A New Sanctuary Experience

Have you dreamed of walking into the sanctuary on the Sabbath and becoming a part of a new service? One that is alive and has the Lord’s Spirit upon it. The holy Presence is felt all around. Let us pretend for now what our service would be like if we went back to the basics of the early Christian church.

In (Jeremiah 51:1) we read ” We are ashamed because we have heard reproach. Shame has covered our faces, for strangers have come into the sanctuaries of the Lord’s house.”  Here we see that from way back, our church (sanctuary) has had a  problem. We have allowed the unconverted (strangers) into the LORD’S SANCTUARY. Let me repeat whose sanctuary it is –the LORD’s SANCTUARY. That’s right, we’ve lost site of this fact. Our behavior and service has mostly become self satisfying.

As we’ve mentioned many times before, we are now called on to validate our walk with Him, by signing and crying. Here in the sanctuary, is where, if we are showing the Lord we truly care, we are sighing and crying. The things we see EVERY Sabbath, should make us shake our head and cry out to the Lord “When  will we clean His sanctuary from the worldly customs, pagan customs, irreverent behavior, cold formalism, and so forth.

Isaiah also cries out about the defiling of His sanctuary,  “..Our adversaries have trodden down your sanctuary…Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That you would come down! That the mountains might shake at your presence.” (Isaiah 63:18, 64:1).

 How many of us today view the church sanctuary as –holy? Let’s think about that. When you walk into our Lord’s sanctuary, do you feel this holiness? If we are truly upfront and honest, we must say–no. Why is that? It can only be that we’ve stopped doing things that are pleasing to Him, both inside the sanctuary and out.

In many places throughout God’s word he makes references to the “shepherds”. We are well aware that this means God’s leaders, those who are in charge of the flock (church). The majority of the blame is placed upon them!”His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant;they are all dumb dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand;They all look to their own way, everyone for his own gain, from his own territory”(Isaiah 56:10).

“….Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (Ezek.34:1)

It is indeed a solemn thing to be placed in the position of leadership, and of which being God’s watchmen for the people, is the most solemn. Let’s now look at a service that would be a changed one or new one, one that would be very conscientious of doing right within His house, careful in each and every matter.

It is early in the morning. The doors to the sanctuary have not yet opened. The first of the people to open up the building are arriving. The few people who open it up step into the foyer. Preparations are made. An Elder walks into the sanctuary to check that all is well and in order for the service (temperature, lighting etc.)

Just a few weeks ago the pastor had an epiphany at his home. He utterly broke down and prayed to our God, an all night session. He had seen that the Lord’s true plans are centered around the soon to come church purification among his own people, his church. He was convicted. He knew that his endless peace and safety messages from the pulpit was not the Lord’s will for him  today. His purpose was now changed. The seriousness of “sighing and crying” was upon him, and he knew much of these abominations were right in the church. And worse yet, he was the shepherd leading the people into it!

So for the last couple of weeks, he has told the straight testimony. He has warned the people to straighten up before God, honor Him truly, inside the sanctuary and out. So the people have been abuzz the last couple weeks. Had the pastor done a 180? This is not the same man as before they thought. They had now been counselled on how to behave in the sanctuary and how the service was changing.

The pastor knew well that his new-found faith and knowledge could very well head him into opposition from the luke warm head leaders, yet he knew that Christ was the one he must follow. As the shepherd of his flock, he was no longer to be “ignorant” or a “dumb dog”. He must be bold and not afraid to do the “right thing” before the Lord.

The people soon begin to file in and an elder greets them at the sanctuary door, and politely opens it for them. They begin to find their seats. As more and more come into the sanctuary, there is a quietness all around. No one is talking. You see one of the points that the pastor has made is that the sanctuary shall be a “house of prayer”.  “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matt.21:13). There has been clear instructions that prior to the service, the people may pray, meditate,or contemplate their past week with the Lord. But there is to be an honorable silence in His house, until the service starts.

The “Sabbath school lesson” has been moved to an adjacent building. Gone is the back and forth conversations of the people in His sanctuary.Also gone is the custom of swinging the sanctuary doors wide open to let all the foyer noise and distractions into the sanctuary, after the sanctuary Sabbath school class. Instead a beautiful silence is experienced, the Holy Spirit roams the place as silent thoughts and prayers go up before the Lord, who is in His sanctuary now.  “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them.” (Matt.18:20).

Also gone is all the cellphone ringing, handhelds on and being used. All the people have been instructed to dress as they would if they were going to have a private one on one meeting with the president of the USA. But in this case there is One much greater who they will stand before today. The women are counselled in modesty.

It is now close to the time of the church service, many have taken their seats. Yes amazingly there is a church wide silence. Gone is the laughter, loud speaking, and the standing in the isles idly chatting.  The Spirit of the Lord seems to be growing among the people. Some have been kneeling for quite a while, deep in thought and prayer, those prayers are indeed heard by the One who is in the sanctuary now.

