Psalm 26:4 I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites;
Over the years, I’ve heard some people say, “I don’t go to church. It’s full of hypocrites.” My usual answer to that is: “Don’t worry. There’s always room for one more.”
There’s also no such thing as a perfect church on Earth because congregations are made up of imperfect people. We go to church because we know that. We seek the Perfect One in our lives. We know that only Christ is sinless and unhypocritical. We understand that we fail each day to live up to the demands our faith. We don’t go to church because we are spiritually holy; we go to church because we find the Holy Spirit there.
I’m amazed sometimes at people who publicly talk about God in their lives, but who never seem to get around to going to church on Sunday. I don’t get it, nor do I understand it. If God is so important to them, then why isn’t church on their timetable? Do they honestly believe that church is an option to their faith?
If they take time to read their Bibles, they would discover that church-going and being a Christian go hand in hand. From the earliest times of our faith, Christians would gather together on the first day of the week (Sunday) to worship, sing hymns, hear the Gospel, and share communion. They did it in defiance of the authorities, and in the knowledge that they could be arrested, persecuted, and even executed for such a simple gathering of faithful people. In the 17th century, the Scottish Covenanters experienced the same thing, and in today’s China, Sunday Church groups meet together knowing that the police could break up their services at any time.
The church is full of hypocrites, but at least it’s full of people who prioritize their collective worship of God, especially on a Sunday morning. As for those other hypocrites who always talk about God but never get around to actually worshiping Christ on Sundays, we’ll leave the door open. After all, there’s room at worship for them, too.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, each week on the Sabbath Day, You were to be found in a local synagogue. Even though You are the closest being to God, You never treated worship lightly. Even Your first followers, who began worshiping on Sundays to recognize Your Resurrection, never stopped going to church, even though they were hunted down and persecuted, tortured and executed for defying the authorities. Help us hypocrites to find room at church on Sunday mornings. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.