Back in June, I wrote an article for iLevite.com called “Blog Post Sermons And Arena Worship” where I argued that many churches seem to have lost sight of what theme should be preeminent in our worship services. We should always strive for excellence in everything we do, and it should always stem from our love and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ and not from a sense of duty or earning favor with Him, but our primary focus must remain on the Word of God. We must proclaim the message of the Gospel within the context of Scripture as a whole.
The article brought a good cross-section of responses, both positive and negative, which is never a bad thing! The Christian Faith is a Faith that is meant to be pondered and people should take the time to work through all of its tenets, even those that are difficult. That is why it is imperative to preach and teach the Word of God in the fullest detail when we gather together as the Body of Christ.
Each day, we should remind ourselves that it is the Gospel that has transformed our lives. Easter Sunday, I had the privilege to offer special music for the church my father founded in 1963, North Flushing Baptist Church in Flushing, MI. The pastor, Dale Lewis is a life-long friend and faithful servant to the church. When we had lunch on Saturday, Dale shared what was on his heart to preach the next morning and I was amazed at how God orchestrated such a meaningful service.
For his text he chose Romans 3:20-26:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
In this text we find the core doctrine of salvation and the need for it. In chapter 1 of Romans, Paul clearly lays out the case of God's righteousness and of His holy wrath against those who transgress against His holiness. As the Infinite Holy God, any transgression against His Holiness, no matter how small we perceive it, must incur an infinite judgment. Since we are incapable of satisfying the Holiness of God through our own works, God Himself became the sacrifice to redeem His chosen as His own.
But in that last verse is a challenging concept. Christ is both the Just and the Justifier. How can this be? In Proverbs 17:15, Solomon wrote, “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” Essentially, Christ made Himself an abomination in the sight of God the Father in order to reconcile His fallen creation. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21 wrote, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
This is the message that should permeate every worship service we plan. We must remember that the Gospel is not just for the unsaved. It is for us as well. We must also remember that building a church for the Kingdom of God is not a “numbers game.” Just because a church may have thousands upon thousands in attendance does not mean that it is a blessing from the Lord. Without the Gospel, it is merely church for goats.