Friday, 16 January 2015

Why does it matter which church you go to?

Do you believe in the Lord's Prayer?
Do you believe that it is a perfect prayer given to us by Jesus Himself? 
Do you believe that what our Lord taught us to pray for must be the most important things for us?

Consider the first petition of the Lord's Prayer - the very first thing Jesus teaches us to ask for.

"Hallowed by Thy Name"

Heavenly Father, hallowed be Thy Name.  What does this mean?

God's name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also. 

How is God's name kept holy?  God's name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as children of God, also lead holy lives according to it.  Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven!  But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God's Word profanes the name of God among us.  Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

Jesus is teaching us that when we consider where we go to church the number one thing we should be concerned about is this:  Is the Word of God taught in its truth and purity at this church?  Jesus is teaching us that doctrine matters.  It is the first thing we pray for.  Pure doctrine.  The pure name of God.   

Furthermore, we are praying that God would protect us from teaching that is contrary to His Word.  Protect us from false doctrine, false teaching and false teachers in His Church. 

So, what does all of this mean for you? 

Don't catch yourself praying the Lord's Prayer and then treating doctrine like it doesn't matter, or that it divides people.  If you do this, you are divided - praying one thing but believing another.  Instead, repent and believe in the free promise of Jesus.  He forgives you for such twisting of His name, and calls you to seek after purity of doctrine.  He frees you to look honestly into His Word and hear what He says is pure and true. 

Each of us makes light of God's Word every day of our lives, but in His mercy God forgives us and calls us to return to what He says, instead of what our heart says or what the world says.  We need this first petition of His prayer to continue to teach us.  We need to keep praying it.  And we need to believe that it is true.  God bless you and attend you as you seek His truth in a place of worship.