A Hamburger Without the Meat
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. – Acts 2:42 NKJV
Have you ever asked yourself what is a hamburger without the meat? Sure, you can have the bread and toppings but without the meat you might was well just eat a salad.
This idea came to mind when I was thinking about a comment I heard awhile back. The individual was explaining a church service they attended when everything that normally occurred in their service was replaced with a concert. There wasn’t any sermon or message. There wasn’t even a Bible verse read directly from the Word although some verses were quoted by one of the singers.
They were so excited by the service and the large amount of people that attended – way more than normally find their way to the church on a Sunday morning. As they explained to me, “That was a great service!” Well maybe. But I rather look at it as a hamburger without the meat.
It is the Word that proclaims God’s message. Notice how the writer of Hebrews describes this:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
It is the Word in which we find God’s counsel and hear His voice. It is His Word and the teaching of His Word which we should rally around and seek after.
Music is fine and Paul does tell us to “…admonish each other in psalms and hymns, spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16). But he starts out that same verse with “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…” I have nothing against music. I deeply enjoy listening to and singing what we often call “worship” music. But it cannot replace the teaching of the Word.
Rather, music is like the toppings on a hamburger. It enhances the flavor making the experience even better. But without meat, you do not have a hamburger. Without the Word taught (you might prefer the term “preached”) you really don’t have a church service.
Here is the list of the activities the early church did when they gathered as described in Acts 2:42.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Notice anything missing? Along with announcements, printed bulletins, ushers and a host of other things, music isn’t mentioned.
I love music and it does serve a place in our services. As I mentioned earlier, Paul encourages its use when a group of believers gather. But it cannot supersede or supplant the Word. So, the next time you attend a service where it is more like a concert and the Word isn’t preached, know you’ve been short-changed. Your church sandwich was meatless. You may have enjoyed it, but you missed out on that “sharp two-edged sword” that you need to have.
Blessings my Friends!