“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
1 Peter 2:11-25 ESV
Church has been different for many people lately. For some, church online has always been normal. For many, irregular attendance due to life’s chaotic circumstances were to be expected. For some, government regulations in other countries have always been a barrier to attending worship services. But what has God taught us about Church in His word?
A holy day was established at creation on the seventh day of rest and was enacted in God Himself. It was given to us in the ten commandments and then confirmed in the New Testament. It is not a day for ourselves but a day for His honor and glory. It is for us to worship Him, commune in rest with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to be nourished by His word and the sacraments. It is a day to gather together and to set apart... A day to make our highest priority. Some people don’t care for these things and that’s alright. Some Christians now days set other examples but people are not our role models. We have the word of God to teach, rebuke, correct, and train us in righteousness. We are the Church and the Church is Gods, not ours. We are His people the sheep of His pasture. Church is Gods people leaving the world and coming to worship and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior. Church is not our means of evangelism. Church is not a place to fill empty seats with unsaved souls. “…make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean,” Leviticus 10:10.
From the first ‘tent of meeting’ established by God to the first churches in the New Testement, our Lord called His people out of the world for the purpose of worship, sacrifice, and fellowship. We then go into the world proclaiming the gospel to the lost. We know, however. that in all congregations there will be some who visit or who regularly attend who have not been saved and we all are sensitive to them but we don’t change our worship according to the lost. Rather, we worship according to the Lord.
The closest thing we have to heaven on earth is Church. What a joy to praise our King together. Let’s remember our salvation and remember that we are only His church because He is in us. We return to our Lord in service and praise only by His grace. We must never neglect the God who saved us. Fight the sin which keeps you from giving Him all glory and honor and power forever and ever Amen.
“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
Genesis 2:2-3 ESV
“And the Lord said to Moses, "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, 'Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'"”
Exodus 31:12-17 ESV
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,”
Hebrews 10:24-26 ESV
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Colossians 3:14-16 ESV
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
Hebrews 13:15-16 ESV
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