Worship Times

Sundays    10:30 a.m.
                    4:00 p.m.

Today's Verse

A Religious Buffet

By Mark Grant

In Leviticus the tenth chapter we read, “Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ So Aaron held his peace” (Lev. 10:1-3; NKJV).

Down through the years there has been a great deal of speculation as to what, precisely, was the profane fire that Nadab and Abihu offered to the Lord. But regarding what the exact offense this was, the seriousness of their sin is expressed in these words; they “offered profane fire which the Lord had not commanded them.” Nadab and Abihu abused their office as priests in a flagrant act of disrespect in not obeying God’s word. As a result they both died, being consumed by fire. This should teach us that the old adage “one way is just as good as another” or “as long as you are sincere then that’s all that matters,” are very careless and dangerous attitudes to display when it comes to worshiping God.

Even today many show the same attitude of carelessness and disregard for obeying God’s word. For example, a large number of people want to treat worshiping God as a religious buffet. A buffet is defined by Bing dictionary as, “self-service meal: a meal at which people serve themselves from various dishes set out on a serving counter or table.” Here in the south there is a very popular restaurant called Golden Corral. And the reason a large number of people like it is because it has a massive buffet. They have a huge selection of meats, vegetables, and desserts so that each person can pick and choose what he likes and be satisfied and filled to his liking. Unfortunately, some want a religious buffet when it comes to worship and serving God. They prefer to pick and choose what parts of God’s word they like and ignore the rest. So I would like to discuss just a few of the many religious buffets we see in churches today.

The first one I would like for us to consider is; the “make me feel good” religious buffet. Many people go to a buffet restaurant and choose only greasy foods they like, instead of foods that would be healthier for them to eat. People go to worship today only wanting to hear preaching that is going to make them feel good about themselves, regardless of the actual spiritual state they might be in. In first Corinthians fourteen we read, “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you” (1 Cor. 14:24-25; NKJV). One of the greatest challenges confronting believers today is to convict unbelievers of their sinful condition and bring about their repentance. This isn’t going to be accomplished by being “politically correct” or by “we don’t want to offend anybody.” As the apostle Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16; NKJV).

Another “dish” on the religious buffet is to “keep people happy and entertained.” When we go to a restaurant, sometimes you will hear music playing in the background, and a waiter to keep our glass filled and any other desire satisfied. Too many have bought into the notion that the church must win people by offering an alternative forms of worship and entertainment to keep them happy. Like the church of a hundred years ago, we live in a world of rapid changes with major advances in science, technology, world politics, and learning. Like the brethren of that generation, Christians today are open, even eager, for change in the church. It seems that people everywhere are frantically seeking new techniques and new forms of entertainment to attract people for church growth. Some churches today feature impressive facilities with bowling lanes, movie theaters, health spas, restaurants, ballrooms, roller-skating rinks, and state-of-the-art multi-court gymnasiums, rock bands, musical shows. Whether trying new forms of entertainment to attract people is biblical or not scarcely seems to matter to the average church goer. Nadab and Abihu thought they could try a new method in worshiping God and it cost them their lives. “But Nadab and Abihu died when they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD” (Num 26:61; ESV). Jesus described how all people would be drawn to Him by saying, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:44-45; NKJV). Jesus tells us that there is three methods by which all people would be dawn to Him; by teaching, by hearing, and by learning. Is this how Christians were drawn to Jesus in the early church? The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:20-21;NKJV). Can we not see how these new forms of entertainment to attract people for church growth undermines sound doctrine? What good, after all, is numerical expansion that is not rooted in commitment to the Lordship of Christ? As one lady complained, “When is the church going to stop trying to entertain the goats and get back to feeding the sheep.”

Another dish on this religious buffet menu is the religion of “conformity.” Most people go to a buffet restaurant that has a casual dress code where everyone can dress alike and feel comfortable and at ease. Most people don’t want to stand out of the crowd and be different from everyone else, that would make people feel uncomfortable. That is why some Christians don’t want to be any different than people out in the world. Brethren, if we dress like the world, and talk like the world, and act like the world, then we are the world. Paul said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2; NKJV). God does not want his people to be like the world. He wants His people to be different. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10; NKJV). Nadab and Abihu thought they could come into the presence of God in a sinful condition and God would accept them anyway. Notice what God tells Moses and Aaron after he pours out His wrath on Nadab and Abihu. “This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified’ (Lev. 10:3; NKJV).

How many of us have come to worship God, living in a sinful condition and think that God is still going to accept us anyway? Because God is a holy God He wants us to live holy lives. “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:15-16; NKJV). When we come together as a congregation, God wants us to enter into worship with reverence and godly fear. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29; NKJV). Let us stop playing the games of a religious buffet and get back to a “thus saith the Lord.” Else when you stand in the presence of God you may find it just a little too hot.