“Don't come to church for an emotional experience. Come to church for the truth.” Robert Godfrey
An Emotional Experience
Should We come to church for and emotional experience? Can we be emotional at church?
Of course, we can be emotional at church. But why should we be emotional? Should a purely emotional experience be the reason we come to a Lord's Day service? What should drive the emotion bus? What are healthy reasons to be emotional at church?
People who have been called out of a world of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of light have every reason to be emotional. We can weep over our sin and cry tears of joy knowing we have been redeemed. We are no longer slaves to sin. We have been set free if we have put our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
In Spirit and In Truth
Jesus is Truth. This is what the pastor needs to preach. This is what the worship service should remind us of from the call to worship to the benediction. We are wretched sinners who can not do anything to save ourselves from the righteous wrath of God. We need a Savior. We need God Himself to act and save us from Himself. We need God to act and save us from eternal damnation.
We need to hear the answer to the question, “what must I do to be saved?” And when we realize the answer, that we must trust in the finished work of Jesus to be saved, and it is by God's grace alone, through faith alone, that we are saved, we will worship in what Jesus told the woman at the well, “in spirit and truth.”
Too many are coming to church on Sunday for their own experience. Many services are designed to give a person the experience. Music is picked at tempos that will get people excited or whipped into what is simply emotional frenzy. It reminds me of a high school pep rally that gets the school pumped up for the rival game that weekend. Sadly, many churches design their Sunday worship this way. People may come back each week but it is just to get one more emotional high. But will that emotional high carry the team into victory? Will the emotional high last or wear off as the other team comes in more prepared and better equipped? Or will truth remind a person that no matter how they feel it is still true?
God created us as emotional beings. We have many emotions throughout our day and life, but we can't be lead by them. We can't just look to get our emotions fed with a superficial pump that won't last. We need to be fed with truth. We need our emotions driven by what is true and will always remain true.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 118:1
Did you have a bad week? What is true?
Did you lose a loved one? What is true?
Are your children rebelling against you? What is true?
Are you struggling with killing your sin? What is true?
Come to church and weep. Come to church and cry. Come to church and laugh. But come to church to worship the true and living God. The God Who says, “Be holy as I am holy.” The God Who told Adam, “if you eat of it you will surely die.” The God Who then punished Adam and Eve yet provided a covering for them. The God Who promised the seed of the woman that would and did crush the serpents head. The God Who tells us that we will die in our sin but provides His own Son as a covering if we repent and believe in Him.
I can hardly write this without getting emotional. These emotions, however, are brought about by truth. I come to church to be reminded of this truth. I come to worship with others who have been saved by this truth as well. We direct our worship toward Him. We direct our worship to the holy, holy, holy God of the universe who saves unholy sinners by His grace.
This truth does not fill us up to leave us empty by Monday evening. This truth keeps us full of them we come back on the next Lord's day to keep our cup overflowing with this truth.
God saves sinners by Himself from Himself for His glory and because He has set His love upon us in His Son, Jesus Christ.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
If this truth doesn't drive our emotions I don't know what will.
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