Summary: This message answers he question, why go to church?
July 19, 2015
Why Go to Church?
Opening Words: William Temple once said, “Worship is quickening the conscience by the holiness of God, feeding the mind with the truth of God, purging the imagination by the beauty of God, opening the heart to the love of God, and devoting the will to the purpose of God.“ I hope you remember that quote, because it acts as perfect background for this evening’s text.
We are instructed today from the Old Testament. We are in the book of Isaiah. The name Isaiah means “The Lord Saves.” He began his ministry about the year 740 B.C., which makes him a contemporary of Amos, Hosea and Micah. He lived in politically stormy times. The Assyrian Empire was expanding; Israel was declining. Maybe that is why the people are hungry for God. The major themes of this book are judgment and salvation. Our scripture reading is Isaiah 6:1-8. Let me call this message Why Go to Church?
Isaiah 6:1-8 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
I love this story. One Sunday morning King Louis XIV of France, who held the throne in the 17th century, went to church with his attendants. When they arrived they discovered they were the only ones present. He looked at the court preacher, Francois Fenelon, and asked, “What does this mean?” Fenelon replied, "I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who simply wants to flatter the king." How many people do you know who go to church for the wrong reason? How many people do you know who don’t go to church at all?
The statistics really are shocking. The church is becoming less influential all the time. Consider these facts with me:
*In 1924, fifty percent of all mothers wished their children would develop a loyalty to a local church. Today, only 22% of mothers long for their children to be loyal to a local church.