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“Come as you are; leave as you came”

God wants to bless our worship services with his presence. Courtecy photo.

OPINION | Though I had been a Christian for just a few years, I had heard enough sermons to know that God is everywhere. I even know the word for it, omnipresent.

But I also know I had been at some meetings where God’s presence was undeniably real, and others where it wasn’t.  In the book of Revelations 3:1, Christ condemns the Church of ‘Sardis’ because they had a reputation of being alive but in reality, they were almost dead.

The people had become accustomed to doing church rather than being the church. They had programs and principles but did not have the life-giving Holy Spirit. They needed the Spirit of God to bring them from death to life. They were dead but thought they were alive.

In Uganda today, I would say churches similar to those in Sardis are such that have locked out the Holy Spirit, preach no repentance, and have manipulated the gospel to keep numbers flooding in –  “Come as you are; leave as you came.”

One of the most dangerous conditions people may find themselves in is the condition of actually being spiritually dead while thinking they are spiritually alive. There are people today who because of some church experience or some contact with the church believe they are in God’s favor when in reality they are not.

It should alarm us if the kind of gospel we preach, and programs we have in church today will not change one person’s life for eternity. The Church of ‘Sardis’ at the beginning was a strong and faithful witness of the Lord and Savior, but later the true gospel and Holy Spirit were in short supply.

We need to understand that what causes a thief to quit stealing from his employer, what causes divorced people to soften their hearts and remarry each other, what causes a man to stop using pornography, what causes a homosexual to turn away from his lifestyle, what causes grown men to reconcile after not speaking to each other in years is the touch of God.

If the Lord is truly our focal point, needy people can come into the house of God and feel his convicting power even during the time of singing, before the preacher ever starts.

Church leaders, God wants to return to his people and to His house of worship in great power and glory. He is graciously knocking at the door of our churches. Are we willing to let Him inside?

By Samuel Balaggadde.

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