Confessions of a Church: Go to Church

The Psalm writer wrote:  Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received.   This is the word of God.  It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.  

Deuteronomy 16:1-9 Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. You shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where the Lord chooses to establish His name.  You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. For seven days no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory, and none of the flesh which you sacrifice on the evening of the first day shall remain overnight until morning. You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which the Lord your God is giving you; but at the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt. You shall cook and eat it in the place which the Lord your God chooses. In the morning you are to return to your tents. Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord your God; you shall do no work on it.

This is the Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.
“In the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name.” The Jews were commanded to celebrate the Passover only at the Tabernacle, and later the Temple at Jerusalem. The Temple was built on a mountain, meaning not only did the people have to travel a long distance on foot or by animal, they also had to go up, to ascend the hill of the Lord (cf. Psalm 15).

Can you imagine how inconvenient this was?
Can you see why so many of the Jews built “high places” of their own they could ascend to, minus the donkey ride and whining kids? Do you see how tempting and how reasonable committing this sin was to them? Sin often presents itself as reasonable, and God’s commands as an unreasonable burden. When we assume to ourselves the right to determine what is reasonable or unreasonable in offering God our worship, we trifle with sacred things and dishonor His Name.

Do you trifle with the things of God? Do you miss church for frivolous reasons? In the New Covenant, God’s Name is not tied to any special physical place or Temple, yet the New Testament does call the Church the pillar and ground of truth, the New Jerusalem, Our Mother from above. Here we ascend, and God meets us. How important is this to you and your family?

Maybe you are a good enough Pharisee that you know you should be at church, but when you’re here, you’re not here. Your mind is burdened by cares, or sins, or things of this world. While other worshipers ascend the hill of the Lord, you’re struggling to take just one step. You’re out of breath already. You resent others’ joy.

Friends, let’s repent today while it is still called today. If you are able, please kneel with me as we confess how we have failed to keep God’s Law.

Prayer of Confession
Heavenly Father,
We miserable offenders against your grace and mercy bow and confess that we have trifled with your Name and sacred things. Because of us, unbelievers blaspheme Your Name. (Romans 2:24) We forget You and return to the same old sins, or we think of our same old sins. In our conversations we joke and make light of holy things, or we wink at others who do. When friends or family take Your Name in vain, we think only of ourselves, and we don’t defend the honor of the God Who saved us. O Lord, open our lips, that our mouths will declare your praise. (Psalm 51:15) Give us the grace to turn and serve You with a full heart, by the precious blood of Jesus Christ Your Son, for it’s in His Name we pray, Amen.

Assurance of God's Pardon
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:  

Psalm 20:6-9 Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright. Save, O Lord; May the King answer us in the day we call.

To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!

(From the 07/03/2022 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Ben Carmack)