This past Sunday morning Lisa and I assembled with 3,017 saints in the Grand Ballroom of the Wilderness Resort Events Center in Sevierville, TN to worship God in spirit and truth at Polishing the Pulpit. As you might imagine, when over 3000 people sing praises to the Lord, well, the sound is pretty amazing! What a great experience it was to gather with so many brothers and sisters to worship our God!
Of course, the day is coming when we will all worship the Lord in His presence and we will be joined by many more than 3,000. In the great throne room scene described in Revelation 4 and 5, we read in chapter 5, verses 11 and 12, “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
What an experience THAT will be! When all of the saved come together to sing before the throne of God, just think of all who will be there: You might find yourself standing next to the apostle Paul or Peter! You might see John and his brother James nearby. Mary and Martha may well be right behind you. Titus or Timothy could well be on your left and right. Yet, countless thousands of saints will be there that you have never heard of and who the world long ago forgot, but make no mistake, God didn’t forget them! The Lord has always known those who belong to Him (2 Timothy 2:19).
So how did it happen that so many could be in eternal heaven that we don’t know? Because these didn’t seek worldly fame or fortune, they only sought to be faithful to God. They made the decision that they would seek, first and foremost, God’s kingdom and His righteousness and that was good enough for them. They were the genuine article. They walked the walk and they talked the talk. They kept impurity, immorality and hypocrisy as far away as possible. They lived to please God and bring glory to His Son in all they said and did.
One thing that concerns me about our times is the ever increasing level of narcissism. Too many people seem to be consumed with how they look to others. These put on a mask to show the world a view that doesn’t accurately portray who they really are. Christians are often accused of doing this. In fact, the number one complaint against God’s people by those who live in the darkness of the world is that we are hypocrites. While many times that accusation is unfounded and incorrect, unfortunately, and all too often, we provide plenty of ammunition for those who seek to say negative things about the Lord’s people.
Of course, hypocrisy is nothing new in the church. In fact, hypocrisy was one of the first major issues that confronted the early church and in Acts 5 we see that God dealt with it in an absolutely shocking way that certainly got the attention of all in the church, and even those not in the church. The undeniable truth is that God’s reaction to the hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira should still get our attention today. Obviously God hates it when His people pretend to be something or someone they aren’t.
The account of Ananias and Sapphira reminds us that we need to be the genuine article; to God, to the world and to ourselves. To not be sincere, to not have our words and actions line up with God’s Word, is to not be the church that Jesus built.