(I. Timothy 3:15), "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
The word "respect" means “to regard with honor; to have a high opinion of; to place a great value upon…” We are presently looking at some things we should respect. Thus far, we have looked at the importance of "Having a Proper Respect for God" and "Having a Proper Respect for the Word of God." In this lesson we are going to study, "The Importance of Respecting the House of God."
- WHY WE SHOULD RESPECT THE HOUSE OF GOD
From the very beginning of the Bible, we are taught that God has always had a designated place to meet with man. When Abram left his country and arrived in the land that God had promised him, Abram met with God at Bethel, the house of God. When Jacob fled from Esau, God met with Jacob at Bethel, the house of God. When the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, God had Moses build the tabernacle so that He would have a meeting place with the nation of Israel. When Solomon’s Temple was complete, this became the meeting place of God with man. In Jesus’ day, God met with man in the temple. And after the resurrection of Jesus, God met with believers in various designated places (mostly houses) and in time these meeting places became known as churches or the house of God. The church, the house of God is where God meets with His assembly of believers and we are to respect, to regard with honor, to have a high opinion of, and to place a great value upon the house of God.
- WAYS WE SHOULD RESPECT THE HOUSE OF GOD
There is an old saying that says, “Don’t tell me you love me, but show me that you love me.” God doesn’t just want us to tell Him that we love Him but God wants us to show Him that we love Him. God doesn’t just want lip service but life service. (I. John 3:18), “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” How do we show respect for the house of God? By observing proper church etiquette. Etiquette is the customary rules for good manners, conduct, or behavior in a polite society. Church etiquette is the customary rules for conduct and behavior in the house of God. Etiquette is a word that we use to describe people who behave well at all times and in all places and treat others with respect. Etiquette in the church shows a reverence for God's presence, a concern for the feelings and well-being of fellow-believers, and others who are in attendance. We should honor the CHURCH BUILDING. Food or beverages should never be brought into the sanctuary and should only be used in the places designated as a way to honor God. We should treat God’s property with respect. Do not write in the song books or use them to dispose of gum. The song book racks are not to be used to dispose of trash. Children should never be allowed to play on the platform or with the microphones or other instruments. Children should be taught never to run in the church. We should HONOR THE WORSHIP SERVICES. Before entering the church, leave your cell phone in your car or turn in on silent. Take care of any business before service begins. You should never leave the sanctuary during the song service, prayer, the sermon, or the invitation to go to the restroom, get water, or answer you cell phone, etc. You should remain in the sanctuary until the closing of the service. (Emergencies are special cases and are understood). When coming to the church, always dress appropriately. Always wear your nicest clothes to church. They should be modest and nice. We used to speak of “best dress” or “Sunday dress, “and maybe we should do so again. You should always be on time and bring your Bible. God will honor those who honor Him. Let us always seek the honor that comes from above by practicing proper church etiquette.
- WITNESS OF RESPECTING THE HOUSE OF GOD
(Hebrews 11:1), “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Believers who faithfully attend the house of God and observe proper church etiquette witness (give evidence and proof) of their respect for God, Word of God, and the House of God. Firstly, they give witness of their LOVE FOR THE SAVIOR (Ephesians 5:25c-27), “…Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Secondly, they give witness of their LOYALTY TO THE SAINTS (I. Corinthians 12:12, 26), “For as the body is one and hath many members, and all members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” Thirdly, they give witness of their LIGHT BEFORE THE SINNERS (Matthew 5:16), “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
We need to respect -“to regard with honor; to have a high opinion of; to place a great value upon the house of God.” If the house of God is not important to us who are saved and if practicing proper church etiquette is not important to us who are saved, it dishonors God and it is not going to be important to our children or to the lost community around us.
Pastor Allen Jackson