"They Were So Sincere!"

Her eyes shone with the memory as she spoke to me:
“I went to this church in the city last weekend, and it was such a wonderful experience! There was drama, and a ‘praise team,’ and the preacher had all the children sit around him, and told such a touching story about when he was a kid, and the people stood with their hands in the air, their eyes were closesd and they were so sincere!”
Now don’t get me wrong. Sincerity in our service to God is not important, it is vital!
Jesus himself warned us not to worship with our lips when our “hearts are far from” him (Matthew 15:8). How dare we come to worship and not mean the words we speak in God’s presence?
But consider the question of sincerity. How do we know that those who apparently exhibit great emotion in worship are sincere? Can you read their hearts? Only God can do that! Sincere they may be, but other possibilities are there, too. Some could be “showing off” their spirituality. Some could be doing this for man’s approval, not God’s. Think that it can’t happen? Again, the words of Jesus:
“Be careful that you do not do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).
It’s not right for a Christian to sit like a bump on a log, and enter into worship in a cold, feelingless manner; but be aware that worship is conducted before a God who really knows who you are, how you feel, and if you are genuine. You don’t have to show off to him. He knows your heart.
While as humans we cannot gauge the heart condition of our fellow worshipers, we can do something else; we can ask whether our worship conforms to the instruction and guide of scripture.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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One thought on “"They Were So Sincere!"

  1. Good readings again but i am concerned that congregations might be starting to be lead a way from scripture, where in scripture do we ear of Praise teams?, may be not that important but when we start to include something where does it stop, a dripping tap only gets worse until you have a flood and have been detached from whence you came.

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