—1 Chronicles 22:19 (NASB)
In an age when the largest religious movement purports to know the “purpose” of church and how it should operate, I never cease to be amazed at how many related teachings are found within the Word of God itself without the need for someone else’s paperback. Having read most of the Purpose Driven materials and related church growth movement’s proposals, it saddens to see so much emphasis on getting bodies into a building when God’s measure of success is the number of hearts and souls.
Old Testament lessons are often legitimate lessons for the New Testament church. Although New Testament believers are themselves the temple now, they both have the same goals. They are both to be “the sanctuary of the Lord“, a place immune from the world’s ways, not incorporating them. They are both to be centered around the Word of God, And the people and things assembled to worship and serve Him are to be “holy” — set apart and living exclusively according to His Word and ways alone. This is the only kind of assemblage worthy “to be built for the name of the Lord“.
The very fact that so many churches today are trying to make their services look and feel like slick television productions is a testimony to how far they have strayed. Once upon a time churches looked different from all other buildings, people attending them visibly acted different from all other people, and no one would ever mistake the goings on with something worldly. Our parents and grandparents knew what it meant to be “in” the world but no “of” the world.
You don’t need stained glass windows, an organ and a choir to be different — those are just “things”, too. The real difference is when God’s people decide to seek God from their heart and soul. Such a goal almost forces His Word to be the centerpiece of worship and it certainly puts one on the path in the direction of holiness regardless of what music or venue one chooses to meet in. Everything would change in an instant if believers changed the priority of their hearts.
—Colossians 3:2 (NASB)