Summary: It’s about God not about us. It’s about recognizing God as Supreme, Holy, all Powerful and the source of our Salvation. That is the attitude we are to bring into this sanctuary on Sunday morning not what do you have for me today God.

The Church is not your Gas Station

Psalm 96

Matthew 22:15-22

Identifying what church means to a person can include all kinds of perspectives. You might hear things like, “a church is a community of believers.” Or you might hear “a church exists to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Or maybe “a church is a place where the faithful come to be fed each week so that they have enough nourishment to survive the other six days out in the world.”

Interestingly these are all perspectives from our point of view but not necessarily from God’s point of view.

So what is the church meant to be according to God’s perspective?

In our modern culture many of us including myself have come to think that the church was a place where we could get filled up after a week of being emptied by our constant battle with the sinful world we live in. Kind of like a spiritual gas station where we could go when our tank is near empty. This is a self-serving view of things to think that the church exists to serve us rather than us existing to serve the church.

We do live in a me generation of selfies and our own Facebook pages and Blog’s. A world where our personal opinion needs to be expressed immediately by Tweets and Texts so it can be appreciated by others. It really is a very self centered instead of other centered world.

Let’s go back to the beginning to get our Heavenly Father’s perspective on this subject.

The Ten Commandments Exodus 20:2-6

And God spoke all these words:

2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Our Heavenly Father chose for Himself a unique and peculiar people to be His people, His chosen ones – The Hebrews – Israel. Through this one nation God would use them as a living illustration for all the other nations of the world.

In the same manner Jesus chose for Himself a unique and peculiar people from all the nations of the world to become the church “Ecclesia” the Called Out Ones”. The Love of Christ has “Called us Out” of the World of Sin to His Holiness.

God is a jealous God. He does not want our attention, devotion, service, love or worship directed at any other thing or god that we might replace Him with.

The Hebrews understood this early after they had made a golden calf while waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments. Many lost their lives that day because of the sin of Idolatry.

So first and foremost our church is about worshiping the Living God and not about the things we might decorate our church with. That is one of the reasons Protestant churches are relatively plain. This year marks the 500th year of the Reformation when we split away from the Roman Catholic Church.

Some of the people who split away did so in extreme ways by destroying statues and paintings and even stained glass windows as well as altars and other objects that were seen as barriers to a purer setting for worship.

Slowly some of those things have worked their way back into our modern churches. Some might argue that our modern church stages for the big worship teams can even detract instead of attract us to a purer kind of worship.

Psalm 96 helps give us context to what worshiping God is all about.

It’s about God not about us. It’s about recognizing God as Supreme, Holy, all Powerful and the source of our Salvation. That is the attitude we are to bring into this sanctuary on Sunday morning not what do you have for me today God.

Look at Psalm 96 verse’s 4-6.

“For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;

he is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,

but the LORD made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before him;

strength and glory are in his sanctuary.”

Our God is MOST worthy to be PRAISED and FEARED.

It should be clear why our Heavenly Father is to be Praised. He is the one who has Saved us by His Great Love for us in allowing His Son – Jesus to die for our sins. John 3:16-17.

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