Saturday, August 9, 2014

Playing Church

If there's one that that children definitely love to do, it is has to be exercising their imagination and engaging in play.  I recall playing countless games with my cousins growing up.  From "Little White House on Top of the Hill" to staples like Hide-and-Go-Seek, we entertained ourselves for hours on end.

Now that I'm an uncle, I get to play with a new generation of youngsters and it's great to see that kids haven't changed that much.  With my younger nieces and nephews, it's hilarious to participate in their play and attempt to keep up!   One minute, you'll be a pirate.  The next, you'll be a patron at a restaurant.  Sometimes you're the cop, other times you're the robber.  In spite of a child's boundless imagination, their attention span is very limited, so you never know what you'll be playing in a given afternoon!

Little children will sometimes “play church”.

But is our worship merely nothing more than “playing church”?

Reluctance to Play

There are sometimes moments in play that children will be reluctant to play a particular game.  They may say, “I don’t feel like playing this time,” or “I’ll play just this time,” or “I’m tired of playing,” or eventually “I don’t want to play no more.”

We must understand that real Christians are not playing; they ought to be fully committed.

Romans 6:17-18  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.  And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Playing Baptism

In play it’s just a dunking game, but in truth, there are steps in faith to be taken beforehand:  Hearing the Word, believing the Word, repenting of sins, confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and then immersion baptism.

Ephesians 4:5 …one Lord, one faith, one baptism

Colossians 2:12 …Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Singing Without Understanding

In play we sing without understanding the meaning of the song.

We may even make up words, for example: “ANDY walks with me, ANDY talks with me…”

Other times words may be confused altogether.

But as true Christians we are commanded to sing with sincerity and understanding.

1 Corinthians 14:15  What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

The Lord’s Supper

In play the Lord’s Supper is just crackers and juice.

But as a true Christian, the bread and the fruit of the vine represent the body and blood of Jesus.  The Lord’s Supper is to be done with all reverence.

1 Corinthians 11:23-34  For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.  Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.  Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.  But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

True Christians should always remember the proper emblems and conduct in their observance of the Lord’s Supper.


In play, pennies or buttons or whatever are given and then returned afterward.

True Christian giving is a sacrifice and a responsibility of individual members of the church.

2 Corinthians 16:1-2  Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 

Game Over

Children easily tire of one game abandon one to go on to others.

Christians continue in the Lord’s work always, even outside of Sunday worship services!

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The Lord’s work is never done!  We should always be examples to others, in and outside of church.  We are Jesus’ representatives!

Matthew 5:13-16   You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Let us examine ourselves:  Are we just “playing church”?  Or are we truly serving God?


Note:  This is based on a favorite sermon that John Baxter would preach from time to time at our church.  I added some of my own musings to flesh out my notes from his lesson.

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