<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Untitled Document Entertainment or Worship?

The Bible declares that men are to worship God. God is seeking for such. "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23, 24). The primary aim and object of worship is to praise God. To honor Him for Who He is and to praise Him for His great grace. Further, the Bible teaches that when we assemble we receive blessings as well. "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25). We benefit by encouraging each other in the work of the Lord--we are to build each other up (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16).

In contrast to the Bible's teaching, many men today "worship" with self being the focus, not God. They ask, "What's in it for ME?" They say, "I am looking for a church that is suited to ME." Or, "I am searching for a church that meets MY needs." What this amounts to is finding a place, not where truth and righteousness are the foremost concern, but where the most prominent people attend, the most entertaining "show" is put on, or a "smooth" sermon is preached (cf. Romans 16:17-18).

We agree that man has needs that need to be met. He needs to hear the gospel of God's grace (Romans 10:17). He needs to know his sinfulness (Ephesians 2:1-3). He needs to know God's plan for saving man (Romans 1:16). He needs to know how to live right before God and his fellow man (2 Peter 1:3). This is the point and purpose of the church--spiritual matters. "If I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).

Unfortunately, there are many "churches" more than willing to cater to the carnal appetite of man. They strive to put on the biggest and best plays. They labor to assemble the best band. They offer classes on finances and weight loss. Their motto is, "If it will boost the numbers, DO IT!" What matters to you, entertainment or worship?

People will object, saying, "But, we need something to bring the people in. With these attractions we can 'reach' people who would not normally hear the gospel." Well, that is the way the devil thinks. He believed man needed worldly, carnal enticements to be lured into serving God. Remember Job? The devil thought he served God because of all his material, earthly blessings (Job 1:9-11). He was wrong! Job still honored God even though his blessings were taken away. Why? Because Job had the right heart, he was determined to serve God regardless. Today, do men need some type of carnal enticement to serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Is there something better or more profound than the pure gospel of the Son of God (Romans 1:16)? Is there something more motivating than the sacrifice of the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 34)? No, a thousand times NO!

Charles Spurgeon once wrote, "The fact is, that many would like to unite church and stage, cards and prayer, dancing and sacraments. If we are powerless to stem this torrent, we can at least warn men of its existence, and entreat them to keep out of it. When the old faith is gone, and enthusiasm for the gospel is extinct, it is no wonder that people seek something else in the way of delight. Lacking bread, they feed on ashes; rejecting the way of the Lord, they run greedily in the path of folly." Think about it. What matters to you, entertainment or worship?

by Steven F. Deaton

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