Why Is God’s House Emptier Today Than Yesterday? (Part 3)
“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.“
As the missionaries go out into the “bush” or foreign field, we back at home are faced with the dilemma with ever declining church membership and attendance. Even in local church sanctioned ministries we are still affected with the decline of church attendance and slumping worship service participation. We, as conservative Christians, have noticed that even the contemporary non-traditional churches aren’t exempt from this epidemic. Seeing these trends, we must conclude that it isn’t the presentation but the message itself. We further conclude that since the gospel message is the power of God unto salvation, then it must be the hearts and minds of mankind.
I believe that our text, above, will shed some light upon the subject and make us aware of the condition of man’s hearts. I find five things that clue us into the conditions as to why people began declining to attend:
“Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them:I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
This week I will cover the five excuses that people present when they object to attending the house of God and how to overcome them with scripture.
There Is No Knowledge Of How Quickly Things Are Changing They Are Too Busy With Business & Work
- They Have Personal Matters That Are More Important
- They Make An Idol Of Their Families
- They All Have Misplaced Priorities
Join us as we learn “Why Is God’s House Emptier Today Than Yesterday?”
III. They Have Personal Matters That Are More Important
In our text, above, we see that the servant indicated that the two invitees had personal business that they had to attend to. To explain my position, I have no issues with personal life events even if they cause you to miss church every once in a while but the issue comes about when personal issues become their God! Let’s look at the personal reasons in this text:
- Hobbies – I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them.
Many people have hobbies to help them escape the tension and stress of the day. A hobby is something that people do to keep their minds occupied and their hands busy. Hobbies are great tools to have because it keeps you from getting too stressed out and burnt out from work, family, church, home life or any other event that take up your time. However, all too often people build alter to their hobbies and neglect God.
I remember, a few years back, I began teaching private instrumental lessons & teaching classes to local band students & volunteer adult workers. It was relaxing and something that I enjoyed doing, it was almost like I was getting paid to what I would do for free! I was super excited and happy to be doing what I loved. I would schedule these event because it was fun and I loved to do them. Because of my zeal and excitement to teach others, I found myself overextending myself. I would also seek to accommodate others, even if it meant that I had to work on Wednesday nights, which was church night. It was only after someone approached me and reminded me of my obligation to God not a hobby. When i looked back, I saw that I had spent 30 of the 52 Wednesday nights out of church due to teaching classes. This broke my heart and an immediate change was called for in my life. I am NOT telling you what to do nor am I inferring that you have to do anything that God hasn’t convicted you about. I am saying that God reminded me that my appointed place of duty was in church and not being out of church if I could help it.
- Home Life – And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
I spoke to a family a few years back that had marital issues and could not speak to each other without dropping the “D” word; DIVORCE. I had began to counsel them and discovered that the family spent so much time together that the parents had lost their identity. They had become professional parents and lost touch with each other personally. Their lives were so wrapped up into their kids that the children actually had become spoiled. This caused a sense of entitlement which hurt the parents and the parents began to attack each other and find fault with each other. This was bad because they had not maintained a loving personal life with each other. The most difficult thing was to converse them to spend time together away from the kids at least once a week. It took sometime but they eventually reprioritized their lives to put God first. Today they still have issues but they are in a bible believing church and are closer now more than ever.
People have lives that matter to them and families that they care very deeply about. Telling them that their personal life is not as important as church will not go over well but reminding them that God is a priority will be the fodder that puts perspective in their lives. In tomorrow’s devotional we will dive deeper into personal life situations. Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie.