Word of the Week – We Don’t Worship The Preacher

I was in the prison today in Philadelphia teaching on Exodus 20:7
which says do not take the Lord’s name in vain. And also the Holy
Spirit led me to use Proverbs 30:7-9 and Acts Chapter 2, 3, and 19
which talk about the power in the name of Jesus Christ. I used the
example of how when a professional athlete goes out and breaks the law
he comes back and says, “I apologize to the fans and the
organization.” And I used that illustration to speak to how we
represent Christ when we call ourselves Christians or Disciples of
Christ. And that led to a very animated discussion amongst the 34 men
who came to service today. Apparently in the prison people will “call
for prayer”. I guess that means to have a prayer service or just for
men to come together and pray. There is a man at the prison who is
blatantly not living right who calls for prayer on occasion and only 2
or 3 guys show up. But there are guys who are church-goers, read the
Word, follow the Word, and when they call men together to pray then
15-20 guys show up. The inmates wanted to know was it right to not
show up when the “less than righteous” brother called for prayer. The
discussion got really intense as they attempted to prove their point
by saying “would you go to a church if you knew the pastor was a
drunk?” or “why listen to someone who you know isn’t living right?”
The men in the service started arguing back and forth with each other
because I guess this issue had been dividing the men for some time.
The service was loud as men began raising their voices and was on the
verge of getting out of control and then the Holy Spirit simply led me
to ask them this question. “What do you go to church for?” “What do
you go to prayer for?” The room fell silent. Thank you Jesus!! If
you are going to church or to prayer to pray to the pastor or to
whomever called the prayer then the person matters. But if you are
going to pray to Jesus, if you are going to praise the Lord, if you
are going to worship the creator of the earth and everything in the
earth, if you are going to increase your faith by hearing the Word of
God, if you are going to say thank you for all He has done for you, if
you are going to pay tithes for the building up of His kingdom, if you
are going to edify others in the Body of Christ and be edified, if you
are going to become a better Man of God….well then the person
doesn’t matter. We are all born in sin and shaped in iniquity…we
all need the blood of Jesus to wash away our sins. But back to the
issue The Bible says in Matthew 18:20, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in
His Name there He is in the midst of them.” It doesn’t say if “good
people” are gathered in His name or if “church-goers” are gathered in
His name because that doesn’t matter…what matters is that is in the
name of Jesus. As people we focus on the person, but we need to keep
our focus on Jesus. The Bible says His name is above every name. And
It is only at His name will every knee bow and every tongue confess
that He is Lord!!