I was despaired watching an episode of the Tim Allen comedy Last Man Standing. This particular episode dealt with the church they attended and how the attendance was falling off because the services weren’t entertaining enough.
It is sad indeed that people feel church is a place to be entertained. I often hear things like “I go to this church because they have a great band,” or “the preacher there is really entertaining.” Somewhere along the way people have decided our purpose for going to church is to be entertained. But what does the Bible say our purpose should be?
Nowhere in the Bible does it state that our worship should be “entertainment.” Isaiah 43:7 tells us we are all created for God’s glory. Further along in verse 21 God says He creates us for the expressed purpose of proclaiming Him to the world. We are told in Philippians 2:12 to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. In James 6:10 the Scriptures say to “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and Colossians 3:2 instructs us to set our minds on things above and not on the things of this earth. Do those sound like attitudes of entertainment?
Consider that the Bible constantly reiterates the ideals of piety, humbleness, reverence and fear when it speaks of our worship of God. To seek to be entertained in worship is nowhere to be found in the Bible and is a contrivance of the mind of man, which is by definition the exact opposite of piety and humbleness.
In our worship to God we are instructed first to meet together to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25) by reading the Scriptures and teaching (preaching) God’s word (I Timothy 4:13), to pray (I Corinthians 14:15-17), sing songs of praise and thankfulness (Colossians 3:16), and to observe the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (I Corinthians 11:28).
Inevitably a conversation on worship comes around to the subject of instrumental worship. I’ve written on this subject before (click here to read my blog entry on instrumental music) and feel even more ardently that God does not want us to use mechanical instruments in our worship to Him and I urge you to read my blog post to understand why. I won’t rehash those points over again here but I will offer up the following additional thoughts to consider.
God is a spiritual being. He is not constrained by a mortal body. The Bible references time and time again his spiritual nature and he constantly tells us our worship is to be in spirit and in truth. When we worship God it should be in Spirit as John tells us in John 4:23-24:
”But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Since singing is part of our worship to God it is to be done in Spirit, not with talent and skills as is necessary for those who play an instrument. If that were so He would have excluded a great many from the opportunity to worship Him. It is through our voices that God has chosen for us to worship Him so that ALL might sing in worship. But it does not stop there. Since God is spirit he desires our songs be sung in Spirit. We are to use our hearts, our spirit, to sing to God. When we sing and just mouth the words without considering their meaning he cannot hear our voices. We must understand and feel the words we are singing. Any less or any more is vanity and unacceptable worship.
As I sat and watched the episode of Last Man Standing the story resolved the issue of the worship service not being “exciting.” Their answer to the problem was spot on. Tim Allen’s character concluded that the main problem was the lack of the congregation to invest itself in the worship. They didn’t get anything out of the lesson or the worship because they weren’t putting anything in to it.
If we are not singing in spirit, if we are not praying in spirit, partaking of the Lord’s Supper in spirit and listening to the sermon in spirit (by following and paying attention) then we are not investing in the worship and will come away unfulfilled. It is our duty to God and our joy to worship Him in a way that pleases Him.