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Vol.  9  No. 6 June 2007  Page 14
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Rodney NulphAre You Playing Church?

By Rodney Nulph

    One of the great joys as parents that Julene and I have experienced is watching Joshua play church. Often times he will get one of his children’s songbooks, stand at the coffee table and begin to “lead” the congregation in songs of praise. Other times Joshua will get his little New Testament and stand at the “pulpit,” which is actually our coffee table, and preach his little heart out to anyone who will listen, while he pounds his little hand upon the table. Joshua “plays” church, and what a beautiful and encouraging sight it is to behold.

    However, this same sight is sometimes reenacted by those who should not be “playing” church but actually should be involved wholeheartedly in the worship to God and the work of his church. Brethren who are redeemed by the blood of Christ and who are partakers of the Holy Spirit often become guilty of living in the world six days a week, only to slip into their Sunday clothes in order to “play” church, soothe their consciences and fool the brethren. They are like actors on a stage, learning their lines, wearing a costume and going through the motions of playing a role. Merely acting like a Christian will not make one a true Christian! Someone has well said, “Sitting in church will no more make one a Christian than sitting in a hen house will make one a chicken.” How true that is! Playing church is incredibly sweet when the player is only 2 1/2 years old, but not when he is 14 or 24 and so on. Assembling with the saints and participating in the work and life of the congregation is generally enjoyable, but it is not a game! Four hundred years before Christ, a generation arose that would not take their worship seriously. Malachi was enlisted by God to address this sorry remnant who dishonored God (Malachi 1:6), treated the table of the Lord with contempt (vs. 7-8) and sneered at worship as a weariness (vs. 12-14). They substituted their own whims for his commands, celebrating divorce and every immorality (2:13-17). God complained that they were robbing him (3:8-10), and if you are just playing church today, you are no less guilty!

    Is your Sunday suit or dress just a costume to disguise your six-days-a-week true identity? Then cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12). Do you pray without confidence, study absentmindedly, eat and drink the Lord’s Supper thoughtlessly? Is your contribution but a gesture and no more a sacrifice? “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…” (Revelation 2:5), were the words of Jesus to the church at Ephesus. Readers who are of age should stop playing church and start living it with heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). We should echo the sentiment of the Psalmist, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1). What about you and me? Are we merely going through the motions? Are we just playing church today? Christians, let’s not play church, but let’s live it out in every facet of our everyday lives!

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