Shall We Got To The Mountains?

“Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem” (John 4:21 NIV).

On top of a mountain, a father spoke to his daughter and said, “This is as close to God as you can get.” To his credit, he acknowledged that God was “out there” and getting close to God was vital to us all. He also shared the faith he had with his daughter. He had stopped, however, attending the church services because of church problems. I preached his funeral. A few years ago I preached the funeral for a brother in the church who gave up on “church” because of the way the issues of the day were being argued. This is a tragic story that time has told again and again.

Whatever the “real” reasons, I have learned that some people give up for “better” reasons than others. Now that might sound strange coming from a preacher. What I mean is this. Worldliness, materialism, selfishness, immorality have gotten the best of members and they quit because they no longer care about spiritual things. On the other hand, some have quit because their hearts are sensitive to the wrongs “good” people do to others. “There is too much hypocrisy in the church” they say, and they are correct. They see worldliness, materialism, meanness, cruelty, backbiting, gossip and vindictiveness in the church. But even these reasons are not good enough to quit attending service.

Having said all that, let me share with you something I said at the funeral. I may have raised some eyebrows. In as kind a way as I knew how, I said, “I wish I could have known him, and been able to talk to him about his reasons for giving up searching for ‘a church’ where he could know they were serving God.” Did not Jesus say, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”? (John 13:35)

There are better reasons to continue worshiping and serving God through the church than quitting. In the first place, God ordained that we meet with fellow Christians to worship God together. The early Christians were warned not to forsake (abandon) the assembling of themselves together (Heb. 10:25).

Next, we discover that the church is not a man made institution, but a divine entity. Jesus said He would build it, and He did, with the purchase price of His blood (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28). Furthermore, Paul shows its ageless worth in that God has decreed to receive glory through it (Eph. 3:21).

Notice, also, how Paul emphasizes the importance of each member functioning in the body, the church: “from whom (Christ, rr) the whole body (church, rr) being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part (Christians, rr) causes the growth of the body (church, rr) for the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16).

How can this be accomplished if we all “go to the mountains”? If those who “go to the mountains” return to the church, and are as good as they think they are, there would be fewer going to the mountains!

Hymn: “O Worship The King”

Dear Father, You have made it clear in Your word how important our worship is to You. May we never neglect to show You how grateful we are and how worthy You are of our worship and daily service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rob Redden, Arroyo Grande, CA (