Over the years I’ve been preaching I have noticed, of late, a sad turn in the way people dress and act in church. So I thought I would try to help remind folks of where they are when they’re in church.
I believe the local church is the vehicle through which God deals with His people via preaching. No, I don’t believe Jesus was a Baptist and started a Baptist church. (Save your ink & my time. Don’t write.) Also, only a power-crazed blindman would try to pretend that God has never used any other organization here and there. But, the local church is the one He put here to grow His people through preaching. The main purpose is to edify the saints, not win souls. The people go and win souls after they’ve been taught & directed by their church. No, I didn’t say no one can, or is allowed, to get saved in church. In fact, “Soul Winning Sunday” is a great way to bring in new people. But, the predominant purpose for the church is to edify the saints. If you disagree just rip Eph 4:11-13 out of the Bible and pretend the purpose of the church is whatever you want it to be!
Here are some tips for your church attendance:
Be there! Be in church when the doors are open. Don’t just do your “religious duty” of showing up for Sunday morning service. Say what you want, you skip the other services because you’re having a love-affair with yourself. You have no intention of missing a football game, tv show or picnic just for God! We’ve gotten to the point where we refuse to even be inconvenienced (forget “suffering”) for Christ. The truth is you don’t hold God as being more important than you so you have no intention of sacrificing anything for Him. I hope He doesn’t look at you the same way when you pray about your sick child or job problems.
Turn off your stupid cell phone! No, I didn’t say “Put it on vibrate.” I hate to tell you but you are not going to get a call that is so important that you need your phone on. (Emergency workers’ needs are understood.) Think about it, the most important thing that goes on in church is preaching. That is when God may speak to someone’s heart and change their life. You will answer for it if your stupid phone goes off and disturbs a service and distracts the very person God is dealing with. Turn it OFF! You’re not that important!
Sit down, shut up and nail your kid’s shoes to the floor! There are times when I’m preaching that I wonder if I’m preaching on a four-lane highway rather than a church. Go to the bathroom before service and then “endure to the end” and sit quietly in pain until the service is over. Again, every time someone gets up, attention is shifted from the message to that person. It’s another chance for the person God is dealing with to be distracted.
Also, there is almost a “worship” of our children in our churches. It is as though they couldn’t possibly be bad. No, not my kid! Parents run to the defense of everything their kids do. Other kids might be bad , but people just need to “understand” your child. “Well, poor little Bobby has to go to the bathroom.” He does not! “Poor little Bobby” is as wicked as his parents and wants to find a way to escape conviction. If he runs the home he will make it a regular practice to leave the service. Check it out. See if he does leave every Sunday. That’s nothing more than a scheduled diversion.
Teach your child that there is nothing more important in the world than a church service. It is more important than his getting to play, eat or anything else he might rather be doing.
Dress UP, not Down You should have three states of dress. I do.
There is your “Everyday,” or casual dress. – That is simply the way you dress every day as you live your life. It shouldn’t be grubby or disheveled. Nor does it need to be flashy or upscale. Dress slacks or khakis are fine. Ladies, find the most “feminine” pair of men’s breeches or skin-tight blue jeans you can find. I’m sure God will understand.
“Dress Down” – You dress “Down” to work. You should have some grungy clothes you wear to work in the garden or change the oil in your car. If you just said, “All my clothes are like that.” then you’re a slob! Clean up and step up to the next level of life. You shouldn’t spend your life looking like a bag-person! You should have “old clothes” or “work clothes” that you don’t make a practice of being seen in. Nothing shameful. Just “down,” a step below your everyday clothes.
“Dress Up” – You should also have a level of dress that is above your everyday fare. If you just said, “I don’t dress up for anybody”you have a serious pride problem. You think you’re too wonderful to have to humble yourself and admit that there could actually be someone in existence that is above you socially. There is! His name is “the LORD.” You should “put on your best” to go to church. Not because it’s a fashion show. Not to out-dress someone else. But because you are going to the place that God may meet with you and you should humble yourself and dress so you won’t be embarrassed if He shows up.
Men: wear a dress shirt and tie. That’s right, a tie, even if it’s just a clip-on. God is more important than you! Dress up for Him.
Ladies: I don’t care if you think you have to dress like “Rosie-the-Riveter” during the week just to show how liberated you are, wear a dress to church. Why? Because even the God-hating world knows that a woman wears a dress when she dresses up. Watch the Academy Awards and see. Get a dress and wear it to church. And not a dress with a plunging neckline or slit up to the armpits. No one wants to see that “feminine” butterfly tattoo you have on your chest or the top of your hose. Dress up. Dress decent. God is more important than you! Dress up for Him.
I was in a church recently where all the little girls wore dresses and all the little boys had suits & ties. It was cute. It was refreshing. It was parents teaching their children that church is important and they should dress accordingly. Right, I know, you don’t have the money to “waste” buying your son a suit he’s going to outgrow soon. Take a look around your house and see what you’ve truly been wasting money on! The truth is that you just don’t think God is important enough to spend money on clothes for Him. But when your child is sick you’ll run right to Him and almost demand He jump up and fix him up. You’re special. God isn’t. He’s a slave who is just there to do your bidding. Who dresses up for a slave?
If you’re still too arrogant to think you ought to dress up for God, fine. Then don’t dress up for anyone else! Don’t dress up for a funeral. Don’t dress up for work. Don’t dress up for your kid’s wedding. Surely you do realize that God is more important than your child. If you’re too proud to dress up for church then dress for your child’s wedding just like you do for God! Please! Do it! Let the world see what a proud jerk you are. You owe it to them to show them how no one in the world is important enough for you to dress for. Then go home, look in a mirror and say, “Hello, GOD!”
Call your pastor, “Pastor” – He’s not “Bob” or “Pastor Bill.” I don’t care what that devil Rick Warren told you, he is called of God to do what he’s doing. Even your doctor isn’t called of God.
Again, we Americans are so sold on “all men are created equal” that we hate the thought that anyone could be above us socially. (Except maybe your favorite sports idiot.) Well, your pastor is more important than you are. God called him. If you just went through a mental list of his deficiencies it just shows you’re rebellious against God and disrespectful for someone He has chosen. No, your pastor isn’t perfect. No, he isn’t always right. But he is there for you & your family and is far more important to your family than some Nomex-suited NASCAR driver! No basketball player will be there to help your child like your pastor will. (Your favorite movie star would spit in your pastor’s face. Which would you side with then?) Not even a “Gospel singer” was chosen to feed you from the Bible every week. Don’t “chew’im up and spit’im out” when he makes you mad. (If he’s doing his job he will make you mad.) I didn’t say you have to worship him. You don’t even have to love him. But you should appreciate him and not kill him when he makes you mad.
There is no organization you’re associated with that is more important than your church. Other organizations were started by men. This one was started by God. You should hold it higher than any other organization in your mind, heart and actions.