LUKE 19:45-46: “Then Jesus entered the temple area. He began chasing out those who were selling there. He told them, “It is written that the Lord said, ‘My house will be a house where people can pray.’ (Isaiah 56:7) But you have made it a ‘den for robbers.’ ” (Jeremiah 7:11)” (NIRV)
OBSERVATION: What are we promoting? Are we promoting Jesus, or are we promoting our programs? This is an important question that every church must ask themselves. If Jesus came to our service this Sunday, would He find a house of prayer, or would He find a house of self promotion?
I believe every Bible believing church desires to be a house of prayer. Yet, it is easy to slip away from this. There is always a pressure to grow, to meet budgets, and to sense that what we are doing is successful. Yet, did the Lord call us to be successful, or did He call us to be faithful? Is it a program, or our promotion, or the latest class or seminar that we want to attract people, or is it the presence of God?
There is no program that can set a person free. You will never read in the Bible – “Where there are dynamic programs and exciting worship, there is freedom.” No!, the Word of God says – “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty!” (II Corinthians 3:17). There is nothing inherently wrong with programs, just as there was nothing inherently wrong with sacrifices.
However, when our programs and sacrifices replace our call to sincere prayer and worship, we need to have our tables turned over, and our hearts cleansed!
As a pastor I take this very seriously. I have lived in the error, and I have lived in the flow of the Holy Spirit. My heart’s desire is to be a house of prayer, both personally and corporately. This does not happen automatically. There is the constant pull of demands and obligations that continually wage a war against this purpose. It is only when we are willing to surrender everything for God’s heart that we welcome the turning over of our tables, so we can become what He truly desires – a people and a house of prayer!
Lord, give me a sincere and honest hunger for Your presence. Forgive me when I place my trust in anything we do, and not in You alone! Give us all the desire to seek You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Deliver us from the pressure to be successful, and give us the grace to be faithful.
In Jesus Name!