Audience or Congregation?


If you took a roving camera and microphone around the streets with you, asking questions about church and worship, you would get lots of varied ideas from people. ‘They ought to jazz up the service a bit’, some would say. ‘They are so dull, most parsons want a bomb under them’. ‘I prefer to stay at home and watch television’.

Well, different people would tell you how worship strikes them and in most cases people would be making a mistake. They think that worship is there to please them, as if they were an audience. ‘I’ll come and hear you one day’, some say to me.

Well, the big difference between an audience and a congregation is that in a congregation everyone is on stage. There’s only one in the audience, and that is God. Worship is for God alone – and it’s what suits Him that matters, not what pleases us.

God doesn’t say anywhere that you must worship this particular way, or that way, but it has to be sincere: ‘In spirit and in truth’. Of course it must produce lives that are obedient to Him.

A prophet living 580 years before Christ was told to say this to his people: ‘They come and sit before you to hear what you say, they show much love with their lips but their heart is set on self-gain. You are like one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on the instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it’.

Now that is the difference between an audience and a congregation. Going to church to be entertained is always to fail. To go and worship is to succeed.

Now read: Ezekiel 33. 30 – 33. 15

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