Summary: A sermon about the importance of doing what we are supposed to be doing.
“What Does It Mean to be the Church of Jesus?”
Recently I read an article in Christianity Today entitled “Boring Church Services Changed My Life.”
The author writes that there was never a day in his life when he wasn’t going to church.
His parents were both heavily involved in the church.
He writes that he believes more than ever that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is what saves you…
…but he adds, “I also believe that in some ways church does—or did—save me.
It didn’t save me in the ways you might expect: a spectacular Sunday service, a homerun sermon, or a gripping worship set.
God’s primary tool to transform my heart was not the conference speaker or the travelling revivalist or the worship concert.
Those events were important, but now I realize that, more often, God changed my life using routine worship services in which I sang hymns I didn’t quite understand and heard messages I didn’t quite grasp.
Now, in dark and stormy seasons, what comes into my head first?
The lines of hymns I learned as a child in church.
The verses I memorized on Wednesday nights.
The passages of Scripture we stood and read aloud.
During times of fear and anxiety, I drift back those words of hope.”
Now, the author is a pastor himself and he finishes the article by writing: “When I think back on the simple routines—the liturgies—that changed my life, I’m encouraged in my own pastoral role.
I’m reminded afresh that the work of ministry is not so much about finding new, tantalizing ways to make people excited about Jesus, but about the timeless rituals that shape their hearts.
Because somewhere in your congregation are children singing words they don’t know, listening to Scripture they don’t understand, and fighting sleep during a sermon that doesn’t hold their interest.
They don’t realize it yet, but the Spirit of God is pressing the gospel message, through yet another “boring” church service, deep within their hearts.”
Does that not convict your heart to get out there and try and get as many troubled kids in church as possible?
How many children live in the homes surrounding this church, and are in bed or watching television or looking at their phones right this minute?
How many of them are not even aware of what goes on in a church?
How many do not know that Jesus loves them; there is a God; they are of sacred worth, and there are people who care about them?
There are tons of them, I’m afraid.
What can we do to bring them in, if not their parents, at least them?
I think this is our only hope, and their only hope as well.
If Nicholas Cruz or Adam Lanza or Dylan Klebod or any number of the other kids who have shot up our schools over the past two decades had been brought up in a loving church, how many children would be alive today?
Now I’m not trying to say that churches are perfect.
They are not.
Churches hurt people.
Churches have a lot of problems.
After-all, churches are made up of people.
That’s why the Church of Jesus Christ needs to be honest and sincere in its quest to find out what it means to TRULY BE the Church of Jesus.
I love the church.
And Jesus loved the Temple.
And He refused to allow the Temple to be anything other than a place where people find God.
When Jesus entered the Temple in our Gospel Lesson for this morning He found very little in the way of love for God and neighbor.
Instead, it looked and sounded like an open-air market.
The cattle were mooing, the sheep were bleating, the turtledoves were cooing, people were yelling, and coins were clanging.
These things had to happen in order for the Temple to function, but it had become almost entirely corrupt.
The Temple Tax had to be paid in Temple coinage, so money changers were a necessary part of what was happening.
Problem was, they were not giving people a fair exchange—they were ripping people off.
Also, the people coming to the Temple either brought their own animals for the sacrifice or they could buy an animal from the Temple.
God had set this system up in order to aide those who traveled a long distance.
It wasn’t supposed to be about making money.
In any event, what had happened was that since sacrificial animals had to be without blemish…
…even if folks had bought animals outside the Temple and brought them in—the animals had to pass inspection.
Due to the corrupt system, hardly any animals passed.
So, just about everyone had to buy an animal from the Temple at outrageous prices.
The Temple had become corrupt.