What is your primary focus during worship? Are you thinking about God, or yourself, or all the other things that tumble around our minds?
Some of my most precious Sunday memories are meaty discussions in Sunday School, singing in the choir, playing the piano during worship, and having lunch with friends afterward.
The early Christians devoted themselves to the concepts and practices of these verses. That means they planned, scheduled, and looked forward to going to church and fellowshipping with other Believers afterward. Friends not only had lunch with one another, but they also broke bread. The word used here for breaking bread can be translated as “Eucharist”. That word tells us they followed Jesus’ command in Luke 22:19. They took communion. They didn’t have restaurants and fast food like we do, they went to one another’s homes. I imagine this was like a carry-in dinner every day. How do I know it was every day. Because the scripture says, And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.
They were joyful. Joyfulness is a deep-rooted, inspired happiness. It comes from deep inner contentment and satisfaction. Only God and knowing God can produce real joy. When we receive the Holy Spirit all the fruit of God is produced in us. Ephesians 5:22-23 gives us the list. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
They also had humble attitudes. It’s really important that we understand what humility and being humble really means. The Oxford English Dictionary says it is having a low estimate of one’s importance, worthiness, or merits. OK. Then Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary adds – not assertive, ranking low in a hierarchy, and insignificant. That is not at all what Luke was talking about. That’s definitely a worldly view of the humble person but, the Biblical view is quite different. In the Word, humbleness is about putting others first. Not just people but God, too. They absolutely loved to worship God.
Since many think worship only occurs one day a week and for many that means Sunday I want to ask how often you worship and if worship is a joyful time for you?
Ray and I used to travel to the Smokey Mountains every year during Spring Break. For many years we were often traveling on Easter Week. Since we choose not to drive the whole distance in one day we usually stop in Richmond, Kentucky on Saturday night and attend church on Sunday morning. Yes, worship is that important to us. We want to be with other Christians on Sunday. So for us, and for many of you, worship is as necessary as getting fresh milk and bread each week.
God’s plan also was to use the Sabbath to turn our hearts and minds toward Him. In other words, He wants us to set aside one day of the week as a special time of rest,worship, and reflection on His Word. After all, if we ignore God on that day when else are we likely to turn to Him? We get busy and preoccupied with daily living — and end up leaving God out of the picture. God’s plan is clear: “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Deuteronomy 5:12).
We are not to neglect fellowshipping with the Body of Christ. That’s the church, my friends. Does that mean you won’t go to heaven if you don’t go to church? No, but it does mean that we’ll miss the blessings of obedience to His Word and serving alongside other Believers.
Why are fewer people committed to going to church? I know you all know this, but we live in an ‘all-about-me’ society. Personal preferences are outweighing obedience to God’s Word. Theology has become Me-ology. Many worship services are more like a Broadway Show than a sincere focus on God. Comments like I don’t like the music… To many old hymns… Guitars and drums don’t make it… I don’t like the pastor’s preaching… It’s too long… I’m not comfortable… It makes me wonder if a sanctuary of recliners would bring more people in? No matter the issue – when things like this come between whether or not we’re going to church on Sunday we’ve definitely become “all about me” worshippers.
So what can we do about it? First of all, don’t just say it’s all about God – make it all about God.
Make worship a priority. Write it in your planner. No excuses. Commit to it!
Pray. Before attending, whether that is the night before or the morning of, pray that you will put God first. Ask Him to speak to you. Pray for others who will be attending. Just pray. Upon entering the church, perhaps while walking through the church parking lot, pray for those who are worshipping with you, pray for the unbelievers who will be attending. Pray that all distractions are removed so it can be totally about God. Pray that God will give your pastor the words you need to hear and that your heart and mind will be open to hearing them.
Go to church Sunday! If you have never attended a church, find one. If you’re saying I can’t go to church or I’m not a Believer or I don’t even know if they’d want me. Oh, yes, we want you! Join us!