Monday, May 18, 2009

Are you Shallow?

Jesus Got mad at the Temple leaders, a precursor to the Church! Would He be mad at your church? Would He call you shallow?

During the Passover, Jesus and His Disciples went to Jerusalem to celebrate and visit the Temple. Jesus saw shame and deception in the Temple as merchants were selling the wares for worship—even the animals needed for the sacrifice. This was an abomination. Jesus got mad and justly so; He fashioned a whip out of some rope and chased the deceptive merchants and their animals out of the Temple area. He overturned the tables and proclaimed, get these things out of here because you turned my Father's House into a den of thieves and trade. Later, His Disciples remembered the prophecy from Scripture that, “passion for God's house consumes me.”

Jesus was purifying the Temple as the Levites had been called to do but had forsaken their call. Jesus' just anger was also a demonstration for the love and zeal to God and His Holy Place. God is just in His anger against sin and unrighteousness as well as deception and profiteering in worship rather than worshiping the One True Holy God. A warning here that God's judgment often begins in His own house, His Church (Mal. 3:1-4; 1 Pet .4:17).

Why? We have to remember the Holiness of God and respect and reverence Him, especially in His House. Here, Jesus was forceful but not cruel. What we may rationalize as a convenience can be a detriment and an abuse to true God-honoring worship (Zach. 14:20-21)!

The challenge for us here is what is our true priority in how we do our church?

Where is our focus, rationale, and purpose?

Is it about God's glory or ours? Is it about what we want or what He requires?

The purpose of the Church is to proclaim and worship who and what Christ has done for us. It is all about His glory and the production of His work through us. The Church exists for us to be in Christ our Lord, to be His people, His hands and feet. Don't wait for the whip; get on your knees now and turn your heart and your church to Christ and His purpose for it (Mal. 3:1-6; Rom. 12:4-8; Eph. 1:21-23; 3:10; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:15-23)!

Why do we do this? One of the deficiencies and fickleness of character that humans have is the propensity of being shallow. We like a charismatic speaker over being told the truth, a flashy dresser over something practical, and a celebrity over an intellectual or even a friend. We want a religion that does not convict or teach because we want to indulge ourselves with what we want and to feel good. We want our ears tickled and our problems solved; we want to feel good but we do not want to grow in faith or learn from adversity. We want comfort and not have to bother with the time and work that true spiritual formation takes. Jesus walked away from and condescended to these people who were flocking to Him. The question we must ask, is how shallow am I? Where do I need conviction; in what areas do I need to grow? And then, we need to get up and follow Him who comforts and assists us to do it.

Questions to ponder

How do you prepare for worship?

Why do we need to prepare?

What happens when we do not?

How does bad or misdirected worship demean and dishonor God?

What are the things we tend to do wrong?

What can you, your church, and your leadership do to do it right?

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