is being guided by the Spirit of God and by the Scriptures and not by the marketing schemes of men who want to grow their earthly kingdoms.
Body of Christ, life and ministry: [Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 9:23-26; Jn. 4:31-38; Jn. 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Ac 1:8; Ac 2:42-47; Ac 26:18; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; Gal 5:16-21; 1 Co 3:9,16-17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 5:1; 2 Co 6:14-16; Eph 1:4,22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-32; Eph 5:17-30; Col 1:18-24; Col 2:19; Col 3:12-16; 2 Tim 1:9; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet 2:4-9,21; Titus 2:11-14; Heb 3:13; Jude 1:20-21; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.