The Fun Church

Exodus 32:5-8The Message (MSG)

5 Aaron, taking in the situation, built an altar before the calf.

Aaron then announced, “Tomorrow is a feast day to God!”

6 Early the next morning, the people got up and offered Whole-Burnt-Offerings and brought Peace-Offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink and then began to party. It turned into a wild party!

7-8 God spoke to Moses, “Go! Get down there! Your people whom you brought up from the land of Egypt have fallen to pieces. In no time at all they’ve turned away from the way I commanded them: They made a molten calf and worshiped it. They’ve sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are the gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”....."Because there isn't enough joy in the house of the Lord, we need entertainment." Leonard Ravenhill....."The time will come in the Church when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, we will have clowns entertaining the goats." Charles Spurgeon

From time to time I will hear or read about various fellowships and so go to their websites to learn more about them. No matter how well done or visually appealing the site may be, the first thing I do is find out what they believe and what their values are. Two characteristics  are emerging more and more ; first, that their belief system is vague. There aren't a lot of specifics, especially as to how they view the authority of Scripture. Secondly, there seems to be a growing desire that the people who attend there should have a good time when they come. One site said, "We're a fun church. Church should be fun." This ties in with a church sign I once saw while traveling. It read, "We're a church for people who don't like church." These seem a growing attitude. Fun, good times, and good feelings. It reminds me of a time many years ago when, after my sermon, a man approached me, obviously unhappy with the message, "I come to church to feel good." Obviously,what he'd just heard, didn't make him feel good. Church for him on that day was "no fun."

Let me say that I am not advocating men wear black suits and wear constantly somber faces, or that women wear dresses to their ankles, have their hair in a bun, and nobody cracks a smile, ever. Indeed, I can honestly say that I have laughed more, cut up more, and enjoyed life more in these last 30 plus years in Him than I ever did in the world. But these have never flowed from an outward stimulus, but an inner joy that can only come from Him. And that joy comes from a hearing of His voice that is always calling me ever nearer and deeper in Him. A voice that also doesn't hesitate to point out to me anything within that is stifling His voice and hindering that call. In the above passage of Scripture from Exodus, while Moses ascended the mountain to God, the people remained on the plain, playing, partying, and having fun, and the symbol of all that was the golden calf they directed Aaron to build. The calf they worshiped. We are not dangerously close to worshiping the same; in too many cases, we already are.

I ask simply, where, in any of His call to His disciples, do we see Him call them to fun and good times? He instead directs them to leave all, deny self, and take up their cross to their own Calvary. I believe it was Chambers who said, "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." I know that church can so easily become just an exercise in religion, method, formula, and lifeless. No one who is after His heart would seek such a fellowship, but neither would they seek one that is skilled at stimulating the flesh but knows little or nothing about feeding the spirit. Such a heart wants to be where He is truly Present. When He is, it needs no roadside advertising. Oh, that we would seek to have His presence loosed in our midst, in our fellowships and lives.

Aaron, priest of the Lord, was never to have remained down in the plain with the people. He was to be at Moses side, ascending the mountain of the Lord. As His royal priesthood, where are we? Seeking to find out what it is the people want, or moving ever deeper into His heart and life, discovering more and more what He desires, both for His Church and for us? Temporary fun, or eternal joy. Which do we pursue? Which do we call people to? Fun church or His church? An amusement park, or that which displays His resurrected life? What do we really want to be a part of?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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