Oh, how far we have fallen! Today folks seat comfortably to listen to… the preacher (the man of God) … the star of the service. But it was not so for the primitive church. First Corinthians 14:26 lets us look into the living rooms of the structure of the churches during the days of the original apostles:
“What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” (NIV)
See, such participation is only possible when people have a relationship with God through prayer and the study of God’s Word. Very difficult to implement this when folks live their lives pretending to be believers. In other words, you can’t give what you don’t have.
Sadly, the institutionalized church has been guilty of accommodating such an anemic relationship with God and, not only that, such an anemic moral compass. When we live our lives as if we don’t need God, going on our business without Him, and, having very little restraint and discipline under the umbrella of “God’s love and grace”, is very difficult, about impossible, to verbalize much about Him. However, if the conversation is focused on, the latest gossip in Hollywood, for some it may be politics, it may be sports, etc. the same folks that can’t be verbalized much as it relates to God, will not be able to stay quiet for long. Words will flow out of their mouth like a flood. Why? Because we speak out of the things that are in our hearts (Luke 6:45); in other words, we speak about the things that are important to us.
We may say we are Christians but, are we? Without a prayer life and discipline in the study of God’s Word, how can we say we love God? The structure of the institutionalized church has facilitated that we delegate such participation to “the man of God.” Under this structure we kill two birds with one stone, 1) the preacher feels very special, and 2) we get to play church; we get to have a form of godliness. It is a perfect system for the development of carnal Christians and/or for nonbelievers who live their lives according to their opinions and, what feels good, to keep clear from the demands of the Word of God. Check!
God… help us!