by Pastor Lee Hemen
March 24. 2008
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:7-14)
Yesterday I learned that a local church is going to have worship services in a tavern. Of course they will suspend drinking while the preaching is going on! (How nice.) The pastor cites the age-old argument that Paul tells us to “be all things to all people,” yadda yadda yadda. This pastor has not only sold his congregation a bill of “spiritual” goods, he is theologically unsound if he truly believes this is actually a sound biblical argument. Why? How do unsaved people “worship” God? They cannot possibly do so. Spiritually degenerate people do not understand spiritual things. Even if there were those who had accepted Christ, and yet fallen into alcoholism, they are still immature babes at best and do not understand deeper spiritual truths. In a haze of booze how can one? Instead, you are giving the ungodly a sense of false hope by acquiescing to their ungodliness.
We find Jesus praying in the garden before His death on the cross offering “up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.” Why would the Son of God have to go through this and why would He have to pray like this? The answer is that “he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him!” This is what the pastor above has lost sight of in his rush to be the latest headline in the local newspaper.
Spiritual obedience has to be learned, but first you have to know the One to whom you are praying to. Bringing something sacred into a tavern may make the patrons feel good about themselves for a time, but many will go away just as lost as before. In fact, they will be worse off because they will think that they can continue in the lifestyle they are accustomed to and can acquiesce the holy for the profane. Witnessing is one thing, worship quite another. Christians are to go into all places to witness, but they are not to take their worship and cast it before swine and make it fodder for the foolish. You may say, “Pastor, can’t the unsaved be won to Christ in a tavern, and should we not go there to witness to them?” The answer to these is ,”Yes!” The unsaved can be won in a tavern and Christians should go into the world to witness, but we are not ever to take our corporate worship of God to the ungodly and make it their own.
Milk is given to those who are in spiritual darkness so they can make a decision as to whether God has chosen them or not. To keep people on a diet of spiritual milk is to eternally slaughter them. This pastor needs to remember that “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Worship is done in “spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23). These are the kind of worshipers God seeks. The church today has been sold a bill of goods by hucksters of the gospel message. Worship is to bring adoration to God and His Son Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not to be done for our entertainment, enjoyment, or pleasure. It should never be used as a witnessing “tool” as many churches in our day and age have done. By doing so we have allowed Christians to become spiritually ungodly lazy louts in that they hire people to make them feel worshipful and their worship has become the “witness” they are supposed to be! Worship has “become all things to all people” instead of a sacred expression between God’s people and their Lord where they meet Holy God in spiritual commonality with one another. The call to worship has become: “Hurry, hurry, hurry step right up and see for yourself the greatest ‘spiritual’ show on earth! Soon coming to a barroom near you!”
Never forget that Paul related, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14) “preaching” in this context meant the proclamation of the gospel as in personal witnessing and not preaching as in a sermon. So, how can the unsaved call on Jesus whom “they have not believed in” or “believe in the one of whom they have not heard” if Christians have not done their job of witnessing? Believers are to be the “body of Christ” in the world. How then can the cancer of the unsaved be allowed to claim to be an artificial grafted on limb of that holy body of believers when they themselves do not believe? This is why many churches are better described as Frankenstein monsters rather than the body of Christ! This is also why Paul related, “‘Everything is permissible’–but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’–but not everything is constructive.” (1 Corinthians 10:23) And, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Today, dear fellow Christian, how do you worship? In a town tavern seeking to be served in your drunken stupor or in a church garden made holy by the presence of the body of Christ of fellow believers in humility and obedience? Are you still a babe being fed spiritual milk after all this time in the Lord? Oh, I pray not.
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.