The pastor enters the sanctuary and comes to the pulpit, he breaks the silence and says ” Greetings my beloved church members. Let us begin this service by kneeling and praying for the Lord’s guidance and Spirit to be upon us today.” So the whole congregation kneels in prayer, and it lasts a good 5 minutes. After prayer, he invites the congregation to sing a couple of songs of praise to the Lord. The people are joyous and the sound of all the voices is helped by some unseen Spirit, for it is now almost heavenly. The Lord has been pleased with the service so far and is blessing the people with the uncanny harmony and sounds.

After the singing, the head elder comes up and speaks a few words on the different church activities and prayer requests. The custom of the children’s story is next. However, the custom of having the little ones go around and take money is gone. You see  the pastor has decided to go back to the original early Christian and SDA church custom of collecting the tithes and money for the church on the “first day”  not Sabbath(1 Cor.16:2). He also is keenly aware that to handle money within the Lord’s sanctuary is truly an abomination. This custom was not practiced in the early SDA church. It crept in from the pagan church customs. (See our post https://godsloveandlaw.com/category/tithes-and-offerings/ )

So the children gather up front to hear a story of Jesus or some inspired Biblical story. After the story they head back to their seats but are counselled by their parents to keep quiet.

Now comes the part where the people become interactive in the service. The pastor announces that it is now time for the “personal testimonies” . He asks for the people to raise their hands if they have a personal testimony of what the Lord has done for them the past week. An elderly man raise his hand and tells of his dream he received of meeting an old school friend, and sure enough, he ran into him 2 days later in the supermarket! The people yell  ” Hallelujah!”  One man stands up and says “Praise the Lord!”

Next a young woman raises her hand and tells of  how her reading the Scriptures this week has brought her closer to God. And some yell  out–amen. You see in this part of the service the people enjoy listening to what the Lord and His Holy Spirit have done. For they have come to praise Him for not only what He has done do but what He is “doing”.The people see  that they are serving an alive and working Lord!  Many others tell of   “signs” they received of the Lord. This continues on for at least 15 to 20 minutes. It has become many of the church goers favorite part of the service. The testimonies speak volumes for the faith and confidence of the members.

Now it has come time for a couple more songs of praise. The people are loving it as they are inspired after hearing what the Lord has done this week among the members.

After the singing, the pastor is ready for the sermon. He has prepared a sermon concerning Revelation. He wants to enlighten his flock of some of the mysteries therein. The people are rapt in attention as  he devotes time about Rev. chapter 3, about his own Laodicean church. No more are the ones who are silently napping  or being distracted some way. The Spirit has awoken the church!  He speaks about how we are not to be lukewarm in our walk with the Lord, and if we do on a continual  basis, our Lord promises that He will “sprue us out”.

As the sermon goes on, a man stands up and says ” I have just received a vision!”  The pastor calms the congregation down and tells the man “Speak my brother, speak”. The man begins to tell it. ‘The Lord has shown me that some in our church are buying and selling on this , His holy Sabbath day. This is not right before the Lord, please stop it!” and then he sits down. The pastor immediately goes to Nehemiah chapter 13 and reads the whole chapter. For he knows that this was a direct sign from the Lord, and that some are in need of hearing this today.

So the people are witnessing the direct hand of God in moving the hearts of the people through the sermon. Our Lord has been pleased because He has witnessed the people’s honor and reverence to Him. The sermon finishes strongly as the people yell out “amen” after he is done. He reminds them that the church building will be open tomorrow for tithe donations, or if they prefer they can get an mailing envelope in the foyer and mail it in.

As he closes the service He once again asks the congregation to kneel and pray. He requests that the Lord watch over each and every member. He asks that the ones who are buying and selling come to repentance this week. The prayer finishes and he walks out of the sanctuary. The people silently get up and leave as well.

Outside there are people glowing with an inner contentment because they have just been a part of a holy affair. The Lord was in His sanctuary! It has affected them. They discuss how the pastor has really guided the church in the right way. They shake their heads as they talk about the prior days where nothing of the sort was experienced at all! This experience has motivated them to walk closer to the Lord this coming week.

My beloved brothers and sisters, what we have read here will very soon come, something very similar, after the Lord’s time for revival and reformation has come. This experience is not my idea  rather it is  guidance from the Lord to show that His sanctuary will indeed  once again  be  –holy. Let us get a jump-start by spreading this post to  your friends and relatives if you have been blessed. That they may see that there is indeed a better way to honor Him on His Sabbath. And it will lead to —  A New Sanctuary ExperiencePraise the Lord!

Note- For more reading on the “Behavior in the House of God” see Testimonies for the Church, Vol.5, p.491-501

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2 Responses to “A New Sanctuary Experience”

  1. BG Says:

    Amen, again, bro. Right on. Looking forward to that.

  2. godsloveandlaw Says:

    I also can’t wait bro, to give Him true honor and praise. Let it come soon, our merciful Lord.

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