August 13, 2007

Delighting in the Day, Part 7: Be reconciled to Your Brother

If you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Matthew 5.23-24

Sunday is a day (I would say the main day) for Christian worship. What a privilege that God has given us one whole day to think about, learn from, and honor Him. But as we do that, let’s remember that worship, Sunday’s chief activity, is done with the heart! So, if we are going to observe the Lord’s Day as God wants us to, we cannot boil obedience down to going to church and not going to work. We must be engaged in worshiping God with our hearts—not simply by following a few rules and regulations.

Rules and regulations were what the Pharisees were so good at. They were so bound up by their own rules about the Sabbath that they wee content to let sick people suffer and hungry people remain hungry…so that they might be sure not to work (see Luke 6)! And they completely missed the point! They were more worried about how their worship looked on the outside than what was in their hearts.

How sad that their sin is so often repeated in our own day! How easy it is for us to attend church, yet still have grudge matches with our brothers and sisters. How easy it might be to spend a whole day in rest…and never lift a finger to make things right with a brother or sister. How easy, with the same tongue, to sing God’s praises and curse God’s people.

Brothers and sisters, if your heart is not right with your fellow Christians, then your prayers, praises, and songs will bounce off the ceiling…and serve as a witness against you—that your Sunday worship, though done well on the outside, was not from a pure heart.

That’s why Jesus says, ‘Before you go to church…before you sing…before you pray…before you teach or preach…before you give—“first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”’

Let’s not make the mistake of the Pharisees. Let’s not observe the Lord’s Day perfectly on the outside, then stain it with quarrels that rage on the inside. If we love one another, the Lord will be glorified in our midst, and Sunday will indeed be special!

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