Pastor's Note - July 28
In the fall we will return to 1 Corinthians in our Sunday morning sermons. Eventually, we will get to 1 Corinthians 14:23-24, which talk about the use of prophecy and tongues, and what might happen if these gifts are used when unbelievers are present. Putting the issue gifts aside for a moment, there is something else we should note about these verse. Paul anticipates nonbelievers to at times be present in the worship service. Beyond that, he advises we should conduct ourselves in worship in such a way that the nonbeliever may have some understanding of what is taking place. This is hugely important! First, I think it does tell us that in Paul’s mind, we are not to orient the whole service around the nonbeliever. It is clear in the context that the gathering is for the worship of God and the building up of the church. Second, however, it is also clear that the church ought to be welcoming to nonbelievers, and nonbelievers are to be invited into the worship! This gets to my ultimate point. As we begin our habit of making the first Sunday of every month “invite Sundays,” let’s make sure we are inviting and welcoming nonbelievers. How can we help them see and understand the greatness of Jesus? Is there anything we can do, Russ and I specifically, to make this happen? Our goal is not to change everything to acquiesce to the whims and needs and expectations of others, as we are guided first and foremost by what God desires of us. To a certain extent, no one can understand what we are doing unless the Spirit of God makes it clear. And the worship of God will always seem strange – hopefully sweetly and compellingly strange – to the outside world. That said, we do want to make sure we are doing all we can, in good faith, to make our worship comprehensible. Let’s pray that nonbelievers will join us and find the worship of the Lord, and the offer of salvation in Him, compelling and clear.