We have said that God wants to do a new thing. But does He want to abandon everything that has gone before? Does He want to do something so bizarre just to prove that it is new? Probably not! Satan is the one who likes the bizarre; along with, perhaps, some self-appointed apostles.
Thus says the LORD,
“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ ” Jeremiah 6:16
Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. He preached in the synagogue of His home town, using the appointed scriptures of the day (lectionary). He did not say the service was all wrong. But He did speak prophetically. He attempted to explain the Word that was read. He was God present in the forerunner of His Church. They did not want Him or what He had to say. They already had it together.
The worship service is honoring and worshiping God. It is also about evangelism. It is meant to strengthen the faithful, but also to reach out to the lost. It is about discipleship in the kingdom of heaven.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:47-52
The old ways are not to be abandoned necessarily. That which is tried and found true should be embraced. What the Lord Jesus wants to do is breath new life into the established Godly foundation of the Church. He is the cornerstone of the foundation. Everything must be aligned with Him. We are not the cornerstone. Our programs are no substitute for His presence in the Church. Yet, our programs and methods, to which we cling so tightly, are taking His place.
What happens is that we try to duplicate past revivals. We try to copy certain worship services in the past that seemed to be anointed. But just as a vitamin pill is designed to offer the some of the same nourishment as real food, something is missing. We do not know enough to know exactly just what that is!
God does not duplicate. He creates. He is a full nourishment God. Let us let Jesus be free to be head of His Church. What could we lose? He certainly won’t do any worse, but the pharisees thought that he would. Are we the pharisees of our day? Spirit-filled pharisees?
This is what is going to happen. You are no longer going to major on the minors. You are not going to worry about the quality of the entertainment. You are going to allow time for worship to get into God’s presence. God may come with a still small voice at first. You are going to avoid always saying: “Let us give a loud handclap for the Lord” — when you know it is not for Him anyway. Get real and get humble before Him. Take time to honor Him in prayer and true worship. And do not preach your sermon. Preach a prophetic word that God has given you through prayer and fasting. Then, before any altar call ask Jesus to take over entirely. Be the first yourself to knell before that altar. Set an example.
What if Jesus does not show up? He said He would. “Wherever two or three or joined together in my name I will be in the midst of them.” Why not close the service with Holy Communion? He has promised to be present to us as we partake of His body and blood. The communion takes too long? No! What takes too long is the long self-aggrandizing sermon. But is takes preparation. We need prayer time to get things right beforehand. Yes, that is what revival is about.
How will the people know that Jesus showed up. They may be healed without a word from the pastor. There may be weeping and true repentance. There may not be any bizarre signs and wonders. If they do show up someone may need prayer for deliverance. Discernment is key. But first pray for discernment for yourself well ahead of the service. Do not fall in love with signs and wonders. Remember, Jesus is our first love.
Imagine the little child in the picture above is your church. Wouldn’t you prefer that Jesus conduct your worship and all other matters? He will direct you, pastor. Practice listening to Him.
May God bless this teaching and may Jesus take over your church. Amen.