Let's Do It!
"And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:27 – 28)
Earlier in my Christian walk, I had the opportunity of attending lots of churches. From my experience, churches have different ways of running their services. Some emphasize different aspects of worship while down playing others. But one thing that is a common denominator is the place of prayer and sharing of God's word.
Some churches are more formal in their conduct of services. They have hymn books, they read scripture passages and engage in solemn prayers. Sermons are delivered in a quiet atmosphere mostly by soft spoken preachers. In the protestant churches however, the scenario is different. There is no place for quiet, formal worship. It is excitement, shouts and jubilation from the beginning of the service to the end. Even during sermons, some preachers want to get feedback through shouts and loud responses from the congregation.
One is tempted to wonder, "which one is right?" This article is not an attempt to answer that question but rather to help us understand from scripture what our emphasis should be in our worship of God.
In the scripture quoted above, Jesus had just responded to the accusation of the Pharisees that he was casting out devils in the name of Beelzebub (Luke 11:15) Jesus, who is the embodiment of wisdom, not only gave a good response but shamed the Pharisees with his superior argument for which they had no response.
A woman who was in the gathering listening to Jesus was so excited that she cried out, 'Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you have sucked!' She was so moved by the clear and unambiguous way Jesus presented the word to the shame of his accusers that she had to remark that his mother is blessed!
Now Jesus did not deny the fact that Mary, his earthly mother was blessed, after all, when Mary paid a visit to Elizabeth, she proclaimed, '…all generations shall call me blessed' (Luke 1:48). While agreeing with her, Jesus adds, '…but the people who are really blessed are those who hear and obey God's message!'.
The danger facing the church today is that we are focusing more on the physical and visible aspects of worship to the detriment of the more discrete and practical Christian living. Jesus is saying, 'yes that is good but the emphasis should be on the unseen' In other words, the ultimate act of worship is obedience!
When Abraham obeyed God's call to leave his family, scripture didn't tell us any other person was there. He didn't hold a press conference to outline his movement plan. He simply obeyed. Moses was called in an unusual manner. No one was there when God instructed him and there was no discussion with anyone before he obeyed.
Jesus Christ, our ultimate example obeyed His Father's call for a Saviour for mankind. The things He did on earth were according to the Father's will. He didn't have to ask anyone's permission neither did He apologise for His action. He simply walked in obedience to the Father's will.
Which brings us back to our question, "What mode of service is right? Is it the quiet and formal mode or the informal mode filled with excitement and show of emotions? " I believe scripture has a place for both. There were times when Jesus preached interactively and there were times when he preached and others listened quietly.
It is not enough to jump up and holler in excitement at the words of a preacher. It is not also enough for us to sit quietly in church and follow the routine; singing hymns, saying prayers and hearing the preacher speak.
If the words do not sink into our hearts, we can't do it and when we don't do the word, all our excitement is in vain.
The bottom line, 'Don't just listen, do it!' Only when we 'do' the word can we truly worship God in spirit and truth.
'God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth' John 4:24
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the webmaster of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org . British by birth, He currently resides in Lagos , Nigeria with wife Maris and their children; Praise, Stephanie and Precious. He works as an IT professional in a bank. Formerly an active singer, he still sings occasionally and speaks at invited forums. He presently serves as Church Secretary and Sunday School teacher in his local church. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, steve@biblepraise. org