How to Go to Church

Here’s the burning question everyone wants answered: What should be my attitude be when I attend church? With more and more people coming through the front doors on Sunday mornings, this is a strategic question. How should I come into the House of the Lord? Fortunately, we don’t have to look too far for the help we need. A frail, sickly lady leads the way. She saw Jesus surrounded by a crowd and she determined to make her way into the presence of the Lord. 

The gospels tell us she had been bleeding for twelve years. And like everyone else, she just wanted to live a happy life with a happy ending. But for twelve long years she has been frustrated as life has been slowly draining from her. So many are like her. Their search for earthly happiness has been frustrated at every turn. They do not live where they want to live, they are not married to who they really want to be married to, they do not do what they would like to do, they do not make as much money as they would like to make. On and on it goes. Like the woman in our story, there is a flow of unhappiness that no one was able to staunch. 

She had a broken place that would not heal, most likely her womb. Where life should break forth, there was only death. The constant flow needed constant attention, constantly reminding her she was broken. Because of the flow of blood, she was ceremonially unclean; defiled. She was barred from worshipping in the temple, and she carried with her an overwhelming sense of condemnation. This woman suffered in secret. No one knew that death was stalking her. Some bondage can not be hidden, like the Gadarene demoniacs who screamed and cut themselves. And then like this woman, some bondage can not be seen. 

Two things are necessary for change – The presence of Jesus and the presence of faith. One without the other is not sufficient. The crowd had the presence of Jesus but they exercised no faith and therefore, did not experience the power of Jesus. This woman had previously put her faith in doctors, but not in Jesus and therefore, she did not experience the power of Jesus to heal and change her. However it happened, she is now a woman of faith seeking the presence of Jesus.

This woman saw no one but Jesus.  She had the single eye of faith. She would not settle for Peter, James, or John, only Jesus. 

How should I come into the House of the Lord? Do not settle for anything less than Jesus. She did not want to touch an apostle or be touched by an angel. Only Jesus was good enough for her. She came to touch Jesus and she would touch Jesus. She came up to Him and stretched herself out and laid hold of Him. She came to Him in the expectation of faith. The crowd pressed and jostled hoping to see something happen. She did not. She came to have something happen to her. She did not come to listen to the fine music, to visit friends, or to see what Sister Jenkins was wearing. She came to touch Jesus and nothing would stop her. She said to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” If I touch Him, something is going to happen. If I touch Him, I will experience His power. If I touch Him, I will be set free! This is how she came to Jesus and it is how we should come to church!

When she touched Jesus in faith, power flowed from His wholeness into her brokenness. His life flowed into her death. His light illumined her darkness. Jesus stopped and wanted to know who had touched His garments. The disciples said that there were so many people pressing in that it could have been anyone. But Jesus knew it could not have been just anyone. It had to have been one with faith, for His power had responded to faith. The woman came trembling, fell before Him, and told Him the whole truth. Jesus commended her faith and told her to go in peace. 

What a great example of how to come into the House of the Lord – laser-focused on Jesus. How should I come into the House of the Lord? With the expectation of faith. But here is the problem. If you have no need, you have no expectation. If you have no expectation, you have no focus. If you have no focus, you have no discernment. If you have no discernment, it is easy to miss what is right in front of you. 

Do you miss what is right in front of you?

Does Jesus recognize faith in you? Augustine said: Flesh presses; faith touches. The crowd could say, “I saw Him; I was in His presence. He was so close I could have reached out and touched Him.” Many could say that but only one could say, “I experienced His power.” There were no doubt many who needed healing but there are some things Jesus does not do except in response to faith. How many needy people brushed by Jesus but didn’t touch Him in faith? 

This is why coming into the House of the Lord is so powerful and so important. To some, worship is just singing songs. To others, worship is touching Jesus. To some, in listening to the sermon they glean some Biblical information. To others, in listening to the sermon they hear the voice of God. And in that touch and in that voice there is the release of His power. No, I do not always need healing but I always need His presence, His peace, His guidance. I need His power to serve Him and serve people. How should I come into the House of the Lord? Come hungry. Come desperate. Come in faith and touch Jesus!

There would be only one person more disappointed than this woman if she had not touched Jesus – Jesus Himself.

1 thought on “How to Go to Church”

  1. This passage caught my attention:
    “If you have no need, you have no expectation. If you have no expectation, you have no focus. If you have no focus, you have no discernment. If you have no discernment, it is easy to miss what is right in front of you.”

    I had become a lukewarm Christian until the world turned upside-down three years ago. By the grace of God, He impressed upon me the need to turn my focus back to Jesus; He woke me up to the fact that self-indulgent ideals of the secular world had slowly been destroying my relationship with Him. This was God’s grace working in my life, not anything that I did or deserved.

    With eyes opened, I now realize the secular world has made a power-grab, turning so many of my loved ones away from any faith they may have had and forcing us to choose sides, often to the detriment of even our closest relationships. It is now my urgent task to pray for loved ones who reject Christ, of whom they say (in so many words), “I have no need….”

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