Ezra 3:12 says this “But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:”
There were probably various reasons for the weeping of the older people at this time. Whether it was because of the past guilt which caused the destruction of Solomon’s temple: or Sorrow at the poor state of the Jews and the reduced size and splendour that would characterize this temple, or some other reason, we cannot be sure.
When I remember what church use to be like when I was younger I sometimes feel sad at the state we find ourselves in today.
There is no doubt; we older people have the tendency to say that things were better in the good old days. Many of today’s problems are the same as have occurred in times past in the church. The difference was there was sufficient preaching of the Word to counter the tendency to error and shallow superficial worship.
While older more traditional churches are in decline there are other churches seemingly bucking the trend.
My question is how many of these churches are more show than substance? How many are compromising the preaching of the gospel. How many are blindly following the latest worship trends? All for the sake of attracting numbers at any cost.
We expect the world to resort to spin and hype and marketing strategies. Like Hollywood and Las Vegas we know that most of its splendor is just tinsel and gaudy finery. They tell people what they want to hear when the church’s role is to tell people what they need to hear.
In times past they thought they needed grand cathedrals and buildings to promote the church and its message. Now they think we need entertainment and gimmicks to do the mission which would otherwise wither away. Like Uzzah our well meaning attempts to prop up the ark are punished rather than rewarded. When we intrude worldly means and methods into Christ’s church we are as good as saying we know better than He does.
The people who think the church has lost something vital to its true existence may be in a resented minority but we all need to ask ourselves is the church doing God’s will in God’s way and for God’s glory.
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” Acts 10:38
“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”
― R.C. Sproul,