The Failure Of Good-Hearted Churches
Sometimes Bible-believing people do a great job acting fervently and compassionately, but don’t spend a lot of energy studying and adhering to the systems and rules of Scripture. Likewise, there are many who work hard to get all of the rules right but seem to forget that God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Where should we set our priority?
Christians need to commit to doing things the right way.
Too many Bible stories hammer this point home. In the Old Testament, for example, King Jeroboam started a form of worship that made it easier for Jews who couldn’t travel to the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:25-33). While he tried to maintain the traditions established by God when he could, most of the old system was changed. God considered these changes a serious sin and cut him off (1 Kings 13:34).
Evil kings in Israel’s history would modernize worship, while the good kings restored it to the original systems. Hezekiah modeled this by returning the temple in Jerusalem to the center of worship, removing all priests except for the descendants of Levi, restoring animal sacrifices and changing the music worship back (1 Chronicles 29-30).
Even Jesus criticized Jews who did not care to get the old systems right. He rebuked the leaders who taught traditions that were not from the Bible (Mark 7:7-8). He criticized the Samaritans for neglecting the proper forms of worship (John 4:19-24). And He taught everyone who would listen that His way was the truth, and His Word was going to be the judge (John 12:48, 14:6).
Do not be fooled into thinking God does not care how we do things. Do not believe it when people tell you it’s not important to be so strict. God’s Word tells us differently. Every church and every person needs to find and adhere to the system He established for us (see 1 Corinthians 4:17).
God won't accept worship using the right methods absent of love and compassion.
If it was leaders in the Old Testament who focused on internal worship that brought Israel into sin. it was the leaders in Jesus' day who overemphasized external worship that devastated the Jewish people. This was the group that had Jesus crucified. The Lord had rebuked them for maintaining a proper external appearance but being full of robbery and self-indulgence on the inside (Matthew 23:25).
We are a church that places heavy emphasis on getting the form of worship right. We want to know exactly how Jesus prefers for us to partake of His supper; precisely how our music worship is to be conducted; and exactly when and how often we should assemble. We want to understand how we are to collect offerings from brethren and what we ought to spend it on. Please understand, God is pleased with this approach! He loved when the ancient righteous kings returned Israel to this thinking, and He worked to get New Testament churches thinking this way. But history has shown that it’s easy for folks like us to neglect the “weightier matters,” such as justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23).
God has no patience for people who refuse to get the methods of worship right and He will not accept praise that is merely external. Jesus said, “Those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). So if you’re ever looking for a church to attend, ask them about their form of worship. Ask them why they chose to worship in they way they do. If the answer is anything but, “Because it’s the way the Lord taught in the Bible,” then be concerned. And if you find one that is zealous for law, watch and observe how much worshiping God means to them in their hearts. See if they love each other. When both elements are there, you’ve found the people of God.