Prepare Your Soul to Receive a Word from God – Just as we should be sure when entering our homes to clean our shoes, so when we enter for worship should we come in repentance.
Our Conversation – I have recently been thinking about the difference between fellowship and socializing. The world can socialize, but only the church can fellowship. Our fellowship is to be around Christ. When believers gather, if their conversation is never about Christ, there should be much heart searching. How profitable is our conversation? How much more should we be concerned about our conversation when preparing to meet with God together for worship. Often church gatherings are abuzz with much that is trivial, but little that concerns the Lord. One would think that we are preparing for a church bazaar or circus rather than a time of worship. We are often merely socializing rather than fellowshipping. There is often much frivolity and little heart preparation for worship. Friendly and caring greetings and welcomes are appropriate. Even joyous laughter on occasion concerning the goodness of God, but I fear that far too often what is on our minds and lips involves the Lord very little.
Our hearts should have been prepared by prayer and should be set on spiritual things and not on the world and the things of it, that will choke the word and it will become unprofitable. Often when such subjects are brought up there is a sinful response of pride. “We will not listen to such admonitions but will rather enter “our church” just as we wish. “We only have a little time to fellowship” is often heard. And which would be fine if it were true fellowship around Christ.
We little discern what is about to take place, what spiritual warfare is already occurring when we enter the building we have set aside for the gathering of the body for worship. Even as we prepare to leave our homes the enemy begins to cause strife and create distractions. So few seem to have time for prayerful preparation for worship and allow themselves to be profited little. It is important what we “guard our steps” when we go to the place of worship. Our thoughts should be composed, quiet and attentive to all that is being said. How will we train our children to quiet themselves for worship if we ourselves are undisciplined of spirit?
This is to say nothing of those with wicked hearts who enter the building to gossip, slander and judge the saints. We could say much of this sort of ungodliness, but suffice it to say that this is what happens with foolish hearts when there is an unrestrained general gaiety defining the conduct of the saints and the subsequent little prayer and meditation on the things of God. The pastors often have to call for the quiet of the assembly, not because of anything spiritual and normally not because of anything other than trivial and unimportant communications that have little or nothing to do with preparation for worship. This is merely a sign of the lack of comprehension or care of spiritual things. Much that occurs in worship completely flies over the heads of the distracted saints and both the regenerate and the unregenerate leave the building unchanged and uncaring. They have fulfilled their weekly obligations and are content at having done so. The consequent sacrifices of praise are void of reality and ring merely of shallow souls wishing that they could have the benefits of such things as would be only the result of a work of God should they truly have a heart that desires it so much that they would cease the commotions of the worldly mind and lay themselves low before the Lord in repentance.
The preacher calls this the sacrifice of fools.
James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1,2