In Ezekiel chapter forty-four, God shares His concern over what is taking place in His sanctuary. He is specifically upset with the Levites, the priests (leadership) responsible for overseeing His house. In verses six and seven, He says, “Enough of all your abominations, O house of Israel, when you brought in foreigners uncircumcised in heart to be in My sanctuary and profane it, even in My house.”
The Levites had allowed foreigners to come into the sanctuary of God. These were unfaithful and unauthorized priests, and as such, were an abomination to God. Yahweh repeats His objection to the Levites in verse eight: “And you have not kept charge of My holy things yourselves, but have set foreigners to keep charge of My sanctuary.”
Foreigners Leading Worship
As I meditate on these verses in Ezekiel 44, I am overcome with grief. I am convinced that God is saying the exact same thing to much of our church leadership of the twenty-first century: “You have invited and welcomed individuals into My house to lead worship and minister who are not circumcised in heart!”
The Lord recalled to my memory an incident that had happened several years ago. I had been invited to observe the services of a large church. The pastor wanted me to spend a day with his church and then share with him any prophetic insights the Lord may have given me.
I sat through their five Sunday services and met with him afterwards.
“Jeremiah,” he asked, “what do you think about what you witnessed today?”
“Sir, to be honest with you,” I began, “in terms of excellence, I do not believe your worship team missed one note and your sermons were as polished as I have ever heard. However, there was no real tangible glory of God that marked any of what was done today.”
He was flabbergasted.
I looked at him and asked, “Do you know if any of the members of the worship band up on stage are even saved? They looked and sounded like professionals to me.”
“They are the finest musicians we could hire,” he responded, “and we pay each one of them 500 dollars every Sunday to play for our services.”
“Okay,” I agreed, aware I was on sensitive ground, “but have you ever asked if they are saved and have had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ? Do you know that they are not actively living in sin?”
The pastor stared at me.
“So if they are not saved, whose presence exactly are they leading the congregation into every Sunday? Sir, you have brought foreigners into the house of God who are not circumcised in heart. God is not pleased with your actions and you need to repent.”
He showed me the door and asked me never to return.
Francis Chan speaks to what he describes as an “entertainment spirit” that has overtaken parts of the house of God. According to Chan, “The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit. The entertainment model of church was largely adopted in the 80’s and 90’s and while it alleviated boredom for a few hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-seeking servants of Jesus Christ.”
One of the fundamental truths that must be preached and walked out in the twenty first century church is the understanding that the house of God was never created to become a sub-culture for the world where sinners lead and minister from the stage. The mission of the church is not to entertain, which seemed to be the goal of the church whose five services I was asked to observe. The mandate of the Church is to make disciples and impact the culture around them with the uncompromised gospel of Jesus Christ. We desperately need worship leaders, ministers, and saints to live a life of consecration and demonstrate pure and simple-hearted devotion to Jesus Christ.
The Call to Action
Tonight, on April 14th at 9 pm eastern, I will be hosting a free webinar call with my friend Catherine Mullins who is a well-known worship leader and recording artist in America. We both share a burning passion to see purity restored back to the worship movement and the body of Christ at large. If your heart is stirred and you would like to join us as we have a conversation about this subject and share our hearts in a much deeper way, click here.
Marked for Eternity,