The Ultimate Repo Man

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I was reading the story of how Jesus drove out the money changers and overturned their tables in the Temple in Luke 19. Jesus was obviously deeply disturbed and this is the only record of him ever reacting in this manner before or after this event. I think it would be safe to surmise that it would be wise for us to look closely at this story and ensure that we never become guilty of what these people had done. Jesus makes this statement in verse 46: "My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers." I wonder what Jesus would say if He entered the doors of a modern day Church on any given Sunday.

The first two words speak more than a thousand ever could - "My house." We must never forget that the Church is His, not ours. Is the Church of today really something that God would call His house? I wonder. It seems that the majority of the Church's time, energy and effort is spent on pleasing people and very little effort is spent on ensuring that God is pleased with it. We are more concerned with what people think when they walk through our doors but give little thought to what God would think if He would dare show up in the middle of our worship services. When did we stop making Him our guest of honor? Our focus is to capture the attention of the people by carefully choreographed worship, expertly articulated sermons and state-of-the-art facilities. But what is missing? After the crowd goes home, the lights are turned off and the security system is set we have failed to spend any of our effort in capturing the attention of the owner of the house. Once again we have turned "His House." into "Our House."

Jesus' last nine words in this verse should send chills down our spine - "But you have made it a den of robbers." Pretty harsh words. The word Jesus used actually meant plunderers. To plunder means "to steal by fraudulent means." I think a more accurate translation would be "but you have made it a counterfeit." God gets very angry when man creates his own version of His house and tries to pass it off as authentic. He is very careful that His name be used only for what He creates. If it is not truly His house then it is a counterfeit and robs people.

Several years ago I was leading our worship team in prayer before our worship service started and I began to pray something that I'm sure thousands of worship leaders and pastors pray every Sunday - "Lord, we pray that you would anoint our service today." Except on this day the Holy Spirit stopped me dead in my tracks and said, "Stop asking me to anoint your agenda. Follow my agenda and you won't ever have to ask for my anointing." What if we changed our approach in how we prepare a worship service or a sermon for Sunday by spending time in prayer, waiting on God for direction and letting Him literally lay out to us what it is He wants us to do and say? What if we agreed that we would relinquish all control over how our services looked and how they were conducted and let Him be the sole person who decides that, even if people weren't comfortable? I would much rather have a handful of people upset with how I led a worship service or preached a sermon than have God upset because I did it my way. But you see, that is where we go wrong. We are more afraid of what people might think than we are of what God thinks! It's time to give God his house back before He decides to repossess it.

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